The first days of February mark a seasonal turn towards Spring for earth-based, Celtic spiritual practices and the celebration day of February 1 & 2 are named Imbolc. In Irish tradition this is also known as Saint Brigid’s Day and is still practiced today. It is also a religious holiday in the Catholic religion known as ‘Candlemas’, and we celebrate it in mainstream culture here in America as we check to see if the groundhog ‘Punxsutawney Phil’ sees his shadow or not. This year he has, which means another six weeks of winter.
It marks the midpoint of the ‘winter season’, a time to assess the winter food storage, as we are now half-way to the next harvest season, particularly for staple foods such as grains, potatoes, nuts and apples. It is also the time to plan for the planting season ahead, as many of us are already doing as we pour over the 2018 seed catalogs, imagining and planning for the bounty of the summer ahead.
To celebrate Imbolc we can make and light a beeswax candle, make or hang a Brigid’s Cross, go through our pantries and freezers to make best use of our summer and fall bounty, plant spring flowers or light a bonfire to mark the turning.
Here in the Pacific Northwest this is the time that nettle sprouts begin to push through the autumn leaves and emerge fresh and full of vitality, the Pacific chorus frog begins its song, hazelnut unfolds its tiny little bright pink flower and drops down it’s golden pollen laden catkin, swamp lantern unfolds in wet marshes, and Oso berry announces spring is here, beckoning back the courageous hummingbirds who arrive home from their winter journeys south.
I hope you all enjoy the unfolding of spring in the coming weeks and months, it is such a joy to behold each year…
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Photo by Chrissy Valluzzi
To learn more about Heidi Bohan and her work: http://www.heidibohan.com
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