Imbolc, St Brigit and new beginnings

pic from Naturescape, who supplied my snowdrops

“Born from winter dreaming, life stirs and the first tender shoots emerge from the earth. As the wheel turns, we feel the promise of spring and the dawning of a new beginning”

There’s a smattering of snow on the garden, the snowdrops have been out for weeks and we have come to the end of what feels like the longest January ever. I had an emotional wobble on Thursday, having spent all day at an online moderation meeting for sixth form EPQ projects when the rest of the school were off timetable, encouraged to take time away from online study. It couldn’t be helped but nearly broke me. But everything happens for a reason and it has forced me to realise how little time I have spent since Christmas socialising, reading, walking, gardening, cooking and doing all those activities that make me feel like me. I need to recalibrate and fill the pot from which I pour to others during the week.

Today is the feast of St Brigit and the ancient festival of Imbolc, a fire festival. Traditionally it was a time when stores would be running low. No change there as we have just exhausted our supply of fire wood and have another booked to arrive tomorrow. Fire rituals at Imbolc ensured a good growing season and celebrated having successfully survived the darkest days of another winter. Ritual fire was kindled to ensure a good growing season and to increase the power of the returning sun. Families would celebrate having successfully survived the darkest days of another winter.

That seems especially poignant this year as we begin to emerge from the effects of the pandemic. We’re not there yet but there are signs that, if managed carefully, we should not slip back into the dark days of winter. To celebrate quietly we had a catch up with the boys who are in lockdown at university, lit the fire last night and watched ‘The Dig’ on Netflix, a beautiful bittersweet film with some lovely understated performances. Life affirming but not shying away from the fact that living has its fair share of personal difficulties.

Imbolc blessings to you all. May the sunshine return to your homes and gardens over the coming months.

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