February 1st is Imbolc
Do your ancestors come from Britain, Wales, England or Ireland?
We often collectively refer to these ancestral homelands, peoples and traditions as "Celtic".
Our ancestors (and all indigneous peoples everywhere) honoured the cycles of the earth and followed the moon & sun in their rhythms.
There are 2 sets of holidays, or holy-days that can be observed: solar + lunar.
(If your ancestral tradition is not Celtic or European, I'd love to hear about your seasonal cycle. Add your sharing to the comments below.)
Solar days align with what the sun is doing.
'Across-the-pond', and here in our Northern hemisphere, there are 4 solar alignments:
Lunar holy-days align with the cycles of the moon.
Again, there are 4:
I was taught that these holy-days actually fall in alignment with the cycle of the moon as She passes through the astrological signs of the zodiac--also identified as starry constellations in our night sky.
Have you ever looked at the signs of the zodiac organized on the wheel of the year?
Signs have opposites. Signs have elements: fire, earth, water, air. They also have a third designation: fixed, cardinal or mutable.
The four fixed signs sit directly across on the wheel: Taurus (earth) to Scorpio (a water sign), and Acquarius (air) to Leo (a fire sign).
We all know by our birthdays what time of the year the sun enters the constellation of a certain sign in the sky.
For example, I was born under Acquariushe sun journeys through that constellation from about January 21-February 21 (the timing is exact by hour so can vary by a day depending on the year).
Right now, the sun travelling through Acquarius.
The moon also cycles through the constellations/signs. But it moves quickly in it's cycle of 28/29 days, and so spends about 3 days in each sign.
There are lovely apps you can get on your phone now that will tell you where the moon is. (I use "the Moon" app)
Many women track their emotional ebbs and flows along with the journey of the moon through the signs, noting they may tend to a certain mood when the moon is in a given sign.
Biodynamic gardeners plant, water, harvest and tend their gardens according to these movements. For example, days when the moon is passing through an earth sign (Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo) are good days to put roots down, till, transplant.
When the moon enters the opposite sign of Acquarius (Leo), it is the exact alignment of Imbolc.
For Beltaine, sun in Taurus, moon in Scorpio.
For Lammas, sun in Leo, moon in Acquarius.
For Samhain, sun in Scorpio, moon in Taurus.
All very tidy, yes? When I learned this and went to track in on my calendar, I was amazed to see...these days always fall on a full moon! Check for yourself! Ah, nature, so organized and cyclical.
Not all pagans, wiccans, earth-honouring folk, druids, goddess-centred spiritual practitioners, choose to celebrate these lunar holy-days this way.
Many stick with the generalized dates of the 1st of the month. Some choose a phase of the moon that expresses more the mood of the season.
Samhain is inward, downward to the Otherworld, and some choose to align with the dark/new moon nearest to Nov 1.
Beltaine is full bloom and aligns beautifully with full-moon energy.
Imbolc is the whisper of the beginning, so the baby crescent moon, 1-3 days after dark/new is resonant.
Ah...here we are back to Imbolc.
I had the grace to work with a client as we enter the phase of nature that expresses Imbolc.
As we worked deeply in her family constellation around issues with her mother and being a mom herself, she was able to open to receive more nourishment from MOTHER.
Not surprisingly, when we went to do energy work on the table, the grain mother of Britain came present: Brigid. (Her mother's ancestors are from Britain).
Imbolc is the festival of Brigid. Crosses woven of grain are a traditional offering to her made for this festival.
Brigid has many attributes. In my tradition, we call her Brenacht and she is an aspect of fire. She is the aspect of fire that provides nourishment through food cooked at the hearth, and the other heart warming forms of family and tribal connection that happen around food and the hearth fire.
Her tree spirit is the birch, and to evoke her presence, one would feed birch wood to the fire (I find the birch in the British Isles is quite specific to this. I don't find our Canadian silver birch or yellow birch to be the same resonance. Perhaps there is a local goddess or grandmother spirit that "lives" in our local birch.)
Imbolc is the time of quickening...of the child in the womb, of new life in the earth. It is the first stirring of Spring. Brigid as divine mother, is also associated with the sacred task of midwifery.
Such peaceful, nourishing, blessed energies came through in the healing today as my client's ancestors sang to her through my voice.
Some simple ways to honour this lunar festival if your heart feels called?
Do you celebrate Imbolc? Are there other seasonal festivals you honour instead? Is there a goddess you connect with? Have you encountered this teaching before about lunar alignments? I'd love to hear your comments below...also for the other women here to receive...!