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Imbolc and the Weather

February 2, 2023

February 2 has dawned bright, sunny, and cold here in New Jersey. I don’t know what that little groundhog is doing, but according to legend, the Celtic goddess, the Cailleach, is out looking for firewood. Apparently she makes sure it’s sunny on Imbolc if she wants the winter to continue longer so that she can get herself enough firewood to make it through the cold days ahead. If the weather is crappy, then she’s sleeping and winter’s end is within sight.

Walking around my neighborhood, I see the magnolia trees budding, so apparently they haven’t had a conversation with the Cailleach about when spring will actually be here. Maybe it’s because they are typically Southern trees, and the Cailleach inhabits the cold northern mountains. She is literally the bones of the earth.

Imbolc is the first fertility festival of the solar year, and for avid gardeners, a time to be starting veggie and fruit seeds indoors for later transplanting outdoors. If you plan to have a garden this summer, the Garden Club of New Jersey recommends ordering seeds in February before they run out. The club also recommends pruning winter-damaged bushes at this time. Our ancient ancestors would have been welcoming new animal babies and thinking about spring sowing at this time of the year.

If you aren’t raising baby lambs or sowing your fields, which I believe applies to most of us in the NJ pagan community, then considering the agricultural imperatives as a metaphor in your life may be the best way to celebrate this solar holiday:

  • What are the “seeds” or new projects you want to start in the warmer weather?
  • What are the things you are “pruning” or letting go of to make it possible for those new projects to flourish?
  • What are you “feeding” or giving energy to that you want to grow this year?

Another aspect of Imbolc is purification, especially by fire. Burning away the old in sympathetic magick is one ritual. Welcoming back the light as the days get longer with candles or bonfires is another way to celebrate this time of year. How about some spring cleaning as a ritual of purification, donating what you no longer need to make room for what is being born? Or you could take a ritual bath and drink some nettle tea to purify yourself and get ready for the busier days ahead, as the light slowly returns and warms up the earth.

Much love and many blessings to you!

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