02 February 2017
The uncertainty of Imbolc
As the cycle of the year turns we are now at the half-way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox at the point known as Imbolc, traditionally celebrated in the early days of February.
You’ve heard of groundhogs day? The legend about the groundhog looking for her shadow on February 2, is a vestige of an ancient divination technique to determine how long the winter would last. If she sees her shadow, she will retreat to her den as winter will continue for six more weeks, until spring equinox.
In the 2017 We’moon, our very own Herbal Conference teacher Kim Duckett describes the Imbolc season:
“Imbolc in dark, cold winter can signify endurance in the face of adversity and scarcity: we may encounter fragility, tenuousness, uncertainty, darkness and despair beyond what we think we can endure. Women know these experiences. We have held both new life and death in our hands. We have wondered: will this child make it, will the addict live or die, will my lover come home, will I survive this loss? Will I be ok? Will there be enough resources to see us into spring?”
“I imagine our ancestors sitting in circle at this time of year, with whatever sources of light they had, listening to one another. Just so, we are invited to sit circle together and share how we “are,” what we need, what is frozen, what is thawing, what is fragile. In the deep winter, we begin again. We say Yes again each year: Yes to returning light, to the coming outward time. We are saying Yes to the living of life again and whatever it may bring. I speak of Imbolc as a time of Faith.”
Artwork by Martha Tree