February 2 is known as Imbolc, or Candlemas. It’s the date that’s the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, and agricultural communities and cultures have long recognized it as a time to honor and celebrate. In modern culture, we have named it ‘Groundhog Day’, and look to the modern, technologically sound and scientific practice of divining the future based on whether the groundhog sees his own shadow.
This morning, Phil the Famous Groundhog failed to see his shadow, so we are apparently in for an Early Spring. But, that’s hard to believe when we’re snuggled at home due to one of our rare Snow Days here in Colorado. (It has to snow A LOT for the schools to be closed in a state where we pride ourselves on being able to easily handle the wide and ever-changing range of weather.)
However we might recognize the date, it’s a point in the Wheel of the Year that we are subconsciously aware of – we understand on some deep, primal level that the days are finally beginning to lengthen, that seeds are begin to stir in the earth, and that the wheel is turning back toward spring. The name of the holiday, Imbolc, derives from the old Irish words for “in the belly”. Historically, it refers to the point when livestock would be full with pregnancy and would be the time of the year where the sheep and cows would start to produce milk in preparation for the birth of their young.
The holiday is sacred to the Irish Goddess Brigid, Goddess of Healing, Livestock, and Craftsmanship. She is associated with a sacred flame, from which can be drawn parallels to the strengthening of the sun and the return of the light at this time of the year. Brigid’s light inspires within each of us the forces of creativity and healing energy.
This is a time for Spring Cleaning, and for preparation.. On the farm, we deep clean all the animal areas, organize the greenhouse, clean the farming tools and implements, and prepare for the hard work of spring. We order our seed catalogs, make planting schedules, spread compost, and map out planting fields. When the weather permits, we clear the fields, gardens, and trails.
In the home, it’s the perfect time to purge the old and make way for the new. Spend some time deep cleaning and organizing your home, as well as some time cleansing and purifying your spirit. One of my favorite methods to clear old energy from my home is with a rosemary infusion floor wash. Simply steep some rosemary in a pan of hot water for about 1/2 hour. Strain out the herbs, and add the remaining strong infusion to a bucket of fresh water, and mop your floors. It’s a great cleanser for wood floors, and removes build up of both the material and the energetic type.
Whatever you do, take some time to both purify and prepare, and of course, enjoy the snow!