Jack of the Frost is covering the world with an icy cold.
Halfway between the North Pole and Equator, Imbolc feels a world away.
Finding magick in the snow,
I journey to the cave, to the goddess slumbering below.
Here in Nova Scotia, our Temple of Witchcraft group has celebrated another sabbat. The first of our fire festivals of the year, and when we are supposed to feel the awakening Goddess from Her slumber – I adore Imbolc, and it marks my anniversary in becoming a witch. Every year I lovingly create clooties out of natural fabric, just as I did for my very first ritual, and hang (not tie) it to a branch. It’s a mark of both celebration and healing for me. Is it the time that we awaken the Goddess? Well, that depends on where you live in the world I think.
In the Temple tradition we have a Wheel of the Year story through which we envision the Wheel of the Year with a multifocal story, an interplay between tides of light and darkness, of life and death. For this particular ritual, we worked with Jack of the Frost, which is one face of the many-faced God, guiding us to the sleeping Goddess.
During our ritual we embarked on a guided journey to the eight-spoked Wheel of the Year, and to the slumbering Goddess in Her cave at Imbolc. I had visions within this of Her surrounded by candles, and the presence of many other witches throughout time and space, calling upon Her to awaken, and bring life and light the world.
Not yet anyway.
In my meditation She remained fully asleep.
Cold and hibernating.
This time of year in Nova Scotia is my least favourite month. The cold sting and icy breath of winter burns my skin, splits my lips, and freezes my tears. It can be brutal, and unforgiving to walk outside. Nowhere do I feel this maiden Goddess of Spring ready to emerge. In terms of myths, the Callieach is heard keening in the cold winds, and the stories of a spring Goddess, perhaps Persephone/Kore, are still hibernating like the bears.
This painfully long stretch between Yule and when the snowdrops come up (where I would mark Imbolc if it were a feeling rather than astrological) is almost three full months. Often our Springs rush in quickly, with snowdrops arriving early to mid-March, and the Spring Equinox rushing the rest along. There’s never an exact date, but I’ll feel it when it arrives. It isn’t here yet.
Our Wheel of the Year is a myth, told to us with mostly UK origins. So while I celebrate, my intentions mirror the world I live in. Rather than asking Her to awaken here, I offered Her gifts of honey and milk to regenerate, and gather strength for the work of pushing up through the earth. Adjusting to the world we are in, connecting to the Wheel of the Year for the seasons where we live them, has been a powerful journey of understanding the spirit of place, and the world that I live in. I would encourage you to do the same.
In terms of merging this with celebrating the Wheel of the Year, which I love and do based on the astrological times, I would encourage you all to consider what marks that timing. Despite the harshness of this month, the February full moon is one of the most beautiful sights. My little piece of the world is glowing from all that harsh cold and frozen snow. So for me, Imbolc is a time to mark healing and celebrate my anniversary of becoming a witch, regeneration, joining the Goddess in Her slumber, and calling Her to come forth by making offerings that might entice Her to join the waking world in Her time.
I would love to hear how you celebrate when your Sabbats don’t line up in terms of the weather/seasons, with the timing. However you celebrated the Wheel of the Year, may it have been a blessing for you and yours.
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