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Happy Imbolc 2024!




Imbolc is on Thursday February 1st this year, the feast day of Brigid the pagan Goddess. Her light and fire were so strong the church could never put it out so they changed her into a saint! Her name comes from the Gaelic Breo-Saigit, fiery arrow. She is goddess of creativity, fertility, poetry and the keeper of fire! I invite you to burn a candle tonight in her honour. You might have also noticed small signs that spring is just around the corner as snowdrops and crocuses make their way into the light. We have been sowing seeds today- it’s time to plant some beans and chillies to give them a head start.


Imbolc is the time to reflect on the darkness of winter and begin to move back towards the light, connect back to your energy and warmth. What bulbs or seeds did you plant? What dreams do you wish to bring forth? If you didn't plant any seeds yet, it's not too late. You can still sow seeds and nurture them for the year ahead. Are you noticing a new feeling in the air? A call to move more? Do you perhaps hear the sound of birdsong already as birds prepare their nests to welcome their young? Don't worry if you still feel like sleeping a little longer, it's still cold outside.


Living by The Wheel of the Year and noticing small changes in nature is what, for me, helps with negative feelings, especially in winter when days are dark and nights are long. If you look closely you can see that there are changes afoot in nature and these give us hope of better days to come. Imbolc- or Imbolg- literally means 'in the belly'. It is expectant, like the first stages of pregnancy. Maybe it's not yet fully visible. Out on the allotment it feels cold, but this weekend the sky was blue. I felt the energy to start clearing some of the beds and I noticed small green shoots hiding at the base of an old stem. Walking down the lane, I also noticed a carpet of snowdrops pushing up through the Earth in a neighbour's garden, reminding us that Spring is just around the corner.


Finding awe and wonder in nature and its power to regenerate it what I think keep us truly alive. Yesterday when leaving the house I saw a small ladybird right by the backdoor, and some purple periwinkle flowers near my car. These small things give us hope that the Earth can begin to throw off its icy cloak! This is the time to make a wish- or perhaps a dedication. Traditionally this was also the time to spring clean the house and have a good clear out, symbolically letting go of the past that keeps us stuck, making room for new beginnings. This willingness to see the world differently and meet it with optimism seems so important today. Maybe you'll soon notice bulbs finding their way out of the Earth or the wobbly new lambs in the fields and feel this too.


I love this time of year. The Goddess, Brigid, The Bride, brings us the promise of hope and all good things to come. When you see those snowdrops and young lambs skipping around it's easy to see why. She's also the goddess of the hearth, warmth, fire and sun. I read an article once about an old house in Ireland where they found more than one hundred small homemade crosses honouring Brigid, consistently through the generations. It made me smile and for the first time in 2022 I made my own Brigid cross with my friends at Om Yoga Works. This was near the start of a new stage in my teaching as I established my classes at the beautiful studio, making my own new beginnings after the pandemic, as the students there also began a new journey with me. If you think back to those days, it's likely that you too will notice a change!


When thinking about the Wheel of the Year, many people look to the Solstice but for me Imbolc is perhaps my favourite of all. Brigid brings renewal, healing, poetry and creativity (traditionally smithcraft). As I said before, the people understandably loved her did not want to let her go of her so her worship was integrated into the early Christian church as St Bridget. She later becoming the patron saint of midwives and newborn babies. What gives us more hope than that?


Promise of renewal

Of hidden potential

Of earth awakening

And life-force stirring

Here is hope.

Welcome

The growth of returning light

Witness

Life's insatiable appetite for rebirth.

Time to let go of past

Look to future

Make space for new beginnings

Inwards and outwards

Clearing the mind and heart

Allow inspiration

Begin a new cycle.


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