Friday, February 1, 2013
Happy February! Blessed Imbolc!
"Imbolc" comes from Old Irish meaning "in the belly" and also harks to an old Anglo-Saxon work "oimelc" meaning "ewe's milk, so it is associated with pregnancy and nursing. For me, it is all about faith in better times to come.
We've not had that much of a winter here in Maryland, although today the temperature is biting cold with a dusting of snow on the ground. And below the snow is the ground, and below the ground, seeds are preparing to germinate. On bare branches, buds are soon to sprout. Imbolc is pregnant with possibility and trust that it will soon not be so cold or so dark.
Imbolc's Christian counterpart is Candlemas - time to make candles for religious use! I imagine it was a good time to make candles at home as well, as the stock one had would have been getting rather slim this late into winter. I also recently read that Candlemas marked the time when the sun rose early enough for nuns and monks to go to their first morning prayers without needing to light a candle to see their way there.
The holiday is connected to Brigid - who is both a Celtic goddess and a Christian saint, devoted in both traditions to hearthfire, smithing, creativity, poetry, and healing.
A couple year's ago, I offered a little Brigid's Cross freebie cross-stitch pattern - if you're so inclined, please feel free to take it, and leave a comment should you stitch it up!
Here in the states, we observe Imbolc in secular fashion as Groundhog's Day, by doing a bit of weather prediction with a wry American-style sense of humor. If the groundhog sees his shadow, why, there'll be six more weeks of winter! Yep - worst case scenario, and winter will end, right as scheduled, on Mar. 21. Wink, wink.
My intentions this year are to pour a couple simple container candles, to welcome the returning light, and to serve up a special meal tomorrow, including some corned beef and a good custard for dessert. Some time spent pursuing creative past-times, perhaps to do a bit of writing, are all good ways to quietly note the slow shift of the seasons and to set a few goals for the year for how to keep my own fires burning brightly
My goals include these:
1. To do a bit more each day, as my body continues to improve following my RA flare - but to also practice 'reading' my symptoms so that I don't overdue. I was in such a bad place for such a long time, that I lost that skill. February, especially, is for RECOVERY.
2. To cross stitch! I don't know how much or how little - I've signed up for a few SALs to keep it fun and sociable, but I want to stitch a bit every day even if it's laying in just a couple crosses.
3. To explore a few new crafts and avenues for creativity.
4. To begin work in earnest on my ADF Dedicant Path work.