Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Imbolc: The Unnecessary Holiday

Currently, the Riot household is behind almost 2 feet of snow in one of the worst blizzards since 1967. That being said, Happy Beginning of Spring! That is to say, Happy and Blessed Imbolc to you all!

Imbolc has come up recently in a few blogs and podcasts - including Inciting A BrewHaha - as a holiday without any reason to exist. (Well, that seems to be Velma's opinion.) Sure, there's the historical celebration of when ewes start lactating and baby animals are born, but...really...how useful is that? Who cares? These days we look outside our doors and see mountains of snow and feel the frigid winds of winter and the very last thing on our minds is celebrating the coming of spring.

For heaven's sake! The midwest is in one of the worst snowstorms in modern memory! Spring could not be further away in our minds.

Why is that? We're not celebrating the exact moment that spring arrives; that's not for a couple more months. However, we seem to be celebrating the promise of spring. Just as we celebrate the new life being born at this time as a herald for the promise of more livestock, bigger and better crops, and so on. This is a time to get energized, to get excited.

Personally, I try and make Imbolc a special day. Our home is filled with lit candles and the smells of delicious stews and breads. No, it's not as big or flashy a time as Yule or Samhain or Beltane, but why not? Imbolc is a time of renewal and promise, and it's an important spoke on the Wheel.

I say that, just for today, you should try and get active. Get your brain and body active and focus on the return of the lush, verdant landscape of spring and summer. It really is just a couple of turns on the wheel away.

Or, at least, that's my opinion. What is your view of Imbolc? Do you celebrate it or just let it pass by? Either way, may you be blessed, and may this day find you safe and well.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

14 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I like Imbolc. I've set my candles in front of the windows (won't lite them up until tonight) my fireplace is blazing and I've put some spring-like decorations on top of it.

    I know, I know... I'm looking out of the window (above the fireplace) and I can see my deck covered in an inch of ice, but but I still remember spring is on its way. It get's better, doesn't it?

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  3. It's one of my favorite holidays of the year. To me it's a key point and one of the reasons I started following the wheel. While it doesn't represent the "beginning of spring" by any means to me, having a day to recognize the midpoint of winter weather is very important to my psyche and my faith. Like you say, it's a time of hope and renewal... The middle of harsh winter, what better time to throw a festival to renew our spirits for the long haul on our way back to spring?
    I read once of this time being called "breaking the back of winter"... and it rings true to me, that winter has all this momentum built up and now, it's starting to see its own mortality and is getting angry. From here on out, it will fight and punch and kick and make wonderfully dramatic weather as it desperatly clings to the world... I think it's an essential holiday and it allows me to "muck out the stables" of my life in preparation for all the sh** that is on its way in...
    -Scarlet

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  4. The post holiday blahs are hard to get over. The weather sucks, a lot of people are broke, and even more people look in the mirror and only see the holiday pounds.

    I think that's why Imbolc and mid-winter holidays are important. Holidays are something to look forward to and a way to mark the passing of the year. That doesn't mean Imbolc needs to be a big shindig, but there is a lot of value in lighting a candle, baking some bread, or just making some time for yourself in celebration.

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  5. Like what was said above - it's important to me as a time of hope. The fact that I made it through January without throwing myself in front of a snowplow, or having to be removed from my home with a crane, is a miracle every year!

    I take this day as a 're-group' moment. Winter is not over, but I feel more prepared to make my way through the rest of it. I have taken the day off, made blueberry pancakes (in lieu of bread) and am lighting the fire pit in the back yard. Bring on the light!

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  6. Better said. the Red headed step child of Pagan Holidays

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  7. Well said!!
    Blessed Imbolc to you as well!

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  8. I think you said it best, Imbolc is a time of renewal and promise. Not just in nature, but in and to ourselves.

    Well said Fire Lyte. A very blessed Imbolc to you and yours.

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  9. I wrote something longer about this on my blog, but I have noticed that about this time of year everyone seems to notice the longer days (at least up here where we go from 3hrs of daylight in the winter min. to 22hrs in the summer max.) we are back to almost 7hrs, a human amount of daylight and everyone starts to get excited to out in the freezing cold and play again. Things start happening be it sled dog races, ice carving or hell the outhouse races!

    So thats what Imbolc is to me, Oh hey! The sun DOES exist! :) but I dont normally do anything too special.

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  10. I totally agree! I think we all need a little spring (even if it's only a hope for spring) right now!

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  11. I love this sabbat! There is something so hopeful about the coming of spring. Its a holiday of potential. Even though the snow might be on the ground, underneath the seads are getting ready to burst with life.

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  12. I personally think Imbolc is my favorite holiday on the wheel of the year. Winter gets me down, and the idea that it is almost over fills me with joy. Spiral Dance did a great song on it called the Quickening - it really makes the holiday shine.
    To celebrate, I made stirabout - boil milk, ad flour (not a lot), sugar, and cinnamon, and enjoy!

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  13. There seems to be a common vibe about this holiday and I agree. It is about hope really. It is the same where I live as there is still snow, cold and everyone is fairly damn sick of it all by now. Hearts are heavy, people are tired and sun deprived and everyone needs a little hope. Imbolc represents that for me.

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