Dearest monks and artists,
I share with you a brief excerpt from our online self-study retreat Sacred Seasons: A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Wheel of the Year.
February 1st-2nd marks a confluence of several feasts and occasions including: the Celtic feast of Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day, Candlemas, Feast of the Presentation, and Groundhog Day!
Imbolc is a Celtic feast that is 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 February 2nd is the official beginning of spring.
As the days slowly lengthen in the northern hemisphere 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.
It is the time when the ewes begin to give birth and give forth their milk, and heralds the coming of longer and warmer days. It is the first sign of life after the long dark nights of winter. Brigid breathes into the landscape so that it begins to awaken. Snowdrops, the first flowers of spring are one of her symbols.
In many places the ground is still frozen or covered with snow, but the call now is tend to those very first signs of movement beneath the fertile ground. What happens when you listen ever so closely in the stillness? What do you hear beginning to emerge?
What new seeds are stirring deep in your belly?
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Dancing monk icon © Marcy Hall (prints available in her Etsy shop)