Imbolc, the Early Transition

Imbolc is one of my favorite holidays. The hopefulness it brings, celebrating the first stirrings of a Spring about to burst forth, has always been needed, in my life and in the communities that celebrate it. In my younger days I used to have the winter-time Seasonal Affective Disorder, so the smallest hint of green, warmth, or strong light during winter was like a life preserver, promising that happiness was coming and that life would not feel like this forever. People need hope. Communities need to feel that better times are coming, if they’re struggling… that they can reach a transition point and revolution can sweep through.

I remember one suffering winter day around this time of year, in high school, when I walked outside at lunch-time and spied a patch of grass peeking out of the snow, looking surprisingly green… I stepped onto it and, on contact, felt a strong and instant relief. A weight dropped off me, or something heavy drained right out of my body and soul… and riotous, green life welled up within me, energizing me and making me feel amazingly alive and alert. I felt a physical, mental, and spiritual transition as it happened, in the sacred space of a small island of grass in a sea of snow. I think a friend was with me, standing nearby on the snow or the concrete, but I was paying full attention to this experience, which had taken me by surprise. I thanked the grass or the spirit of the green for the gift, instinctively (I’ve always been an animist, even when I thought I was a monotheist), and went on with my day and the rest of that winter in a happier state, and I have always carried the memory with me.

Imbolc makes me think of that gift of healing and hope, along with other similar feelings I’ve had at Imbolc through the years. The transition of winter into spring, at this early and quiet point, this subtle shift, is powerful… quite powerful to those who feel the cold and the dark in their bones, after a long “white death.”

Rebirth is conceived at such a point. And life spirals upward, ever-changing, ever-growing even with its periods of dying back. The light returns, the green germinates, the new life takes hold. Death and corruption are not forever, in a living world like ours, in a Mother’s strong embrace.

Harness this energy to transition into some new beginning for yourself, for your community, and have a hopeful nascent Spring.


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