I remember, many years ago, one cold February evening, standing in a darkening parking lot with the man who would be my husband.
The day had been gray; the dusk was colorless. Old snow lay flat on the ground and the pavement was crusted with salt.
It should have been the most ugly of winter evenings, one of many that seemed to stretch out in an endless line of cold and dark and an inability to even remember what it felt like to be warm. Yet when I looked straight into the bitter wind and snowflakes sweeping out of the west, I could see a moment of the palest pink as the sun set.
And I knew that winter wouldn’t last forever and that spring would come again.
I felt a pull, a change, an excitement.
Yes, I was on the verge of falling in love. Or, more specifically, on the verge of noticing that I was already in love.
But it was more than that.
It was February first, the holiday Witches call Imbolc.
It is the day that we celebrate the loosing of Winter’s grip on our lives. It is the beginning of the season of Spring.
Sometimes called Candlemas, or Brighid’s Day, in honor of the Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess; in Catholic Ireland, it is Saint Brigit’s Day, as the Irish celebrate their second favorite saint. In America, on February second, we have Groundhog’s Day and we all wait anxiously for our favorite groundhog to tell us whether or not we will have six more weeks of winter.
We know that the cold days and the snowy days are far from over; before grocery stores, we knew that the hungry days were far from over. But we also know that spring is coming.
The days are noticeably longer and, if you listen closely, you can hear the first whisperings of spring. Even as I write this, a few brave snowdrops are gracing my garden.
We will probably go for a walk in the woods and look for signs of Spring… or at least go out and enjoy the snow. We will clean the house… Imbolc is a time for renewal and rebirth… or at least dusting and packing up some of the kids’ outgrown clothes to give to the cousins.
We will turn on all the lights in the house—just for a few minutes—and light candles to represent the returning of light and the warmth.
Many Witches, in slightly warmer climates, will plant the first of their indoor seeds; we will finalize our garden plans and buy our seeds.
Imbolc may be my favorite time of the year. It is a time of hope and new beginnings where anything is possible… as it was in that cold parking lot so many years ago.
Many, many thanks to Marybeth Bradbury for allowing me to use her digital painting in this post. Please visit Embee Studio to see more of her amazing work!!!
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