If you have ever read one of my posts, you will notice I am very aware of the wheel of the year. I am aware tiny details that most people (perhaps with the exception of those in a Pagan path or those working with agriculture) fail to notice.
It is remarkable how much the wheel of the year has changed since I was a kid going to grammar school during the 80’s (yes, I am that old!). The seasons no longer match the dates I was taught back then.
Imbolc is no expection. Although I still celebrate the Earth starting to stirr after a long Winter sleep, the truth is that I first started noticing it back in the middle of December.
The Oxalis pes-caprae (which, in Portugal, we call Azedas) started flourishing around December 20th in my backyard.
Also, the birds started humming their melodies near my place.
At that time, the weather was not as cold as it usually is during Winter (although it is somewhat colder now).
For those who might not know, I live in Cascais municipality, in sunny Portugal.
A little warning: I am not a conventional person when it comes to spirituality. I study several sources, I follow what makes sense to me, and I tend to discard what does not. My path is a melting pot of my experiences and that which makes sense to me spiritually.
I don’t celebrate the wheel of the year in the same way most Pagans (and Druids) I know do. And I know a few, online and offline.
Take, for example, Imbolc. I am absolutely useless when it comes to creating Brighid’s crosses. When it comes to arts, I can manage with singing, writing, drawing, taking photographs (not to humans, though; I suck at that for the most part). And, even so, practice is always needed.
I am a solitary. Public transportation sucks where I live. If I want to go to Sintra, I need to go to Lisbon so I can go to Sintra, besides the fact that it is rather expensive (I would have to take a bus, a train, at least one subway, and yet another train, and the need for another bus might arise).
I love to walk in Nature. I am very partial to forests.
I am still getting used to the idea of rituals (far too many years in the Catholic church kind of provoked a certain aversion to very structured, rigid rituals).
Thus, most times, my rituals consist of a mindful walk in Nature (did I mention I love trees?) is my go-to ritual for these special occasions.
This year, I am planning on going for a mindful walk, with honey, dandelion seeds and water, to celebrate the return of the light, the awakening of life and the return of Spring’s warmth to Earth. Opening the circle, invite Brighid, say my wishes (for my family and I) for 2018, do my offerings, and close the circle. Simple and effective.
For me, if Alban Arthan is a time for introspection and communion, Imbolc is a time for hope and preparation.
Hope for a better world. Hope of becoming a better person, a person that can stand up not only for others but also for myself. Hope of deepening my spirituality and of opening myself up for new spiritual experiences.
Hope for more positive times for my family (which includes my blood family, my closest friends and my spiritual family) and for myself in the year ahead.
And time to prepare the future ahead, to create the path that will lead us to the realization of our goals.