Lunar Imbolc to traditional Imbolc, 2020

strangetrees4Cécile Gambini

Happiest mid-Winter, friends.

It is lunar Imbolc and we are blanketed both by the sweet velvet dark right now of mama Luna’s balsamic, or dark phase and mama Nature’s hibernation season of Winter.  Balsamic or dark moon is the final stage of the moon’s 8 phases.  It is the metaphoric PMS of the month, when the sacred body of the lunation cycle comes home to herself in her truest face: darkness.   She has now stirred then seeded new life, grown whole in reflection of her consort the sun, and is finally preparing to shed the energy of the cycle behind her, while holding onto the wisdom it gained.  Within this stillness, the sanctum of mama Luna’s monthly Red Tent time, we revere this wisdom as it embodied in our own lives, and find reverie in the dark.

Mama moon teaches how to be with all aspects of living and dying–much as the phase of seasonal dark, the Winter–but one version of the mama Nature–teaches as well.  To surrender to that which is bigger, to be held.  When mama Moon moves out of darkness back to her first light, the new moon phase, we begin again.  New moon energy generates life and illumination. Of the Wisdom of the last cycle, a new seed or insight for the new growth cycle will emerge.

And so too it is with Lunar Imbolc.  Imbolc on the soul, women’s mysteries or depth feminine path is what I call sap-rising time.  It is when the old compost and detritus of the cycle of winter begins to cook, and the first seed or spark of new life for the whole new cycle of growth and light of the year–breaking ground at Spring–first stirs.

Traditional Imbolc occurs on February 2 and is also known as Candlemas.  In the Celt tradition and among Christians and Catholics, it reveres the goddess or Saint Brigid. It is a cross-quarter holy day, the time of mid-Winter that we are reminded to tend the light of the hearth.  Archetypal application of this is feeling the rise of inner life or interior inspiration…a draw back to those things that give the authentic self life within.  Lunar Imbolc is celebrated on the Women’s Mysteries path when the moon turns from dark to new while she is in the sun sign of Aquarius.  This year that is tomorrow, Friday, January 24th, for the northern hemisphere, occuring  near sunset here on the MidAtlantic coast.

Imbolc is a time that we revere the keeping of the inner life or lovelight lit.  It is, as said, also when we start to have insight of the seeds that are cooking underground right now.  It is time to surrender to the space and darkness of continued Winter, and how of that space the whole harvest of the new season of growth in mama Nature will come.

It is time to give thanks, it is time to make connection to what we value in simple, life giving ways.  In that it is dark moon time right now, and first light of sight time on the seasonal path or medicine wheel, it is time for prophecy.  Dropping in, or connecting to your deep, interior self and wisdom will prepare seeds of insight and vision for you in the week to come.

Drop in, or connect to mama Nature.  Then relax and take it easy.  Insight will come.

At all stages on the wheel of the year, I like to make time and space to reconnect to mama Nature.

Give thanks for the air you breathe, station of Spring and East.  For the trees that clean and give breath, the sea grasses that filter compost and muck and clean carbon and air for breath.  

Give thanks for fire, station of South and Summer.  The sun who turns all green things to sugar and energy, who too gives the sacred body of nature and animals, of humans energy and light.  Season of fertility and passion, of love.

Give thanks for water, station of West and Autumn.  For the element that makes up 80% of who we are, for the element of liquid crystals that change form with speech, with love, with prayer.  For the season of reflection and clear, transitory change.

Give thank for earth, station of North and Winter.  For our home, she who provides every resource, she who is originator of all patterns and cycles, she who provides and teaches rest and stillness, who will catch our bodies when our time here is done.

At midwinter, station of North East, we are held amid the darkness of Earth’s sacred body, and feel the emerging insight of springtime’s clarity–fusion of earth with element of air.  Give thanks.

And too, in the words of our elder and one of my teachers, Starhawk, we give thanks for the fifth sacred thing, the sacred human heart~ the sacred physical, sacred quantum, sacred cosmic, sacred alchemical center within.  Alchemy progenitor of soul.  Give thanks.  Get outside.  Drop deep within. Connect to and tend your light.  Tend the light of life, during the season of wane…as it begins its steady ascent back towards breaking ground.

When your light shines, other’s shine on with you.

Be well friends.  Happy Lunar Imbolc.  Begin within, then get outside!



Cécile Gambini, from the book Strange Trees and the Stories Behind Them


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