Festival words: Imbolc

“Dedication for growth, for release and expansion.”

One thing that most people all know about this time of year and therefore associate with the Festival of Imbolc, is that it signifies the start of spring.

Without the need of a festival to mark the moment, we are all actively looking for signs that a period of growth is visible in nature and in the landscape. I look for those green shoots emerging from beneath the soil and when they are seen and even more so when the first blossom and blooms begin to appear; I use these visual moments to breathe, a collective sign of relief. The indication that there is an approaching shift in ourselves that we can expect and that nature anticipates.

What is beginning to emerge comes through that soil. The very soil that in the season of winter we have been working on and preparing. Our activity of looking inwards and giving focus on our equivalent of the soil, in preparing all that we will need of our resources, is now beginning to be seen. What seeds we set, become visible in the smallest, youngest and most vulnerable form. It is this start of being really seen, that emerges, as all begins to emerge that defines this moment. A moment that we need to own and stand in our strength. 

There is a way to go but we note that one period of growth is completing and another is taking over and we rejoice to see the shift from the inner work to work of outer and growth, that we will continue to manifest as the season change and the wheel turns.

Overall we get a sense as people of joy, of awakening. Like Persephone emerging from the underworld, we emerge and are seen in our new and refreshed form from our winters retreat.

It is this being seen that also defines this moment in the year. We can celebrate the return of spring as we do each season. However, it also indicates that we must ourselves step up and claim what we want for the seasons yet to come.

Without a clear and set intention, we cannot make the best of what we are offered. Part of that work throughout November, December and January has been to prepare ourselves for this dedication point. Significantly, it arrives on the very first day of the new season. There is no space given to us to continue in one mind set but immediately we are asked to pronounce what we want, what we will work on and what we want to manifest.

This is why this time is also called the Festival of Dedication. 

It is at this point that we declare our intentions and make those declarations in a way that marks our commitment. Be that as a ritual, working with trees or mediations, we all find our own means of creating a sacred space that acts as a container for our commitment.

This is importune not only because it helps to provide focus for our year but this season and February in particular, provides us with the support to release things we no longer need in our lives and that are no longer of value for our journey ahead. 

When we have a clear dedication, then it is a profound point to review and to release what no longer serves. We all carry things that actually are not for our highest good. It is a constant theme through out the year, that we are given the opportunity, now, to feel again and see again what no longer serves.

In modern times this has always been symbolised in the idea of “spring cleaning”. We busy ourselves in our homes and work spaces, making space for the new and renewing what was present but we now feel tired of.

When you feel this rising tide, note and work with the energy of it but leave space for yourself and take the same time to cleanse and renew yourself to emerge with the clarity you need to move forward. This is the best mantra to hold in this time. What clarity do I need to move forward?

These are testing times as we shift and develop those dedications until they fit and they are tested to make sure they really are what we need and what we want. Imbolc is the start of this process rather than a one stop moment. Make your dedications now and then watch how they may evolve as you feel into what you say you want.

Does it still feel comfortable or have you the need to adjust and refocus it. In the releasing of what no longer serves or negative patterns does this change your feelings towards what you dedicated?

There is a further reason why we are asked to dedicate right at the shift point. This is a period where we work with expansion. It is important that we embrace this point and do so without fear. To fully embrace all the potential that expansion has to offer you have to be present in the moment, this current place in the wheel of the year. 

If we are still lingering in the inner work, reluctant to move on or fearful of what may come then we limit the expansion potential of our own selves. When we refer to releasing during this next month then the idea of release continues from January. We must release our time in the inner world or like Persephone, her time in the underworld, physical change comes with acceptance. 

I notice that in each of these major shift points in the seasons, the festival starts at the beginning of the month. It provides the perfect moment to embrace the new and to release the previous. This is not the old or whats not required, this is the release of the ending of one phase and that unlike the season which evolve needs to happen quickly and succinctly.

Prior to the ceremony, ritual or celebration, we are in one state and as part of these rituals we move ourselves into a new state and with authority leave behind what has been and embrace what is to come. This is the reason why they are so important in our working of the wheel of the year and with the rhythm of the land. They give us a formal way to change and a boundary and therefore a focus to the work contained within that season.

Blur these boundaries and you begin to remove yourself from the natural rhythm of the year and the natural support that being in tune gives you. Hold yourself in one time because you fear or lack trust that you are ready to move and you hold back all that potential and all that expansion that these next months have to offer.

Embrace it and flourish.