Imbolc…or As The Wheel Turns
As the wheel turns…
Sorry, that was a, now obscure, reference to an old soap opera. Imbolc is tomorrow! The meaning of the word it’s self is “in the milk” or something close to that. The real meaning of Imbolc is that we are beginning to see the changes in the days and that spring will eventually be here!
The promise that we will be able to survive another year and thrive is starting to materialize. When Imbolc was Christianized, it became Candlemas, and is a celebration of light. We have just moved through the darkest part of the year and we are headed for the light.
So, beyond the textbook stuff, let’s look at what this Sabbat means to 21st century people. Since we get our milk and meat from the grocery store and no longer have to plan out how and what we will be eating for more than 24 hours, agrarian celebrations no longer resonate with a clear message or meaning for most of us.
We get up in the morning, go to work, grab lunch…. you know the routine. How or even why do we care if ewes are starting to produce milk? We don’t and it is that simple. But if you think about what the last few months have been like, dark, wet dreary, you can identify with the longing for bright blue skies and nice warm weather. Imbolc reminds us that, in a chaotic world, there are many things we can still predict. Stability is important to us.
This Sabbat is also an opportunity for us to bring ourselves, spiritually, into the light. The “Dark night of our soul” is almost over and we have a chance to reflect about the lessons we’ve learned through the tough times and integrate them into our personal wisdom and offer them to others’ through collective wisdom.
I encourage everyone to recognize that what we’ve gone through is over and we never have to visit those same dark days again. Remember the difficulties, glean the lessons learned and then let go of the pain and fear. There is no way to move forward into perfect love and perfect trust if you are clinging onto fear or emotional pain. Imbolc presents an occasion to learn and let go!
Humans are obsessed with marking time. Months, years, decades, centuries, are important mental markers. They Mayan people were so obsessed with time keeping that they wrote a calendar for the past as well as the future. I think our obsession is, in part, a need to compare our personal growth. We need mental cairn to see “from whence we came’.
So, where was I 10 years ago? Living in Pony, MT!
I was secretly wishing that the world would go to hell in a hand basket because of Y2K but I knew it wouldn’t because some pretty smart people who caused that little glitch, were still around to fix that little glitch. I was dealing w/that lovely inner ear/vertigo issue that I have called Meniers’ disease for the first time! I was scared because I had no spirituality and I was on the run from a stalker (hence, why I was in Pony (middle of no where) Montana) .
Where am I now? In Killeen, TX!
The world did go to hell in a hand basket but it had nothing to do with a computer glitch.
I still have the Meniers disease but it’s under control with medication. I have a spiritual system that works especially well for me so I am no longer afraid. And I have taken a stand against the stalker (yes…. 10 years later. He is still at it) .
Imbolc 2010 has presented me with an inner reflection opportunity. Having just attended the Army’s “Spiritual Fitness Summit” with some really smart, spiritual and powerful chaplains, I discovered what has kept most of us from being open to acceptance of other religious systems is fear.
Once I started talking while we were working in our small groups to set the U.S. Army’s definition of spirituality, everyone began to relax. I am guessing that they figured out that I wasn’t going to sacrifice anything in the middle of the room!!! Then this group of men did something I did not expect them to do…they listened to me! Balance will now be included in the definition of healthy spirituality as well as the recognition of nontraditional religions, either formal or informal!
What should be addressed here isn’t “wow, look at the good stuff I’ve done. Yay me!”
I want to look at the road that it took to get to where I am. I want to remember the lessons that I learned on that road (which was full of pot holes and always a construction zone) and i want to, somehow, help others to see that life is a good place to be when you are living in the moment!
I have always felt a call to serve others. Even when I was much younger and being self-centered, spoiled and without a clue what Personal Responsibility, Compassion and Unconditional love meant. I thought that I was too fat for the military so serving there was not going to work and I needed to be doing something that earned money. I wanted to raise children, so the convent was out! Besides….I like sex way too much to give that up for the god of Abraham! What to do? I was stuck at 20…then, along came my eldest child and, thankfully, my (still) best friend, Tara.
Yes, I know…I went back MUCH further than 10 years, stay with me here.
Because of my choice to become a mother, I learned responsibility and because of my oldest daughters’ network of friends (thanks Mark…I owe you one for this lesson) I learned personal responsibility and compassion.
Tara stood by me through all of my thoughtlessness, insults, screw-ups and selfishness. Tara was there for all times, the good and the horrible. Tara taught me that you could love the person but not their actions. She taught me that you love without conditions and you love freely without expectations of being loved back. Because of Tara, I learned unconditional love.
So, what am I doing with all of these lessons? I am making an attempt to teach them to others in a gentler manner than I learned them. I am leading, as best I can, by example. I have been smart enough to form friendships with deep connections with people who will call me on my bullsh*t so that I can do it while not giving all of myself while serving others…or so that I can do it and not be a hypocrite by doing it for my ego.
November 5th is the day my father died when i was 15. November 5th two thousand and nine is the day that I found my feet. It is the day that I honestly answered that call to serve others. THAT is another article for a later time.
Blessed Imbolc, be fearless and loving!