Preparing for Imbolc as an Initiation

Preparing for Imbolc as an Initiation January 31, 2023

Imbolc, ancient and green. Sparkling with glimmers of light, tipped in frost; sprinkled with seeds and grain, mixed with musky scents of turned earth and the uncertainty of the year to come. Traditionally Imbolc is a celebration of the beginning of the upcoming growing season to help ensure fertility of the land for the benefit of the community; but how do we translate this into modernity and still give it relevance if you are not a farmer?

While we often set goals and resolutions at New Year’s, Imbolc can be the perfect time to consider the year ahead, when the Earth is in her cycle of creation and new beginnings support you in your new endeavors. It is not only a time to look forward, but to acknowledge the accomplishments, experiences and attempts of the past, revise or release them and consider new paths.

Few of us find our profession to be integrally linked to seasons of harvest and hunting. Our jobs rarely change in relation to the weather, day in and day out, we plod away doing our jobs. To most, seasonal events have no bearing on religiosity. And yet Imbolc (and other Earth-centered holidays) have a deeply spiritual nature.

Can You Ever Really Be Ready?

Death and Endings are always followed by birth and beginnings. Imbolc is the reawakening of nature after the cold Death of Winter.  Here in Virginia, February is often the iciest and most dangerous. It’s when the harsh weather makes everything harder. Just walking out to our car is a test of balance and stamina and we often we begin to yearn for the buds of Spring as the bitter cold seeps deeper into our aging bones. Initiations are life-altering experiences that will forever change one’s perspectives on every level. They test your limits, resolution, and your ability to cope. One can do their best to prepare but the initiation will be an ordeal that tests you.

We all go through experiences that mold and form our character. We can choose to either use it as a tool for development or to be forever damaged. It’s not uncommon to have a period where you are overwhelmed or paralyzed, this is a natural part of the process when we are challenged beyond our expectations. But after the shock has passed take time to weigh the possible outcomes and take action.

What do you want to Grow?

While this can sound like a question of ambition, it’s actually not. Growth often involves pruning. While it’s an overused analogy, there are few better verbal illustrations. Growth requires you to make space, and then take time to attend to it. You have to direct your energy away from other things to be able to put it toward your new directive. You must remove barriers, old beliefs, people, and even relationships. Are you willing and able to make room on your plate?

You’ve made your plan! Now prepare to move forward into action.

Self-initiation is a profound experience.
Self-initiation is a profound experience.

Self-initiation is about acknowledging to yourself in a very tangible way that you accept yourself and acknowledge your own readiness to move forward. Initiation is the metaphorical celebration acknowledging you have been properly prepared for the trials ahead. To continue the harvest analogy: you’ve worked for months/years preparing the ground, gathering seeds and studying new techniques to fertilize, protect and understand growth, development and hardships that are sure to come. While you may not have experienced disease, drought, or flood, you have prepared by acquiring appropriate knowledge and collection of tools to hopefully be able to cope successfully with whatever may come your way. In addition, you have established a network of expert support to aid you in your trials.

Bon Voyage! Once you’ve survived your test there is bound to be a well-earned party. If you consider all the things we have all passed through in the last few years it’s definitely time for a party!

About Ryvyn
Ryvyn has always had an interest in world religions and spirituality. Being raised LDS, she is now a Gardnerian initiate. She and her attorney husband, live with their dogs Luna and Ghost in Southside Virginia. She loves researching the paranormal, spiritual beliefs, psychopomp work and traditions surrounding death, dying, and burial practices. As well as studying nutrition, aging intelligently, traveling, and amateur bodybuilding. You can read more about the author here.

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