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Imbolc: Renewal & Hope

Jan 31st- Feb 2nd

Imbloc is the first fire festival of the new year, as corresponds with the Gregorian calendar. It is the marker on the wheel of the year that I most strongly associate with renewal, hope, and re-emergence. This particular festival name comes from Celtic tradition, however this mid-point between winter and spring has been observed in other cultures in different ways as well.

Imbloc can translate as old Irish to mean “in the belly” or from an even older word, oimelc, to mean “ yews milk”. Regardless of the exact meaning of this word, it can be agreed that the word itself and also the marker of this mid season both represent and observe a time of gestation- something waiting to evolve into new life but that needs just a little more time in unseen space.

Imbolc is the seed beneath the surface, in a space of preparation as it absorbs nutrients and gains strength. Imbolc is the not yet, but soon. It is the knowing and acceptance that winter is still with us, but the renewed trust and faith in knowing that spring is on its way, and summer will always come again.

Suggested activities to connect with Imbolc’s themes

  • If you are going to create a garden this spring, start to plan! While it is still too early to start most seedlings, now is a great time to begin to order seeds, to map out garden plots, and to create lists of things that you will need! Certain seedlings can be started as early as mid February, so be sure to do your research on what you want to grow!

  • Write a list of metaphorical seeds you wish to plant. Maybe it is a new project you dream of starting, a habit you wish to form, or a new goal you want to set. Instead of getting overwhelmed of hyper- planning, can you write one simple and attainable thing you can do to start heading in that direction?

    • For example, if you want to take a new course, maybe step one is doing some general research on programs available in your area of interest. If you have already taken the first step that comes to mind, note it down and then note the next logical micro step you can make!

  • Find a sun beam and sit in it! Allow that sun beam to remind you of the return of longer days not soon ahead, while staying grounded in the fact that it is most certainly still winter. If no sunbeams are in sight, light a candle and allow it to light up your day, and use it as a reminder for the coming return of sun's power.

  • Cook with seasonal flavors! Potatoes, grains, dried nuts and seeds, along with any dairy (or dairy substitutions) are the theme! If you are dairy free such as myself, creating a dairy free cheese using seeds and nuts would be an incredible way to honor this season! hundreds of relevant recipes exist free for this on the internet! Here is a list of ideas to get you started!

  • Do a meditation! This is a great time for introspection and clearing the mind to allow for better exploration of what is to come.

  • Move your body! Some of us feel this excess of growing energy physically, and need an outlet to shake it out. It is normal to start to feel drawn to more active movement during this shift. (remember that if you take up a more active physical movement practice that you then need to balance that out with rest and gentle care! Also remember to trust and honor the way your body is existing in any seasonal or energy transit, and do not force your experience to suit that of someone else. Use your intuition to decipher if rest and/or movement is supportive.)

If journaling feels like a helpful activity that resonates with you, here are some prompts to work with during the energy of Imbolc! Use these as starting off points and go from there!

  • How do you feel, currently? Has this shifted recently, or does it feel pretty stagnant? (no wrong answer, just a reflection)

  • Do you feel a beginning brewing? If yes, what might it be? It is ok to not know!

  • What are some ways to can make space in your life for good things to come?

  • How can you feel the most supported towards feelings of renewal and growth?

Again, this is a time to renew your hope in whatever way that feels authentic to you. It is a reminder that can either be felt gently or more soul shakingly that the wheel of the year is always turning, and that the light will always come back again. Only because there is Winter do we know the relief of the spring and the heat of the summer.

Blessed Imbolc everyone, and only the sweetest beginnings to you all.


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