Tuesday, January 22, 2013

With Imbolc on its Way

There are three candles that illume every darkness: Truth, Nature, and Knowlege. 
...May these candles light your life.

Irish Triad

This week we are about to face the coldest weather of the season.  Not looking forward to traveling in those 10 degree temps in the morning.  It seemed as if Winter was finally settling in. But, there was something else that caught my eye. The sky still had a hint of blueness to it, a deep, dark blue to be sure, but it was so much lighter at that time than it had been a month before. It means that Imbolc/Candlemas will soon be here.  Soon new animals will be born into the world. It's time to dig out all the candles and celebrate the returning of the light.

Imbolc marks the midpoint of winter, and although it may not feel like it,  the coming of spring. The days are getting longer, and while it may still be winter, changes are already taking place as evidenced by the Snowdrops and Tulips arriving in the 'Flower District'.  If it wasn't so cold, I would have snapped a picture. 

"Winter teaches us about detachment, numbness. But it’s a way to get through. From winter we learn silence and acceptance and the stillness thickens."

- Gail Barison, 'The Winter Solstice of my Soul' 

Unfortunately, this is also the time of the year that I am usually affected by SAD.  The gaiety of the holiday season has gone, and it seems that the gray days of Winter stretch out for as far as the eyes can see.  Consciously, I know that Spring will soon be here, but my subconscious becomes enmeshed in the darkness.  This year, though, I plan to stave off the doldrums by making Imbolc an extra-festive occasion.  

Imbolc celebrations center around light and purification. I've already begun purchasing extra candles to place throughout the house in honor of the returning sun.  A thorough cleansing and blessing of my home with Holy Water and sage is also in order.  And, while I am at it, Imbolc, aside from typically being a time of Spring cleaning, is also a time to clean the limiting thoughts out your life, think of new beginnings, plant the seeds in yourself to make things happen when spring comes, and start the season with a clean slate. Problem is, I still haven't thought of what I want to accomplish, and every time I think about it, my mind closes up and goes blank. But, that's the SAD that is trying to take hold, I know that, and awareness is the first sign of healing.  So, hopefully, by the time Imbolc arrives, I will have plenty of ideas on my plate.  

And last, but not least, there is a menu to develop. That is pretty easy, and I already have it in my mind. Traditional foods for Imbolc include all dairy products, foods made with seeds to symbolize growth, and eggs, lamb, pork, and poultry all representing  new birth. Bread puddings and greens are featured because they symbolize spring’s imminent arrival. So far, I plan on serving the following:

Cheddar Potato Soup with Brocolli
Irish Soda Bread
Tossed Salad 
Raisin Pudding

Even better yet, it falls on a Saturday.  I'll have the entire day to enjoy it.

"I stood beside a hill

Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature
That saw what I could see--
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me."
- Sara Teasdale, February Twilight


  1. Oh yes Mary
    it is very cold here as well
    dropping to -16 tonight.

    Try Vitamin D for the Sad.
    Some say it helps.

    Wishing you well sweet lady.

    hugs and love

  2. So long as you don't serve roast groundhog, you're fine.

  3. I love the Sara Teasdale poem! Living where we do in the frigid northern climate, Imbolc is definitely strictly symbolic. No signs of snowdrops popping up, or groundhogs appearing. But I do love the idea of Imbolc and the hope of Spring it represents.
    Take care, and be careful in the cold. We are so cold today with lots of snow on the way.

  4. "I stood and watched the evening star
    As long as it watched me.""

    I love that quote!!!!!!!

    Also love yours, that awareness is the first sign of healing. :-)


  5. I suffer from SAD too Mary and know how heavy it gets. Here in So. Cal we're experiencing 77 degree weather with sun which I know I should be grateful for but I get depressed when we don't get enough rain during the Winter. So, here's to both of us making it through Winter and a beautiful Imbolc.

  6. I always enjoy your posts, and especially the poems. Today was no exception.

  7. I can't wait for Imbolg! Just the perfect time too, this weather and darkness gets to me as well. But the nights are getting just a bit lighter!