Imbolc : hope


Friday at my parents' house I noticed that their daffodils have pushed through the earth in rebirth.  I've always strongly felt the seasons and been drawn to Celtic things, but the last couple of years I have been learning more about the wheel of the year and the ancient seasonal celebrations that somehow feel so appropriate and needed now.   

Imbolc is a festival in the cycle of the Celtic year marking the beginning of the agricultural spring, the midpoint between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  One interpretation of Imbolc translates to "in the belly," and referred to the start of the lambing season, when ewes would give milk just before giving birth.  It is when farmers would ready for the first plowing of fields in anticipation of planting new crops.  Days grow longer, new life begins to appear.  The natural world reawakens.

Yesterday morning I opened the window, letting fresh cool air flow in.  I took the flannel sheets off the bed, replacing them with the lighter sheets of spring and summer.  We had decided to spend part of the day by the river, so after breakfast we made the short drive over the state line into Oregon for our walk.  The river was powerful, rushing and loud.  I took two strips of linen to soak, and as I put my hands into the water I could feel her energy, her lifeforce.  I hung the strips on a tree to impart wishes for hope, healing, and goodwill.  It began to rain, a soft but steady rain.  I found myself walking faster and faster, energized by the elements.  It's so much drier here than Western Oregon, I forget how good hiking in the rain feels.  My husband commented that it felt like home, that all the mossy rocks reminded him of our hiking adventures in the Santiam/Willamette National Forest, some of our most precious memories.  

Once home, I went to the walking path near our house to see if the snowdrops I usually see in January there had come up yet.  I was thrilled to see that they were there, flowering and imparting hope.  Along the creek there was a dead opossum, perfectly laid on one side.  I gazed silently at it, wondering how it came to be there, hoping it was not too painful a death.  On my way back up the path I noticed the plastic bag stuck in the branches across the street that I see every time I drive out.  I ambled down into the gulch beside the road but the bag was too far up and deep into the bramble and I couldn't reach it.  It was sickenening to see how much garbage is down there that is unseen from the road.  I've often seen deer walking through the brush there and now I know they've been walking through our human trash.  I used potato chip and cereal bags that were blowing around to put as much trash in as I could, but I'll have to go back with a bigger bag to collect the rest.  

As I was coming out of the gulch I saw the female peahen I wrote about several posts ago moving through trees on the other side of the path.  I took this as a great and wonderful sign of hope.

Last night we lit a white candle for rebirth and an orange candle to welcome back the sun.  

There is so much more to Imbolc / St. Brigid's Day, but this is how I celebrated this year.  I hope you feel the hope of the new season, whether you choose to celebrate or not. ♥︎
by mlekoshi