It comes in the depths of Winter and whilst intellectually I know that this is the festival to celebrate the first, imperceptible stirrings
of Spring, in my heart it feels like darkest Winter. Unlike Solstice
which gets caught up in the general festivities of Christmas the rest
of the world is not celebrating with me and it feels iron and cold.
This year Imbolc has been different, I have been thinking about it
differently and feeling differently even though the iron cold is here
as Siberian winds are chilling the whole of the UK.
This year when my working group started to talk about Imbolc, instead of going with the flow I really started to engage. It was like my brain had tripped into a gear that it previously hadn't worked with before. I could feel the idea of Imbolc starting to form in my mind from that point on, at work, on the train, on my long walks I was aware of something burning away and it was Imbolc.
When I feel so very moved to celebrate a festival then I like to spin
it out over several events. Yule/Christmas is perhaps the best
example of this, putting up a tree, feasting on both the 21st and
25th, attending solstice ceremonies and of course lots of kissing
under the mistletoe. Easy to do when the Western world is celebrating at the same time. This creates a sort of carnival of festivities and provides many opportunities for me to connect with the spirituality behind the season. Festivals where I rock up to one single religious ceremony for a couple of hours just don't do it for me in the same way. Because Imbolc is so moving me and so I am trying a new way of celebrating the year as a continuing wheel rather than as single points of light and with a strike of inspiration I though how much this has to do with Immanence.
Immanence is the concept that the divine is in the material world,
rather than Transcendence where the divine exists outside the physical .
By bringing much more of Imbolc into my life and having it glowing
away in the back of my mind as I go about my daily business I am
bringing my spiritual and the physical closer together. There are so
many great Pagan books which give you sample rituals and ideas for
celebration but very few which explicitly state that whilst we have
a special day for each festival, the week before and week after can also have a similar resonance which we can attune to.
So my Imbolc celebrations this year started around the beginning of January when my working group first discussed the festival, on the 29th January I took a mini-spiritual retreat at home alone for the afternoon and this included setting up my Imbolc altar, making offerings of milk and mead and offering up prayers to Bridgit. I read and enjoyed many blog posts, poetry and songs about Imbolc and Bridgit, posted on the web. January the 31st I attended an Imbolc celebration with my working group and on 2nd February itself I ate a special meal of lamb casserole and baked custard, quiet by candlelight in honour of the season…and of course as the dust settles on Imbolc I am rounding it up by posting my own blog entry.
How amazing would it be to keep this going for a full cycle, to be constantly celebrating the wheel of the year not as special events to look forward to as a break from daily life but as a way of living a fully spiritual and enchanted Life every day.