Imbolc Ritual: The Awakening of New Life


"the universe is counting on our belief

that faith is more powerful than fear

and in that the shifting moment

we’ll all remember why we’re here."


--from Awakening, by Naima of Climbing PoeTree


Image of daffodils in mid-winter surrounded by snow with title text

The Spring Equinox is a moment of perfect balance between day and night. We invite you to create your own Spring Equinox Ritual as a way to honor this threshold crossing in your own life leading you from one state of being into another. The energy of Spring is tantalizing, arousing, and beckons you to break free from the confines of winter's dormancy as you reach toward new horizons in the journey of your becoming. Orienting to this seasonal shift is a powerful way to reclaim your ancestral connection to radical joy and embodied aliveness.


In this blog post you will find:

  1. Introduction: A Personal Reflection

  2. What is the Spring Equinox?

  3. Wheel of the Year

  4. Nature's Collective Wisdom

  5. The Joy of Becoming

  6. Spring Equinox Ritual



INTRODUCTION: PERSONAL REFLECTION


Dear one, can you feel it? The quiet quivering and restless stirring beneath this thick blanket of snow? The weight of heavy eyelids slowly lifting as the lengthening light penetrates into the depths of darkness?


I feel it too... It's as if we're standing between worlds, with one foot in the clinging shade, knee-deep in the cold freeze of Winter, and another standing in the warm sun on thawing ground, with new little green shoots appearing for the first time. Imbolc is the season where opposites meet, where fire and ice co-mingle. Between the frozen stillness of the Winter's embrace and the coming thaw of Spring, Imbolc signals the quickening of life, buried deep within the earth.


I can sense this tension of opposites at play within my own life (and the collective) as I experience old parts of me (habits, behaviors, thought patterns) clinging on for dear life, wishing that I would stay in unconscious slumber or simply remain in what's familiar and comfortable. I'm noticing the need for rest and longer sleeping hours because less energy is available as a result of fewer daylight hours. And yet simultaneously, new aspects of self are emerging (as I have called them forth) along with opportunities to apply myself in fresh and exciting ways. Some of these things are already pushing at the edge of my comfort zone, requiring more energy for greater focus as I strengthen new neural pathways (embodiments, rhythms and routines).


Indeed life within and around me is quickening, but it is not yet so apparent externally as it is internally. We are like tiny seeds who have been germinating in the darkness of Winter and who are now stirring awake. We are outgrowing the confines of what once felt safe and comfortable. We are aching to break free and reaching toward new horizons to become who we must. The growing light - the Spring Maiden - calls us forth from our slumber, and answer we must. As our dear friend Hope Horton puts it...


"Imbolc tries our patience and our faith, that this too shall pass, that the Wheel is turning, and that our spirit will be green again. And to those of us who would rather continue dozing in the belly of the frozen ground, Imbolc brings a challenge to wake up and be ready for change which will come as surely as the earth moves around the sun."


We also refer to this day as Mid-Winter to bear in mind our many different beloved readers. Although we orient toward the Celtic tradition, it's important to note that Indigenous and folk cultures from around the world all share very similar earth-based orientations that are informed by the unique bioregions in which they arose. It's important to name these differentiations and to recognize that we aren't all having the same experiences. What is MOST important is that you are learning to attune and pay attention to the messages and wisdom arising from your own unique bioregion.


Those of us in the northern hemisphere are currently experiencing Winter. The intensity and duration of the Winter season will be informed by where in the northern hemisphere you're located and the different conditions influencing your bioregion. For example, here in the Piedmont bioregion of NC we generally experience a very mild and short Winter season. Friends in the mountains west of here will experience variation with slightly lower overall temperatures and more snow, though overall the Winter season in the mountains will be similar to here. On the other-hand, my family members who live in Ottawa, Canada experience very long Winters with enormous amounts of snowfall throughout the Winter season. For this reason what feels like the beginning of Spring here in the Piedmont of NC is more accurately experienced as Mid-Winter in the north.


Image of snow with grass poking through with Imbolc quote


NATURE'S WISDOM


"To everything there is a season,

a time for every purpose under the sun:

A time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to lose and a time to seek,

a time to rend and a time to sew,

a time to keep silent and a time to speak..."


- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Lamsa


And lest we forget the sacred in- between's. The lived experiences that don't necessarily belong to the categorical highs and lows or polar extremes, yet fill out and give shape to our daily lives. These are the moments that exist within the realm of the quiet mundane, where change is always afoot and yet often overlooked.


Nature teaches us through the turning of the wheel that change happens slowly, often imperceptibly, and that life is never quite as simple as it seems. Through the essence of Imbolc / Mid-Winter nature invites us to pay close attention to the magic unfolding in every moment and to deepen our presence to the here and now. As multidimensional we exist between worlds and are designed to hold and be with the complexity of what it means to be human. We can co-mingle and dance between fire and ice; we can know and simultaneously experience both sorrow and joy for the world, and that love gives rise to both.


Nature also reveals that the process of awakening is not for the faint of heart. It takes great courage (bravery of the heart) to meet life at the edge of our comfort zone which is how we expand and grow into new horizons. New beginnings require strong vision and focus and inevitably will bring an element of challenge and surprise - our faith and perseverance will be tested. So be ready. The journey of awakening can be both daunting and exhilarating all at once!


Orienting to nature's rhythms is a powerful way to reclaim your ancestral connection to this sacred time of the year. Mid-Winter can be made more meaningful by tracking your own fluctuations, inner tensions and moods, or by simply contemplating your relationship to change and new beginnings. This is a great time to practice standing between worlds - giving yourself permission to embody paradox, to shape-shift accordingly, to create space for ample rest while simultaneously sensing the inner stirring that's afoot. Embracing the seasonal energy and leaning into the invitations nature brings will really help you to THRIVE during this time.


As the sun returns and brings rebirth
I give my thanks to Mother Earth.
Embracing change, renewing hope,
the future seeds of light I sow.


WHAT IS IMBOLC?