Yielding time

It’s Imbolc and my garden is yielding flint. Rock is floating, resting on the soil that is sighing with its first breath… this time, so much is resting on the small signs. Life is here, it is happening and taking shape. That flint, heavy and cool in hand, is seeking the light. Flint, out of which we make weapons, with which we build shelters, by which we summon fire; is rising.

This moment, this year is like no other I remember, I have always hungrily awaited the brave blossoms and sweet tubers, succulent and vulnerable… And yet, I am harvesting flint. Strength, indomitability, promise that that which is emerging from the deepest part of our earth, ourselves, will be seen, will lend its gifts to the season of promise and of new beginnings. The darkness of deepest winter is behind us, despair and folding in, chaos in the dark. It is from this slumbering time which we must rise, upward, always focused on the Light. Resolute and propelled by the dark and secret earth, we move in trust. Faith informs action, ignited by the awareness that we must move forward; there is no going back. Though our creations are as yet undetermined, they are our own and we have an opportunity to shape our future.

Brigid is Mistress of the Forge and so she calls us to forge anew, to create a way of healing and new life. We live in uncertain times and life is demanding our presence, not as passive onlookers but as participants. The urge for new life is quickening and we have choices to make, weighty ones. What will we dedicate our energies to? What will we fashion from these gifts of earth and fire? imbolc-flint

Imbolc – Exquisite Paradox

snowdrop shootsThe days are DEFINITELY longer and the earth is just beginning to emit her irresistible fragrance, JUST. Snow drops are appearing and gardeners’ fingers are itching and turning to trays of seedling hope in anticipation of a warming soil and softening in the fields. On this sunny day I look around and see evidence of the sun’s fire drawing forth the abundance of a sleeping earth. Hope surfaces, tentatively, tenderly. It is truly an exquisite time of year and in ourselves, new-born time.

All this fiery energy holds us in its thrall because of it’s juxtaposition to the vulnerability of newly emerging life. This is animal time, where an appetite for life is making itself felt in our deepest selves. Raw, not wholly formed; wet with the fluids of previous hidden existence, we are being called to show ourselves. We are invited by Nature herself to rise in consciousness and make a bid for life.

Commitment time, Imbolc is a dedication and initiation festival. Making a commitment is a radical act of courage and of hope. It must be tended with care, protection and loving nurture; a dangerous undertaking, worthy and requiring support. Commitment has had a bit of a bad rap in the past, alluding to constraint, bonds and limitations and yet it provides the vessel from which to grow, a stable and faithful promise to protect new life, nurture it and bear witness to its unique creations.

Brigid, the Goddess of Poetry, Smith-craft and Healing sings the heart’s song, creates the containment of a manifest vessel and heals the wounds found on the path of emergence. Feel the fire and tend your vessel with loving kindness, there is a promise of oh-so-sweet bud and flower and fruit for the faithful.

Dedication and Fire

It’s Imbolc again. Every time the wheel turns I feel a deep sense of the familiar; the time of year, the inevitable reflection upon all that has transpired between this time of year and last, the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with all that this Festival is about; Fire, New Beginnings, Creativity, Poetry, Smith craft and Healing.

Thankfully the Fire has returned!

I am reminded of yet another traditional theme of this Esbat. Imbolc, as one of the cross-quarters of the Celtic calendar, is also traditionally understood to be a time of consecration and dedication. It is a time to initiate new projects and ‘seed through action’ that which we seek to manifest in the coming cycle. It’s time for blessing and acknowledging our tools, whether they be spade and hoe, pen and paper or hammer and forge. The burgeoning of Spring is, in fact, everywhere; Snowdrops are in full fledge, buds are budding. It’s so easy to see the life force rising in nature, but what of this thing called Dedication? Consecration?

This year, in anticipation of the celebration, I have been casting about looking for what it is that needs to be consecrated in my world. I have been made aware, in the past few weeks, of quite how deep and dark and turbulent the winter has been, more perhaps, a description of my inner landscape than without. Uncertainty, isolation, impatience for new growth and signs of life; the very real cold has never been far from my door. It dawned on me today that rather than a tool or a ‘thing’ it is I who needs, indeed yearns for that consecration; it is I, that rising from the cold dark time of winter past, needs to honour the fire within and burn-off the doubts, fears and anxieties that have taken hold. It is I, that seeks re-dedication; to hope, to life and to trust. In the past I have been able to relate to and embrace the poetic, the healing aspects of Brigid’s Feast Day. This year I am learning about the hammer and the forge, not through the smithy but rather through the furnace of life. It is I upon the forge, it is I swinging the hammer but it is the Goddess in the Fire.

And so, I shall begin again, remembering that I have everything I need for the creation of new life. These next weeks will not be a time for complacency, these tender shoots will require constant tending and protection. But for now, for today, I dedicate myself anew to trust, hope and an abiding sense of connection to all of creation.

After all, Spring IS on it’s way!Imbolc fire