Although we normally celebrate Imbolc on the second of February, today is when all the rituals in the area where scheduled. A nice, clear Saturday afternoon, with everybody free of other obligations.
Except on Hoth, where snow thwarts all plans. The weather advisories started coming out on Thursday. Friday afternoon saw Brenden’s wrestling tournament cancelled. By Friday evening, the advisories had started warning of ice in addition to the snow. At that point, my own church cancelled our planned Imbolc ritual, and the other main public circle in the area offered for folks to be included in absentia in their working to cut down on driving.
It’s gotten so bad that the local high school teachers have started saying they’ll have their tests on such-and-such day, “or whenever we have school next.” Every night, Brenden asks about school before going to bed, and I’ve started waking up automatically at 5 or 6 in the morning to brace myself for that morning phone call and text message that school is cancelled. I think school was open less than half the usual number of days for January. Even Brian’s office told employees to work from home for the first time in the ten years we’ve been up here. We’re in the middle of the current snowstorm as I write this. We’re forecast to get another 12 inches or so next Tuesday, and there is even more snow coming next Friday or Saturday, just in time to mess with our re-wedding plans.
And in the midst of all this ice and snow and cold and shoveling and frozen toes and spiking energy prices comes Imbolc. Imbolc started out as an agricultural celebration of the time when goats and sheep would begin lactating in preparation for the spring births. In our modern Wiccan calendar, Imbolc is the day when we are reminded to look around us and see the signs of the coming spring amidst the worst of winter. While the snow is blowing and the temperature is still dropping, we can see the days getting longer and know that the strengthening sun will soon melt our worries away. It is a time to light our own candles and fires to symbolically lend our strength to the sun and warm the Mother Earth while she waits. It is a time to begin planting seeds indoors (or snow-sowing!) in anticipation of the time when we will be able to plant the seedlings in our gardens. It is a time to think about what sort of year we want this to be, what next things we want to learn and create, how we want to grow, what goals we want to accomplish.
Today I sowed my first ever winter seeds and placed the little greenhouse on our defunct hot tub. The snow already covering everything makes getting a level surface a little tricky, so I expect to keep a close eye on its tilt until it is firmly resting on the flat cover. Also today, I continued working with the new task website I found, getting more things accomplished in less time than I can remember doing in years. Sometimes a change in tactics or focus is all we need to move forward! Tomorrow, I’ll make cinnamon rolls, the spiral of the dough symbolizing the spirals of the Goddess and the year. I’ll take up sewing again this weekend, starting with my wedding dress. All in all, truly a time of new beginnings in our house!
A happy and blessed Imbolc to all, and may all find warmth and peace this season!