in the belly
of the mother
seeds are stirring
life is awakening
in the body of her
the sacred wheel
turns toward spring.
There is natural magic afoot right now. It is there, running just beneath the surface. Can you feel it? All winter long, Mama Earth holds the seeds of spring safe for us. As the cold wind blows and the snow piles up, the Mother holds them safe in her soil body.
Then, in early February, as the wheel of the year slowly turns towards spring, the seeds begin to stir. Life is reawakening in the ground of the Mother. Imbolc has quietly arrived.
Imbolc was a ritual feast time for the ancient Celtic tribes. Their legends tell us of the Cailleach — the divine hag Goddess who rules over winter and death. The Cailleach is said to gather firewood for the rest of the winter on Imbolc. If the Cailleach wishes to make winter last a lot longer, she will make sure that the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. But, if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over. This is the origin of modern Groundhog Day.
The Cailleach is the sacred Earth Mother Goddess in her bare winter form. She is is also the Bone Mother who collects the bones of the animals that die in the winter. The Bone Mother sings and prays over the bones of the animals all winter long. She does this out of love, so that the animals will cross over and be able to return as new life in the spring.
Spring is on its way.
Note: Imbolc means “in the belly”. It is an old Irish word that honors the pregnant ewes carrying new life in their wombs at this time of year. Imbolc is traditionally celebrated at the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox.