Quickening

Listen.

Can you hear it?

Can you hear the gentle quickening beneath the earth?

Tomorrow on February 2nd is the feast of Imbolc, Candlemas, the feast of St. Bridget, and Groundhog Day.  It is a cross-quarter day meaning it is the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.  The sun marks the four Quarter Days of the year (the Solstices and Equinoxes) and the midpoints are the cross-quarter days.  In some cultures this is the official beginning of spring.

As the days slowly lengthen and the sun makes her way higher in the sky, the ground beneath our feet begins to thaw.  The earth softens and the seeds deep below stir in the darkness.  The word imbolc means “in the belly.”  The earth’s belly is beginning to awaken, new life is stirring, seeds are sprouting forth. 

In some parts of the country it may still feel like the dead of winter.  Here in Seattle, our weather has been cold but we have had sun for several days which always makes it feel a little like spring.  I even have seen little shoots beginning to emerge as in the photo below taken just a couple of days ago.

It seems appropriate that tonight the moon would be full, her own belly overflowing with light, a portent of things to come.

Candlesmas and Imbolc are traditionally a time to look forward.  What does the new life stirring in your own world sound like?  Can you hear it deep within you? How can you nurture this seedling in the fertile dark earth of your soul in the coming days?

-Christine Valters Paintner @Abbey of the Arts


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