Imbolc actually means “in the belly”. It refers to an ancient Celtic celebration that was held in the early days of February. This is the time in the northern hemisphere when ewe bellies are fattening with the new life growing within. We are halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox. The wheel of the year has officially turned toward spring!
For more information, please check out Nancy’s 2017 article on Imbolc:
In a few days, Earth’s northern hemisphere will reach the halfway point between summer solstice and autumn equinox. This is one of four “cross-quarter” days that occur in our solar year.
Many of our ancestors celebrated the start of harvest on this particular cross-quarter day. The Celtic people of the British Isles paid homage to the Sun God Lugh at this time. But long before Lugh was known, Arinna was worshiped by the ancient tribes living in the region that is now Turkey (1400 BCE). The Solar Goddess Arinna was their main deity. Her consort was the weather god, Teshub.
I love what Cayelin Castell has to say about worship of the Solar Goddess:
“Before the patriarchy this Cross-Quarter celebrated the Sun Goddess thanking her for the abundance of the ripened grain. As the Solar Feminine was diminished during patriarchal times this festival celebrated the Sun God. The Irish called him Lugh (Light). Lugh’s festival focused on celebrating the skills of the warrior and the craftsmen with less emphasis on the ripened grain or bounty of the mother as a gift from the Solar Feminine.
It is true that the Solar Feminine is returning to our awareness in many ways now. So it seems appropriate that the cross-quarter points are a time for remembering the original Solar Feminine festivals and their intent.
The February Cross-Quarter celebrated the Mother’s (Solar Feminine) power to give life including the life giving light of the lengthening days.
The May Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine in her passion for intimate pleasure and the beauty of life in great abundance.
The August Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine for her abundant life giving gifts of Food and sustenance for the coming winter season .
The November Cross-Quarter celebrated the Solar Feminine power to live through death and be reborn to a new life.
The returning strength and power of the Solar Feminine is a reminder to honor and celebrate the gifts of life-giving nourishment that we all enjoy. If you feel inspired by this you might use the first week of August as a time to give daily gratitude for the Earth and all that she gives us everyday.
At the Turning of the Ages we might ask: What are the new emerging ceremonies and celebrations that are relevant now?” ~Cayelin Castell