Imbolc is always a festival I enjoy but this year it feels very poignant, like the tiny candle I lit at the Winter Solstice has grown – not yet a shining Beltane Beacon Fire, but very much a guiding light in the darkness that now is shining wider and brighter than before, revealing hope and brighter days ahead, both metaphorically and in reality.
The tree by the well in the woods is garlanded once more. Still bare of leaf but just under the bark there is an awareness that Spring is on its way. Snowdrops are flowering in woodland and in the hedgerow, bowing their heads as the Lady passes, leaving more gentle white flowers in her wake. When the sun peeps through the grey clouds there is a noticeable shift in the quality of light. It may not be Spring just yet, but Brighid’s Festival is like the tentative first kiss of a future lover.
The nights remain long and Orion is still hunting in our skies. I don’t wish him away this year. It’s been a joy to see him and know that we share those same stars with my friends in Australia who I have not seen for so long. I think of them every time I see him. He has been magnificent in his splendour during these dark winter nights. I know he will soon once more disappear below the horizon to rejoin us once more in September, and as he hunts elsewhere so the May blossom will flower, followed by the Elder, and this lizard will bask with joy in the Sun’s warmth once more.
But right now I relish the stillness of Imbolc, the blessing of the Lady of Poets, the Forge, and Healing. May she bless us with inspiration and the will to create a bright future, may she bring healing to division and may friends be reconciled. May she bring the warmth of passion to our hearts and souls as we emerge from this shared experience.
Whatever you are doing to celebrate Imbolc, may it bring wonder and joy. And to all my friends down under, I will step outside and raise a glass to Orion with my best wishes for your Lughnasadh.