Imbolc & Winter
Today is Imbolc, one of the Greater Sabbats for Wiccans and some pagans. It’s an old festival that generally celebrates the coming of spring, and is now often associated with the Celtic goddess Brigid, goddess of healing, fire, the hearth, poetry, and inspiration. She is the Keeper of the Sacred Flame, and guardian of the home and hearth.
In most of parts of Canada, the beginning of February is the dead of winter, often dark, cold, and icy. Imbolc is usually celebrated with fire, to usher out winter and pull in spring. See the gorgeous pictures below of the 2012 Imbolc celebration in Huddersfield, England:
Personally though (and this is Jamie speaking), I like winter. I like summer as well, and accept that both seasons are important and necessary for the health of the land we live on. I consider the Winter Solstice in December a time to celebrate light and fire, and the Sabbat after Imbolc, the Spring Equinox, is a time to celebrate new life and fertility. Imbolc, then, is a time I focus on the quiet, introspective aspects of winter, and fire as inspiration.
Bears are a common theme in my dreams and my life in general, and they seem particularly appropriate for this season. Though they don’t truly hibernate, black bears and grizzly bears, after fattening up in the summer and autumn, spend this time of year sleeping (often deep in caves). We can take this as an example for ourselves: after fruitful and busy summers (and Christmas seasons), we can take this quiet time for ourselves: to reflect, to look after ourselves, and to dream of new creative projects.
(Imbolc pictures from here)