Friday, February 04, 2005

Can You Feel It? Imbolc!

Note 1/09 This was written when we still lived in California. Things are a bit different here in Oregon, and I'm building a new, native habitat and learning new plants - Sia

Can you feel it?

I notice the changes in the neighborhood every day now when I walk our dog. The birds are singing (my Rhododendron sounds like a wildly popular cabaret) and everywhere we go the trees are in full bud. New leaves are coming out on the rose bushes, the bulbs in the ground are about to pop with daffodils, tulips, and Jonquils (1) and the weeds have overrun my garden.

Drat those weeds.

Since the sun came out, I see my neighbors again. They are all outside trimming and mowing and planting and generally running amok in their haste to put in some flower beds, and get some color back into their world. It's time to clear out my own bed of weeds before it's too late and we become a scandal and a hissing.

February 9th marks the Lunar New Year in 2005. The frosts are usually over by then and so this is when I traditionally plant my seeds, put out something x-tra special for the birds, and celebrate my own version of Imbolc, which involves learning from the past and looking towards the future. (2)

I plant a wild garden, using mostly native shrubs, herbs, and Mediterranean plants. It tends to look more free form than most other gardens, especially this time of year, but I know what I've put there, and what it will look like soon, so I can afford to wait, knowing that color and scent and great beauty will soon be mine again, along with butterflies, and bees and birds and the lower water bill that is my reward for planting draught tolerant species. All this wonder will soon be mine, if I can just get those rotten weeds out of the way.

Ah....metaphor. Ain't it grand?

There is a sweeter feel to the air, just now, a tingle and a tang, a sensual vitality. Can you feel it? The energy? It makes me think of a great artist standing backstage, warming up for Her big aria.

It's still a bit brisk and chilly out where we are, especially at night, and the stars sparkle and dance in their turning, making a splendid spiral for those willing to leave their TV sets long enough to go out and take a look. It's a sacred time, a time betwixt and between, a time of immense possibility. Gods, I so love this time of year.

Don’t let it fool you, though. There’s more harsh weather to come. Even so, it’s a good time to plant the hardy varieties, clean closets, and take a walk outside, and it’s an ever better time to rest and relax in front of the fire with a good book or a loved one. There’s nothing dark about this time of year, really. If you only look around you’ll see the life coming up and about to spring out all around you. If you have the courage to look inside, as well as outside this season you’ll see the promise this Path holds for a truly authentic life. This is our birthright. Along with that right comes the call for self creation and renewal. This is our our greatest challenge.

Blessings of the season to you and yours,


(1) Jonquil - isn't that a lovely word? It sounds like the name of a medieval dance or a rare Amazonian bird.

(2) My celebration of Imbolc is done as my personal New Year. It has four main features to honor the four directions: Gratitude, Cleansing, Planting (and/or Planning, if you prefer) and Giving (In my case, most often, to the birds, animals and wild spirits in my home and garden, but also to others in need). I generally foster some kittens this time of year, and donate items to a domestic violence shelter , a homeless shelter, or our local thrift store for charity. This year, many of my metaphysical items are going to the Pagan Garage Sale.

This day also involves the use of three colors for meditation and inspiration: the White of milk and stars for wholeness and balance, the Yellow of sunlight and flowers for inspiration and joy and Green of Gaia and for growth and renewal. The Goddess I most invoke at this time is Bridgid, along with two other deities who protect our house and hearth. My friend Reed uses a blended Pantheon of both male and female deities. Others I know work with the spirits of the land or use no pantheon at all or work with Christian, Jewish or Buddhist avatars - it is best if you find your own way.

This is also a time for us to use fire, candles, and water in our rituals and we honor the Green Man (also known as the Horned God) who strides the land in his role as protector, death God and progenitor.


Art: Lady of the Water by Brian Froud

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