Imbolc has always been a guidepost to me. Not only does the day herald the half-way point of winter (Yay, Spring!) and honor Brigid (who I am devoted to), but it is also a time for reset after the many moods of January. January usually starts out with excitement, resolutions and plans, and then it somehow seems to go off the rails in a few weeks. Not just me, for many people, it seems. And to be fair, in the year 2021, the entire world has seemed off the rails, as we move onward in a pandemic and adjusting to a new President of the United States.
So as we face Imbolc this year, I feel that this celebration has more depth and meaning than ever before. Celebrating Brigid on her day is a highlight in my year, and I look forward to all the little rituals I perform, along with the happiness at the thought of warmer days ahead. This time, though, there is more to this anticipatory feeling. More interest in deeply planting seeds in a more fertile world, one that is not distracted by daily trauma from the White House. Not that a new President solves everything, and there is still much work to be done. but to pause at Imbolc and consider the possibilities? It is a priceless feeling. It is a sense of renewal, that now the holidays and political hullaballoo are over, we can focus on the work.
The word work can make us sigh, because we can associate it with the drudgery of the effort, the doing and the working. Flip that concept instead to the bone-deep satisfaction you feel of a job well done. Is the work more appealing now? What work are you being called to do? The focus and associations of Brigid can inspire you to work on areas of your life that are important to you, so below, as an example, are a few areas that I plan to work on, with hopes that it inspires you as you prepare to celebrate Imbolc.
Home and hearth have become even more important to me in these pandemic times. It is safety and refuge, a place to be truly myself, and a place to share my love with others in my household. Renewal for Imbolc will include a focus on more de-cluttering, deepening my relationship with the land and its inhabitants, and centering the keeping of hearth and home. Plans include work in the garden, clearing out junk drawers and closets, and paring down possessions to only what we truly need. A renewal to tend my hearth in honor of Brigid.
Brigid is considered the goddess of poetry, and the core of poetry is words. Not only the written word, as in reading more books, but also working on my craft (of writing), to communicate more effectively, and to express myself more freely and openly. Words that are authentic and meaningful, and not throwaway platitudes. Spiritual words borne out of heartfelt sentiment, and not a sense of obligation. A renewal to pause and consider my words before they leave my mouth, pen, and keyboard.
There are so many mornings where I start my days in a muddle, not really clear about what’s ahead, other than the sign posts of “things to do”. The days I start with gratitude and spend time with Brigid, my ancestors, and other deities, flow much more easily. I crave that flow, yet sometimes I run completely away from it. Why? Because, honestly, it seems like so much work. There are times I’d rather stumble through what needs to be done next, and be completely lazy. There are days like this, and I acknowledge and accept them. Imbolc is such a hefty reminder of my spiritual core, and my devotion to Brigid. Following her has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and it serves me better to remember and honor that. Spirituality is so much more than lighting candles, and spending time at my altar. It is also about honoring myself as a vessel of my spirituality. Taking care of my needs, and treating myself better are all acts of self-love, not indulgence. To honor Brigid, I need to be the best I can be, so the best way to begin is by forgiving myself for my usual slothful ways, and to slowly and steadily to build on my relationship with her and my other deities. Gratitude, time spent in spiritual contemplation, prayer, offerings, and whatever else bubbles up as this journey progresses. A renewal to honor Brigid, truly honoring myself as an act of spirituality.
Brigid is also the Goddess of beer and beer-making, and while I did think briefly of adding even more beer to my life, I thought instead to honor the celebratory nature of that beverage! Imbolc can be a reminder to celebrate, and to honor the craft of creating, whether it be making beer or other things. During the pandemic, I have cooked and baked more than I ever have in my life, and for that I am grateful. Not only foods, but also natural herbal remedies, and other homemade supplies, whereas I would previously go out and buy them instead. Imbolc inspires me towards learning even more techniques and ways to add to my toolkit of knowledge, which is not only celebratory, but also a way to to honor of Brigid, I know it will add resonance to daily life. A renewal to celebrate more, and to honor Brigid in celebrations (in addition to Imbolc).
How are you celebrating Imbolc this year? It will look and feel different during this pandemic, no doubt. Yet there is a feeling underneath the anticipation, a sense of something pulsing through the days. Like the snow drops that pop up through the earth, that feeling is starting to pop through our daily endeavors. I think we can call it hope.