Last night my community of friends celebrated Imbolc. It’s an old gaelic celebration. Traditionally held around the first of February, it’s the midway point between the Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox. Winter Solstice is the longest night, Vernal Equinox is the start of Spring. At Imbolc we get ready for the coming growth of the year and sweep out all the negativity. In gardening terms, it’s the time of year when one clears away the old growth, the dead branches, and prepares the soil for seeds in the Springtime.
We stood outside for a very long time. My feet hurt so badly. All the more motivation to take off the weight. I would shuffle from foot to foot, and finally resorted to almost a marching in place. One of our artist friends has a broom handle he’s made, and keeps from year to year. At Imbolc he fashions new bristles for it- be it straw or paper or what have you. As a symbol of sweeping out the old dirt, the old negativity, the old fears; we are “swept”. After everyone in the circle is swept, the broom’s bristles are lit in the small bonfire. Symbolically, the things that are holding you back from growing are burned away.
I don’t attend every year, and this year was cold! But it was important for me to use this time to mentally set my intentions and goals for the coming year.