This is the perfect frame of mind for this time of year, Imbolc, which is also known as Midwinter and Candlemas, depending on who you are. Imbolc is an ancient, Celtic pagan holiday that honors the first inklings of the coming spring. In days of old, it was the time when the ewes udders began to grow heavy with milk, a sure sign that the birthing season was on its way.
Today, Imbolc is more commonly known across the western world as "Groundhog Day." Prognosticating woodchucks all across the states climb out of their holes and dictate whether or not winter will flee or linger based on whether or not they see their shadows.
For my family, however, it is a household holiday in honor of the Goddess Brigid. Brigid was the daughter of the Dagda and the Morrigan. She is often turned to by poets and smithies and those who practice the healing arts. Brigid also centers around the element of fire, something that is both abundant in our hearths during the long winter months, but lacking in our skies with the sun only just beginning its long journey back to warmer days.
In honor of Brigid today, and to show the sun how much I long for his return, I took our holiday wreath down from the door and burned it in our fire pit out back. As one of the last symbols of yule remaining in the home, it was a farewell to winter ritual that left me feeling filled with hope for the loosening of tension to come as the weather grows warmer, work returns to our region and the earth prepares itself to receive our seeds. Because Imbolc is an early celebration of fertility, it is the perfect time to begin planning out the garden we will plant this spring.
For those who feel wound in the endless twines of winter, Imbolc is a time to loosen the twine and take a deep breath. Rest assured that spring is on the way, and before you know it tulips will be pushing through the fresh, green grass.
Last, but not least, Imbolc is a time to look to the future. Spring cleaning is obviously not a favored pastime for many, but consider it a time in which you can make room for new things in your life, but packing up the old and removing it. Think of your life and your space in terms of how full it is. If your home is filled with clutter then in order to create space for new things you'll want to part with that which no longer serves you. This also applies to people, ideals, thoughts and habits. It is a great time to remove negative energy from your life in order to make room for positive energy and growth.
Blessed Imbolc, and may Brigid whisper endless inspiration into every muse's ear, providing a year's worth of creativity and prosperity.