• Erin

Imbolc: The Holiday You Didn’t Know Existed

We are nearly six weeks into 2021 and that means it’s time for everyone’s favorite early February holiday, Imbolc!

(Don't worry, I'll touch on that other favorite mid-February holiday later.)


What, you mean you aren’t familiar?

Imbolc occurs around February 1st through 2nd and is one of the many holidays tied to the harvest and seasonal changes. It translates to “in the belly of the ewe.” Others may know this day as Candlemas or St. Brigid’s Day. It is considered to be the unofficial traditional start of the spring (in the Northern hemisphere) because it is the time when the new shoots begin to grow under the earth or the animals are beginning to gestate and bring forth new lives into being, we just don’t see it yet.


In the United States, you may better recognize this holiday as Groundhog’s Day, wherein check their local news forecast in the morning to see if Punxsutawney Phil (or whomever your regional groundhog representative is) has seen his shadow and retreated to his home, proclaiming six more weeks of winter, or if he has bravely ventured forth into the world to announce the early arrival of spring.


Imbolc is a minor turning point in the balance of light and dark, and divides the darker, colder part of winter from the less cold and increasingly lighter part. In Japan, this holiday is known as Setsubun, which literally means “cutting of the season” or “seasonal division.” It occurs at one of the Cross Quarters, that is to say, at 15 degrees of a fixed sign (in this case, Aquarius).


The 15th degree of a fixed sign is also considered an "avatar" degree. It is thought that these avatar degrees release cosmic energy and are associated with resourcefulness and luck. In fact, if you have a planet at an avatar degree, you may find yourself being an advocate for others, lucky, or perhaps a "go-to person" in that area in which it is found in your chart.


While the connections with natural cycles, timing and synchronicity are poignant during this time through the many holidays and their correlations with the light at the end of the wintry tunnel, it is the emphasis on faith that really stands out to me. We have faith that the darkness will start to recede, and the light will return. We have faith that growth is happening, even if we cannot witness it with our own eyes. We have faith in better days ahead.


Cheers to those better days!


In peace & love,

Erin

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