Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Imbolc: Groundhog Day to the nth Power!

February 2nd goes by many guises. In the U.S., it's popularly celebrated as Groundhog Day, when a small furry rodent supposedly either sees his shadow or doesn't, and the result determines whether we experience six more weeks of winter. The day has far deeper meanings than this — but yes, it is a potent moment to watch your shadow!

Celebrated cross-culturally, the day is both a Christian and Pagan holiday, known variously as Imbolc, St. Brigid's Day (Bride's Day), and Candlemas.

In Celtic and Earth-based traditions, Imbolc ("in the belly") is one of the most powerful portals on the ancient Wheel of the Year: the exact midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.

A harbinger of Spring, Imbolc celebrates the return of the Light in a profound sense. It's the first "cross-quarter day" on the Wheel of the Year, which honors the two Equinoxes and Solstices, as well as Beltane (May 1st), Lammas (August 1st), and Samhain (October 31st).

At Imbolc (Candlemas in Christianity), the energies begin to pulse with renewed life and hope. Fire festivals are common. Vicki Noble, co-creator of the Motherpeace Tarot and author of Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World, which affected me profoundly during my own awakening, writes, "Traditionally a time of transformation and initiation, Imbolc brings 'big dreams' and a raised vibration …

"With powerful Pluto in the physical sign of Capricorn (until 2024), we look forward to momentous planetary and personal change. As old structures crumble, inside and all around us, imagine yourself sitting safely inside of Kali's dance of liberation."

In 2011, ten planets and asteroids congregate around the Moon and Sun conjunct Mars, portending a profound surge of alchemical fire power to ignite our dreams.

What most astonished me was discovering that St. Brigid (in the Irish tradition) is the Patroness of Midwives. Since my birthday is February 4th and I've long referred to myself as a midwife for our global rebirth, it was a clarifying reminder of "what we know, before we know that we know!"

Enjoy this poem by Dawn Callan, which symbolizes and summarizes this moment eloquently:

Some By Fire

~ Dawn Callan
from Awakening the Warrior Within

Like a Phoenix from the embers
Ashes to ashes
Burning, burning
Some by fire
Some by water
Until we remember returning.

Some by the arts of the necromancer
Some by the sword
Some in the trance of the Sufi dancer
Some by the word.

Prodigal daughter
Walks the Warrior's path
Some by water
Some by tempting God to laugh.

Woman's body
Warrior's soul
Dance the ancient rite
Free the dragons of desire
Into the Light
Some by fire.

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