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:
From the Great Council of the Grandmothers, November 12, 2016:
“The time you are living in is called the age of destruction – the Kali Yuga. It is the lowest point. At this time evil rises to the surface to be destroyed. This dark-age takes place just before the arrival of the incoming Golden Age, so today you are watching out-of-balance Yang energy creating destruction all over your planet. This IS the Kali Yuga. This is what is happening on earth now and because it is, you must learn to cope with this energy. You cannot reason with it because it is entirely destructive. Instead, you must hold steady within yourself and observe its wild behavior from a position of power. If you do this, it will not be able to feed on you. Your steadiness will help contain its rapacious energy and it will not be able to do as much damage as it would otherwise.
Call on the Net of Light and hold Sacred Space. Be mindful of who you are!
You are here on earth to occupy a steady place in an unsteady world. At this time reach out to one another in service. Many are suffering now. Feed the hungry, visit people in hospitals and prisons, provide shoes to those who need them, help the animals. If each of you plunges into one activity of service, together you will do great good, turning many hearts to light. Find a service project for yourself. We ask this of you because we know who you are. You are our hands and hearts on earth.”
Certain times in our lives are filled with potency and magic. Twilight is such a time, as is dawn. These are magical moments when it is neither day nor night. Birth is another potent in-between time, along with death. These special times mark borders and transition zones. The in-between is a sacred time when magic is afoot.
Here in the northern hemisphere, we find ourselves on the boundary between autumn and winter. The light is slowly fading away as our Sun drops lower and lower in the sky and our nights grow longer. This is another potent in-between time. The ancient Celtic people would celebrate Samhain (Sow-in) at this time. Some tribes chose to celebrate at the 1st new moon after late harvest (October 19th this year). Other tribes celebrated at the 1st full moon after harvest (November 3rd this year). The celebration of Samhain was a beautiful way to honor the seasonal transition out of the light and into the dark.
The veils between the worlds grow very thin during this sacred in-between time. Loved ones who have departed this Earth are believed to be nearby. Many people in Mexico honor this by celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at this time.
Samhain is the perfect time to acknowledge and celebrate the sacred cycles of birth – growth – death – rebirth that are an integral part of Nature.
Some suggestions for acknowledging and honoring the magical in-between time of Samhain:
Take a few moments to honor everything you have “harvested” this year.
Bow to your ancestors and thank them for giving you this life.
Offer love and prayers to loved ones who have transitioned.
Thank the brilliant light of summer and embrace the deep dark of winter.
Listen for spiritual guidance to help you in the coming year.
Today is the autumnal equinox. Autumn has officially arrived.
An equinox is the moment in which Earth’s equator lines up perfectly with the center of our Sun’s disk. This occurs only twice each year, in March and September.
At the time of an equinox, our Sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. Day and night are precisely equal at the equator — and very close to equal everywhere else on the globe.
Metaphysical thoughts on the equinox from MysticMamma:
Symbolically, it can be viewed as the point when day meets night, where opposites meet on equal ground, where we can integrate the duality within the oneness of existence.
The ancients, who knew themselves to be at one with the Earth, honored these planetary shifts as important reflections of life. As above so below, As within, so without.
This eternal medicine reminds us of the equanimity necessary to reconcile opposites…
Thoughts on equanimity and balance from BuddhaNet:
Equanimity is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight. Looking at the world around us, and looking into our own heart, we see clearly how difficult it is to attain and maintain balance of mind.
Looking into life we notice how it continually moves between contrasts: rise and fall, success and failure, loss and gain, honour and blame. We feel how our heart responds to all this happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, disappointment and satisfaction, hope and fear. These waves of emotion carry us up and fling us down; and no sooner do we find rest, than we are in the power of a new wave again. How can we expect to get a footing on the crest of the waves? How shall we erect the building of our lives in the midst of this ever restless ocean of existence, if not on the Island of Equanimity.
A world where that little share of happiness allotted to beings is mostly secured after many disappointments, failures and defeats; a world where only the courage to start anew, again and again, promises success; a world where scanty joy grows amidst sickness, separation and death; a world where beings who were a short while ago connected with us by sympathetic joy, are at the next moment in want of our compassion – such a world needs equanimity…
Spend a few moments meditating with Mama Earth today. May she help you find your sense of balance and equanimity in the midst of all the waves of change and chaos.
Next week, the Moon will “extinguish” our Sun for a brief time. A small strip of the North American continent will be aligned just so, and when the Moon moves between our Earth and Sun, it will cover the entire Sun, turning morning into night.
I have fantasized about seeing a total solar eclipse ever since I read Annie Dillard’s description of one many years ago:
“The second before the sun went out we saw a wall of dark shadow come speeding at us. We no sooner saw it than it was upon us, like thunder. It roared up the valley. It slammed our hill and knocked us out. It was the monstrous swift shadow cone of the moon. I have since read that this wave of shadow moves 1,800 miles an hour. Language can give no sense of this sort of speed—1,800 miles an hour. It was 195 miles wide. No end was in sight—you saw only the edge. It rolled at you across the land at 1,800 miles an hour, hauling darkness like plague behind it.
…Less than two minutes later, when the sun emerged, the trailing edge of the shadow cone sped away. It coursed down our hill and raced eastward over the plain, faster than the eye could believe; it swept over the plain and dropped over the planet’s rim in a twinkling. It had clobbered us, and now it roared away. We blinked in the light. It was as though an enormous, loping god in the sky had reached down and slapped the Earth’s face.”
The Sky Gods will perform a bit of celestial magic overhead on Monday August 21. I will be heading north tomorrow to experience the totality first hand. I’m looking forward to the show.
How might this magnificent sky show affect us physically, mentally, emotionally?
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
Turn your face to the Sun And let the shadows fall away…
Summer Solstice is upon us!
Summer Solstice is sacred Sun time. Here in the northern hemisphere, it normally falls between June 20-22 each year. It denotes the longest day and shortest night of the year.
Young children dance with the Solstice Sun. They run and jump and scream with sunny joy. They beg to stay up just a little longer so they can squeeze every last drop of living out of the long sunlit days. Children intuitively understand the power of this sacred Sun time.
Let’s follow their lead. Go outside! Soak up the sacred rays that bring life to this beautiful blue planet. Enjoy the green fields and flowers of early summer. Revel in Nature’s abundance. Get up early and watch the sunrise. Pause and honor the sunset at the end of another long luscious summer day.
Allow the sacred abundance of summer to bless you.