Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blessed Imbolc

Listen. There's a stirring deep within the Earth, hushed, nearly imperceptible.

From the belly of the Mother, new life pushes forth at the Imbolc cross-quarter gateway. In the depths of the Earth womb, beneath snow and ice, natural cycles of creation are silently at work. New life is gestating. Rebirth is at hand.

The ancient Sabbat of Imbolc marks the seasonal turning point from winter toward spring in the northern hemisphere. The days grow noticeably longer, and signs of spring begin to emerge from the ground. The promise of rebirth and renewal is fulfilled. South of the equator, the Sun's light begins to recede as autumn approaches. This is the Lammas cross-quarter in the southern hemisphere.

February 2 is the traditional date of Imbolc. The festival was Christianized as Candlemas, when the candles to be used in the Catholic Church in the coming year are blessed.

In America, February 2 is Groundhog Day. The groundhog predicts when spring will come as he pokes his head out to see his shadow, or not. This squirrel-like creature burrows deep within the Earth, the realm of shamams and mystics. Deep meditation unlocks secrets of Great Mystery at this special time.

Zodiacal Imbolc falls on February 3 as the Sun crosses 15 degrees Aquarius, the the mid-point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Imbolc is one of the four “cross-quarters” of the year known as Greater Sabbats because they’re considered to be the most powerful Sun-Earth alignments of the solar year. The better known solstices and equinoxes are the Lesser Sabbats.

“Imbolc” means “in the belly.” In Celtic tradition, this Sabbat is the festival of the Goddess Brighid, who relates to the Corn Maiden in Native American tradition. Both goddess archetypes symbolize the potential of new life within the Earth, within the human female form, and within the feminine aspect of all beings, male and female. Imbolc reminds us of our powers of creation.

Traditionally we celebrate the Sabbats with ritual, consciously creating with intent as we move toward the birthing at the Spring Equinox on March 20. Progress may seem slow on the surface. Trust that new life is sprouting on inner levels, just as the tiny seeds of spring are beginning to germinate deep within the belly of Mother Earth.

The cosmos gives the green light for new projects, travel and adventure when the Sun enters active Aries at the Vernal Equinox on March 20. Hibernation is over. The Sun warms our bodies and kisses the Earth. The sights and sounds and smells of a wondrous creation fill our senses. Spring is life on Earth. A new you blossoms, as a flower opening to the sky.