It seems to me that in the worst of the moments that make up our struggles, there is an overwhelming answer that sometimes gets lost and that is to focus on the light. To seek it, despite being surrounded by murky uncertainty or continually challenged with struggle.
Imbolc. My little holiday that could. Hidden in the calendar like green grass under snow. Unassuming and quiet. Barely a whisper in the dark. I think of Imbolc both as a sleeping child gathering her strength and as someone more wise than any child would be. Perhaps she has the wisdom of the ages within her, given the wheel and its constant turning. Through some cosmic memory the child knows that she has been here before. She knows what to do and that it must be done.
She moves slowly, deliberately, taking much rest as she still needs it, hovering below the surface of the shadows, watching, feeling, silently drifting in and out of sleep and dreaming of the warmth and the light of her soul. And in her dreams she prepares that soul for life, because it is active dreaming as well, not just rest.
She is gathering what she will need because the light, while warm, brings her out of the safety of the shadows. For this she must be ready. She must be ready to free herself, feed herself, to grow and move and live. She must prepare to survive and most hopefully to thrive.
Imbolc is us as we change and are reborn. We’ve retreated into the darkness over and over, seeking refuge from the world. Seeking protection from the cold and shelter from the storms that rage above us. We lick our wounds and warm ourselves by the fire deep in the earth. We bury our dead and sometimes, sadly, we bury the dreams and hopes that were not to be. We weep and we even have moments where we feel as if we cannot go on and that it would make more sense to remain in the underworld of our own souls, safe, hidden…
And then, the light beckons and we look up. We can’t help it really and neither can Imbolc. It is within us to seek that light. To reach for it, claw through whatever it is that haunts us and make our way to the mouth of the cave, preparing to step into the world again.
May your body and your soul be rested from the Dark Season. May whatever scars you are tending begin to fade and may you hear your heart clearly on this sacred day. The light is there, faint but growing. Let it chase away the shadows of your soul and dry your tears. Lift your eyes to hope and be ready. Imbolc will carry you home.