Now is the time to energise our hopes and dreams for the coming year
taking our ancient and rightful place in the growth, creativity and self-actualisation of nature
The period January 31st to February 2nd has been celebrated as a time for "New Beginnings" for many thousands of years. Even today we can harness the power of (i.e. allow our inner spirit and energy to resonate with) the change in season which becomes manifest in this priod as a significant lengthening of the daylight period (in the northern hemisphere) and the first stirrings of spring and new growth. Birds, being highly sensitive to changes in daylength, herald the coming spring with their increasing romantic interest in each other and their escalating dawn chorus as they begin to claim and proclaim their territory for the approaching nesting period. They invite us to join with them in a rising tide of anticipation of creative projects and activities to come and the prospect of new, or renewed, relationships.
Mystics and sages throughout the ages have taught us that "intention" is the mother of "invention" - the thought is the parent of the deed. So now is an important time to clarify and purify and (re-) vitalise our hopes and dreams for the coming year - knowing that in doing this we will be taking our ancient and rightful place in the growth, unfolding potential and fruitfulness of nature, as the birds and animals, plants and seeds begin to awaken and to stir their inner potential for the period of aspiration, fulfilment and creativity that lies ahead.
Mindfulness & Meditation Events in UK: Imbolc Spring Renewal - Celtic Sacred Circle Dances & Chants
For our Celtic pagan ancestors (and for pagans today) this was the time of the festival of Imbolc (pronounced 'im'olk' also known as Oimelc) which comes from an Irish word thought to mean 'in the belly'. although others translate it as 'ewe's milk' (oi-melc).
As with the other pagan festivals, Imbolc was Christianised to become the Christian the feast of Candlemas, when candles are blessed and lit to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary after giving birth to Jesus. According to ancient Jewish tradition a woman is "impure" for a period after childbirth (also during and after menstruation) and must not be touched by a man.
In the USA, this time of year is known as Groundhog Day - when the little groundhogs start popping out of their holes! It gave rise to that remarkable and famous "deja-vu" romantic comedy film "Groundhog Day" [see UK & Europe Canada USA & International] starring Bill Murray
Imbolc / Candlemas / Groundhog Day are traditionally a time for hope and expectation, new life, purification and new beginnings. A time to cast off a natural human tendency towards "winter blues" and the "seasonal affective disorder" type of dperession.
Imbolc / Candlemas is also a time to celebrate "the Maiden" by all Her Many Names (including the Virgin Mary in the Christian tradition) embracing aspects of youth and virginity and representing the freshness of the new season emerging.
Rituals for this Season of Intentionality
Human beings are creatures of ritual - i.e. familiar physical activity patterns that tap into the deep "collective unconscious" resources that are our evolutiony heritage. Symbolic patterns which lower anxiety, connecting or reconnecting us to one another and to our forbears.
Many pagan groups celebrate Imbolc as a Festival of Lights, white or pale blue candles may be lit during the ritual and taken home to burn later, to promote a magical new beginning. It is a good time to make a personal rededication, reaffirming vows or making new ones. Christians also light candles and consider their own purification (letting go of what is no longer needed in our continuing unfolding life journey). New beginnings require "old endings" - clearing out "space" in our thoughts, attitudes, values, beliefs, living area and activities in order to make room for the New beginnings which we desire and envision.
Plant a seed in the ground or light a candle. As you do, ask the Universe or your personal God / Goddess for a growth or manifestation you desire in some aspect or personal quality in your life.
New Beginnings: Advice Books and Guides for Making a Fresh Start
UK & Europe Canada USA & International
(these constantly updated reading lists open in a new browser window)
Make a Fresh Start! - Spring Renewal: Change Your Life U.K. Workshops