Happy traditional Imbolc, friends.
I woke up today with a mist in my heart, the kind only satiated by the reliable rhythm languages, the silences and flurries of Mama Earth. It felt like longing, and when I leaned into the feeling I saw myself on a drive around the Tall Pines, this Place where I have lived at least in part the whole round 43 years of my life.
So I drove. Through the mild falling snow and slush on the roads, going to the Place I could see in my head. We called it the crab docks at south south when I was a kid, those long, balmy days of yellow gold when my godparents would lead my brother and I on their old ten speeds to a woodsy clearing through the pines. We’d walk our bikes and follow their treads on a path softened by fallen needles to an opening of sea grass, the great gulps of salt all at once, the dank clumps of clamped muscles on the underside of exposed mud tumps at low tide, the hollow tinks of fiddler crab’s scut scut scuttle. The old dock was old even back then, brined white by the elements, and we’d follow them on to it, string and chicken necks in hand. All the way to the edge, where we’d peer down and look for the bottom of the brackish back bay.
For me, the Tide of Imbolc began its rise last Wednesday. Day before full moon. I took a half day from work that day in order to spend time with a lovely young lady I know. Masked and sanitizers at the ready, we went out and about to celebrate her 13th birthday with a day of thrift shop adventuring. The very first stop at a new place in town that sweet undercurrent of synchronicities, which had already begun with our chats when she sparkle-eye greeted me as I picked her up, opened up in such enjoyable ways. In the evening, on the ride home, she wiled out with a finger wagging at the sky, ohhh look how bright it’s like the suns out! and I gave thanks then for the surety of practical earth magic, peaking gibbous moon in the sky, Maiden moon tide of ripening potentiality, almost quivering full.
Imbolc is the time on the Wheel of the Year that we feel the pull of the Maiden or Virgin Tide, the archetypal first face of the Divine Feminine, when we are touched by the primal purity, the innocent rush of fever for Life, ready/ing to usher and burst into bloom. Give yourself time to reflect on when or if you’ve felt such essence, or synchronistic experiences yourself these last several, and or upcoming days: as a cross-quarter we can honor Imbolc as an Esbat, or moon celebration. Lunar Imbolc is a dark into new moon holy day (holiday) that occurs when the moon turns new while in the sun sign of Aquarius, February 11, 2021. I learned to track this using DJ Conways book Celtic Magic when I first started keeping the path. This Tide will continue through the end of this lunation into the next new moon. It’s the 4th of the 13 moons this Wheel of the Year. Allow, take note of the synchronicities, they will move you as you are meant to be…
As with me, on my drive. I suffer, and always have, the winter blues. Pulling up to the old crab docks, I knew what I’d find there. The path is closed now, a for sale sign on the corner of the otherwise quiet grove of tall pine trees. And so there it was, before me, nostalgia over days gone by. And too, there it was, within me. All the gones and used to be’s alive in my heart, and the fear of continuing, in pandemic and in personal life changes, to have to let go~in order to move on to what is meant to still be or come on through… The way, if we don’t take time to acknowledge and reckon with the truth of this in our own unique ways, how that need for goodbye and conscious letting go can get all tangled up with fear and pain around the unknown, or in other words–can get projected on to what is still to come. Into a fear of what lay ahead…
When we honor Imbolc, we are holding both. The stillness, the immobility even, of Nature in slumber, in hibernation, being fed underground in a mostly sleeping state by the compost of what has been; as well as the quickening or awakening of New Life that happens as result. To my way of understanding, this is why we honor Imbolc as a dark moon holiday. When potency or potential of what is yet to be is felt, not yet seen. We have to feel what else is there, too, you know? Laying in our deepest parts, within.
And so this, too, is Imbolc. Time on the Wheel in the center of the Season of Death, Winter.
Time to be with, and to reckon. So there, in front of the Place where the old path to the docks used to be, I dropped my car window. Sat idle awhile, beheld. Savored the hush of pine breath and the rush it put in my breath, the beat of my ancestors, of my blood beating in tree damp air. Prayed my thanks to the surety of the Wheel, to the Timing of this time of the Year. Prayed my thanks for what has been, and confronted my own fears. Made my offerings, and in doing so, got really excited to come home and write about this, to and for ya’ll.
Imbolc is a cross-quarter sabbat or holy day, meaning between the quarter holidays of Solstices and Equinoxes. In this case, Imbolc marks Mid-Winter. During the numinousity of this lunation we are in right now–which of course brings us tradtional Imbolc, today–we experience the touch of the Divine Calling for the Year. The power of Maiden or Virgin: Life, in full Sovereignty. This, dear ones, is the power of what I have come to call experientially Dreaming Moon .
Write, it moved me, sitting there in my car this morning when I was done, as if Brigid herself was whispering on the Tall Pine wind. Brigid, mother of Poetry, of the Fire of Life, within. I thought, I’ll go home, and confront mySelf on the page, where I’ve always known to go.
I was moved to look up the meaning of the word Imbolc to start this writing, and found this, a lovely site and lovely post on the sabbat written by Chloë Rain. According to her website, the origin of the word is from neolithic Irish and means to be in the belly of the ewe, as this was the time the field animals would be with child. Metaphoric, indeed, as we nurture now the seed of life in the belly of Mama Earth, and in our own personal and collective lives, for the upcoming Wheel. Here in the Nothern Hemisphere that is.
I also thought I’d share some of the personal synchronicities members of our Women’s Mysteries circle have shared this last week.
First, from Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell, shared by Crystal:
and then this most lovely chant, Circle of Women, by Nalini and Friends, shared by Tara:
And may all mothers know that they are loved…and may all sisters know that they are strong…and may all daughters know that they are beautiful…
Happy Imbolc, dear friends. Remind yourself now, there is no right way to celebrate. Only the chance to get Present, and open yourself both to YourSelf, and to the Mystery, and how it will move you in a way meaningful to you. It is a most beneficent time to Dream in a State of Hope or Love…Be well, be good to you.
Don’t let them tame you 😉