February 2nd is tomorrow. I love February 2nd. Even with the continuing cold, and the darkness, I find myself looking forward to it, waiting, impatient, urging the calendar to flip over and be there. Because February 2nd was the beginning of something very special to me.
On February 2nd, 1999, I formally declared my intention to be Wiccan, after almost 2 years of studying it, practicing as much as I could on my own, and weighing whether this was the right path for me or not.
February 2nd is also known as Imbolc, which is a Celtic word that translates roughly to “In the belly of the mother”; or as it’s also known, Oimelc, which translates to “mother’s milk”.
This holiday falls around the time when the ewes were giving birth to the lambs, when the earliest flowers would crack through the snow’s crust to bloom. The lambs, snowdrops and crocuses were welcome signs that Mother Earth had not abandoned her children, but was promising Spring to come.
Most people now simply associate this day with Groundhog’s Day, waiting to hear what Punxsutawney Phil has to say about the remainder of time before they can go outside without longjohns and mittens. In the past, it was a day for weather predictions as well, but the people watched the snakes and badgers for their weather news, instead of groundhogs.
“Imbolc is the day the Cailleach — the hag of Gaelic tradition — gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people are generally relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.” – Wikipedia
For Wiccans, at least for me, it is a day of renewal. It is the day that I restate my vows to my Goddess and God, and to myself, reaffirming that I am on the path that I am meant to follow. It is also a day for new beginnings. It is the day of hope, of promise, that the seeds that were planted, that lay fallow for the winter, hibernating, are ready to sprout and grow.
One of the seeds that I planted is almost ready to sprout. It is full of promise, full of hope, and ready to grow into a lovely garden. This seed is the idea that I was now willing to teach a class — Wicca 101. I planted the idea last fall, letting others know that I was contemplating it, and was willing to go ahead, if there were willing students. And they were. I am going to be watching this seed sprout this Sunday, as my students and I get together for the first lesson.
It is a time of great promise, for the sun is returning. Bringing light, warmth, and life. It may be still hiding right now, not obviously visible, but it’s there. It’s creeping up on us, slowly, stealthily, ready to burst out and surprise us with its beauty.
Get ready – it’s coming!