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Wheel of the Year
Imbolc - 1st February



The Wheel of the Year goes back to a time when life was celebrated as a multidimensional interconnected web.  The Earth was respected and seen as a fertile life-force.

The Wheel of the Year begins and ends at Samhain (31st October- 1st November).


The wheel takes another turn, in the Northern hemisphere our next celebration is Imbolc. One of the four fire festivals.


It's been two years since my family and I decided we would celebrate all 8 sabbats of the Celtic Wheel of the Year.  It's something I've been interested in for a long time. I talk about it a little in this blog post I made, which also shows how we celebrated last year.  Having the family actively join in and anticipate the next celebration has been a wonderful experience.  It did mean that in our first year we had 8 Christmas style meals over the year! It’s exactly what we needed in 2021.  This year we will be taking a more simpler approach.


We began celebrating on Imbolc, not realising the wheel began and ended with Samhain.  If Samhain is akin to Sunset, Yule akin to Midwinter, Imbolc represents Sunrise.


The word Imbolc is thought to be of Irish origin and means ‘in the belly’.


Taking place on 1st February this year, Imbolc is nestled between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  A liminal place on the calendar.  We are still in the depths of Winter, but life is stirring beneath the surface.


It would have been a celebration of survival.  A time of fertility and cleansing. In the agricultural calendar the first lambs begin to be born, and farmers are hard at work making sure livestock are well.  A difficult time as the weather can be challenging. 


Imbolc is also known as Brigid’s Day, Brigid was an important pagan goddess. One of the triple goddess archetypes revered in Paganism.  The triple goddess represent the cycle of life, in nature, and our own.  The ebb and flow of death and new life, the cycle of the seasons, tides and moon phases.  The Maiden new life of Spring, Mother the fullness and abundance of Summer and Autumn, and Crone, the rest and wisdom of Winter.  Brigid is the maiden, representing new life, and cleansing, she sees over the move from Winter to the beginning of Summer.  The Crone or Cailleach, often represented by the goddess Ceriddwen, over sees Winter.  By Imbolc the Crone is ready for sleep and passes the torch on to Brigid.  Last year we made Brigid's cross as a part of our celebration.

Whether or not you believe in these goddesses, I think it’s a beautiful way of looking at our place in the world, in nature.  We are part of ‘Mother’ Nature, not separate from it.  

I recorded a story last year about Brigid and the Cailleach, you can find it here.


For this #seasonsketchers can you see those signs of new life?.  Even in the depths of Winter the deciduous trees will have their buds set ready to unfurl, the tree with catkins will be coming to life, the first leaf sprouts of bulbs and plants will begin to pop up.  Or is this time different for you where you live, is the Crone still holding onto Winter, not quite ready to rest just yet?

Do you celebrate any other events this time of year where you live, St. Brigid's Day, Candelmas, Ground Hog Day, Chinese New Year?  Or do you know of any local traditions that celebrate the change in the cycles of nature from Winter to Spring?

Would you like to know more about how you can use the Wheel of the Year and Nature Journaling to connect deeper with nature where you live?  Join my Patreon community, where I'll go deeper into using art and the wheel of the year as a way to connect with nature and the seasons. Click on the link here or image below to find out more.

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