Monday 1 February 2021

My Thoughts on Imbolc Past, Present and Future

Six years ago, I wrote this on a social media page: "Just got back from a druid ritual at Hilly Fields stone circle. Haz hot water bottle to thaw the icicles that are my legs." 

I'd been at a beautiful rite with a group of friends, but it was incredibly cold up on that hill in South East London. back in the before times I used to love taking part in Wheel of the Year celebrations in various parks, woods and other outdoor locations with a lovely circle of friends in an OBOD seedgroup. Imbolc was usually the coldest. 

The first time I did an outdoor Imbolc ritual, I didn't expect it to be that cold here in southern England. We are supposed to be seeing the first signs of spring. They are there: snowdrops in flower and other early bulbs emerging out of the ground; daylight hours getting longer; birds starting to search for suitable sites to nest. But February can be just as cold as January. Nevertheless, as a pagan, I think it's important to try to get outside - or at least open the window and look outside - to see what's really happening in nature each month. 

Imbolc can also be a time to romantically think back to life in the past, when most people were involved with agriculture including the lambing season, but as a 21st century urban pagan I like to recognise what's relevant in modern lives too. We might not be helping ewes give birth, but we can start working on any new projects we want to see the light of day this year. Personally, I find it a good time to get creative with writing, crafting and doing anything artistic. Those are things that can be done indoors, so ideal for those who are unable out and about or who don't like getting frozen.

I suspect many people this year are celebrating Imbolc at home on their own. Meeting up with friends is certainly not advisable or permitted in my part of the world right now. Today I'll be lighting a candle and making a springtime wish as part of a solitary ritual, and I will be asking for inspiration for a new book I'm writing. Whatever you wish for, I hope it is granted. As for Imbolc in future years, I certainly hope that at some time I will be able to climb that hill to the stone circle and celebrate outdoors with my druid friends, however cold the weather.

On Friday I'll be giving a Facebook Live talk on Magic for the Month of February. I've blogged with more details about that here:

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