Reposting: “Imbolc: In which Walhydra admits that she does harbor a smidge of hope”

On Monday, January 29, 2007, I published this essay on my old Walhydra’s Porch blog. Coming out of the darkness of this particularly dark winter, I feel like it’s worth sharing again. (See Gather Victoria’s post, “Feast of Light: Reviving the Magical Foods of Imbolc,” for a new piece on the festival.)

By now the gentle reader knows what an unrepentant grouch Walhydra wants everyone to think she is…but there’s an odd little Celtic cross-quarter sabbat which always manages to get her feeling like, well, maybe all is not lost.

Crocus peeking through snowIt’s called, variously, Imbolc, the Feast Day of Brigit (with various spellings), Candlemas, Groundhog Day, etc., etc., etc.

Rather than filter the information through her own murky lenses, though, she has decided to point her friends directly to some of her favorite online sources.

[Note: The originally cited pages are gone, so here are some new ones: Newgrange.com, Wicca.com, Goddessandgreenman.co.uk, Whitegoddess.co.uk.]

But…the piece which moves her the most comes from Sara Sutterfield Winn’s blog, Pagan Godspell [now, sadly, defunct].

Here’s the passage which got Walhydra excited:

Imbolc is a time of quickening—the flexing and stretching of the sleepy Land as it stirs slowly awake, letting out a cold breath or two, murmuring and sighing—a seed of light in the dark. The Festival of Lights—a branch decorated with lit candles.

After the explosive gorgeous moment with the sun cracks over the horizon on the Solstice, everything seems to fall into a lazy, somnolent torpor during January—exhausted from the frenzy of Misrule, of feasting and partying and dancing and giving gifts.

But the Land stirs nonetheless, and as February approaches I am ready to embrace Newness and the fresh promise of spring, even if it seems remarkable distant as we sit beneath layer after layer of cold snow.

This gives Walhydra shivers—in the nicest sort of way.


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