How to find out what you are celebrating

12 Feb


Admit it – you have got at least one celebration in the wheel of the year you do not feel at home with. One that leaves you clueless. One you tend to skip when you’re under pressure. Or at least one where you feel like someone else when celebrating.


It’s not bad. We all have them. I swear.

Mine is Imbolc.

According to the lunar calendar and my own weird thoughts on balance, Imbold is to be celebrated during the waxing moon, preferrably next weekend (middle of the waxing period). And we all know what is written about it: The relationship with the first lambs of the year and “sheep’s milk”, the celebrations to honor Brighid in Ireland, straw crosses and blessing candles.

But what if these things are not as significant in your modern day life? I have never owned a sheep, nor do I have a close relationship with Brighid. I do not collect the candles I need through the year in advance, and straw crosses, in my mind, are more likely to be made when there is fresh straw available.

Many years I celebrated Imbolc because it was supposed to take place. Then it became one of the rituals I tended to skip – and the year felt unbalanced.

Now I am trying a different approach. For the last few days I have been asking myself, “What does this time of the year mean to me? What is coming next? What can I observe in nature? How is this time related to my plans? What does it make me feel like?”

Here, just for fun, are my thoughts on the topic: Winter is almost over, the light is already returning, but it is still cold outside – we have snow and ice – and the supplies we have gathered for the dark months (not food, at least not for me, but light, love and laughter, and memories of sunshine) are almost gone. It is a time where we can almost taste spring in the air, but there is no proof of its return. One day the air is warm, like a lover’s carress, and the next day it is back to freezing and harsh. But if we believe in spring’s return, this is also the time to prepare ourselves – make plans, start growing the first plants for our gardens (or in our case, balcony), put away the winter dreams. I feel the need to go outside, where I freeze my toes off, and then return to the sofa with my blanket, book and hot chocolate.

Based on these thoughts, I feel prepared to celebrate in an appropriate manner. And for those who are busy like me, I will also show a few ideas on how to celebrate the passing of the seasons outside of ritual.


10 Responses to “How to find out what you are celebrating”

  1. Gemmi Fuchsbau February 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    For years, Imbolc was an acknowledgement only, and I did things that my children could observe just of make sure they knew there was a midwinter holiday. I focused on the return of spring and the melting of the snow and ice by putting a bowl of greenery and snow on the table for the evening.

    The children no longer live here and the ideas of new birth and return to life have a different meaning for me in this stage of my life- but I’m glad I had at least a tiny pretty thing to build on at Imbolc.

    This year I went a little over the top and MADE a bowl of ice with holly frozen into it. There is a pic at Walk The Circle blog of the bowl setup.

    PS: I love the snowdrops in your photo, they are slender and very different from the ones we have here!

    • diandralinnemann February 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      The picture was taken by Richard, he is a gifted photographer. Right now I am trying to force him to make more time for this particular hobby – his pictures play an important role in my decorating scheme. ^^

      Last year I made ice lanterns as well (a bowl of ice with a candle inside). Don’t know whether it is still cold enough right now, but I might try…

  2. georgina aka greekwitch February 13, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Hey honey. If i did n’t connect strongly with Brighid Imbolc would be mine too! But, she is one of my favorite Goddesses of all times! It would be mine too because i can hardly stay remotely positive durting this time of the year. I just count the days to Spring. I hate everything about the cold. I am totally and completely in a hibernating mode. When the weather gets bad again after a good day i feel almost betrayed.
    Ps. do you remember a little while ago reading a book on curses. I am interested in it, can you give me a title?
    Love and hugs!

    • diandralinnemann February 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

      The book is “Utterly Wicked” by Dorothy Morrison. Very useful and hilarious to read!

  3. Magaly Guerrero February 14, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    I’ve always seen The Return of the Light as a reminder that the Spring Equinox is on its way. Never really ‘felt’ it on its own ­čśë

    • diandralinnemann February 14, 2013 at 7:38 am #

      I guess sometimes we first have to find out what we are supposed to feel – what kind of celebration it truly is for us. And some celebrations are simply not for us – like (in my case) Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

  4. Liathano February 14, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    Mit Schafen hatte ich auch nie viel am Hut, aber Imbolc ist meist die ungef├Ąhre Zeit, wo die H├╝hner wieder beginnen, Eier zu legen. Au├čerdem kann man schonmal Pflanzen vorziehen/vorbereiten, die dann rauskommen, wenn der letzte Frost endg├╝ltig (hoffentlich) weg ist. Das hat f├╝r mich beides auch viel mit dieser “Im Bauch”-Bedeutung von Imbolc zu tun. Und in meinem Leben schleicht sich um diese Zeit auch immer so viel neues Wachstum ein.

    Ich kann ├╝brigens nicht so viel mit Litha anfangen. Vielleicht aber auch, weil ich generell nicht sooo der Sommermensch bin. ­čÖé

    • diandralinnemann February 14, 2013 at 7:35 am #

      Mit den Pflanzen wollte ich jetzt auch bald anfangen. Tomaten vorziehen, die Balkonk├Ąsten vorbereiten, Saat ausw├Ąhlen und so. Ich bin schon ganz kribbelig. ^^

  5. jonquil February 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    I feel Spring returning, with Imbolc. With Spring comes back the Sun. So I light candles, smile, play happy music, finalize seed purchases.

    • diandralinnemann February 14, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      For me, Imbolc is definitely pre-spring. It’s lighter outside, but usually we stil have about 1.5 months of winter ahead of us – winter is only halfway over at this time. Although we can already see the first signs…

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