Imbolc: Rekindling hope in deep winter

High holidays that are spaced fairly evenly throughout the year seem to appear just when you need them the most. I love all the holidays in the pagan wheel of the year, but Imbolc holds a special place in my heart.

Imbolc is celebrated on February first and marks the midpoint between the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) and the spring equinox, when day and night are of equal length. The arrival of Imbolc reminds me that no matter how cold and quiet it is outside, we are halfway to the start of spring.

For our ancestors, the time around Imbolc was the rekindling of hope for the growing season to come. The word Imbolc comes to us from old Gaelic: i mbolc, meaning β€œin the belly.” It is thought to reference the pregnancy of ewes. Lambs are some of the first babies to be born in springtime. The swelling bellies of the pregnant ewes were cause for celebration β€” winter was on the way out, and milk was available once more, a vital source of calories at that time. Hope was growing deep in the heart of winter. Continue reading…

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