Creative Sparks

Welcome, Imbolc!

by | Feb 1, 2017 | Creative Sparks

In this issue of Creative Sparks, I share with you about the ancient Celtic tradition of Imbolc.

Imbolc is a time of celebrating creativity, poetry, new life, and the eternal flames within us and around us. I hope to help you kindle those flames in yourself as you read about Imbolc.

An Ancient Tradition

Celtic Cross by Adrian MoranImbolc is an ancient Celtic seasonal festival that appears to have been celebrated since Neolithic times, over 12,000 years at least!

Celebrated on February 1 or 2nd, it marks the mid-point (roughly) between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and was considered to herald the first spark of Spring in the depths of Winter.

The Goddess Brigid

Girl with flowers by Sarah Mak

photo by Sarah Mak

Imbolc honors the goddess Brigid, “the goddess whom poets adored,” muse and protector of poet-seers.

She is also a goddess of fertility, childbirth, healing and smithcraft.

Brigid is associated with the hearth at the center of both home and community. Sacred, eternal flames are tended in her honor. She is also connected with the alchemical fires of change, as well as with holy wells.

Why does this matter to us today?

As one of the seasonal mid-points, Imbolc marks a natural cycle.

When we slow down and pay attention to these movements of nature and align ourselves with them, we are better able to live in harmony with our own energies and the energies of all life.

We will be better supported in our work and rest, and we may begin to open more fully to the sense of the sacred in everyday life.

It is noteworthy that the date of Imbolc falls right around the time of the Chinese New Year. Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and other cultures are also believed to have celebrated around this day.

Fire_123rfAs a festival honoring one of the many faces of the Goddess, Imbolc reminds us of the value of the Sacred Feminine, poetry, the arts, creativity, and of the importance of tending the sacred flame of our own hearts. We must feed that flame with love, care, beauty and inspiration.

In the depth of cold, dark winter or difficult times, Imbolc brings hope of change, healing, renewal, reminding us that all things move in cycles, all things pass and change.

Even in the darkness, we are reminded of the coming light, reminded to pause and celebrate the sacred or what we most value and cherish in our lives.

An Invitation to Celebration

Among the many traditions surrounding Imbolc, candles or lamps were often lit in every room of the house and left burning through the night. Perhaps you might find your own way to recognize and rekindle the light in your heart and in your life at this time.

Woman greeting the day by ruthie martin

photo by ruthie martin

You could read some poems aloud with friends with candles burning, or gather by a fire. You might want to create an altar to spring or to creativity.

Imbolc is also associated with purification, and it can be a good time for some clutter clearing or spring cleaning.

Or perhaps you just want to go outside and stand facing the sun with your feet on the earth for a few minutes.

Whatever you choose to do, I invite you to pause, to connect with the ever-turning cycles of life, and give yourself a taste of the renewal and inspiration offered at this time.

And remember, if you’re wanting renewal, creativity, inspiration and new beginnings in your life, I can think of no better way to discover that than the amazing journey known as the Artist’s Way.

This remarkable process is for anyone wishing for more creativity, fire, passion, joy, fulfillment in their lives. It can be wildly helpful if you find yourself at a transition point in your life.

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