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Imbolc: A Dance of Light and Shadow

Posted on:  Jan 31, 2020 @ 16:07 Posted in:  Featured, Sabbats

Excerpt from: The Path of She Book of Sabbats

At Imbolc, profound change is stirring on your journey of soul. As the seasons turn from Winter into Spring, the returning powers of light and life activate your longing for new beginnings, and coax you to leave behind the stasis of what you know to seek out new possibilities.

Winter gives way to Spring at Imbolc. Light and shadow dance together as you tend the seeds of your beauty and wounding that can transform your life.

The Earth is waking at Imbolc, casting off Her winter cloak of cold and darkness, and prodding the natural realm to stir from its long rest at the first signs of Spring. Nothing seems certain at this time of year. Nature can be in the throes of snow and frigid temperatures, or it can offer up warm, sunny days that entice brave snowdrops to rise from the still-frozen soil. No matter how hard Winter tries to hang on, the days get steadily longer and warmer, and Nature opens itself once more to the life-giving powers of the strengthening sun.

Groundhog Day is the secular custom that coincides with Imbolc. The groundhog is a weather diviner; according to tradition, if the groundhog emerges from its hole and see its shadow then Winter will be digging in for another six weeks. If it doesn’t see its shadow, Spring is near at hand. Regardless of the groundhog’s predictions, Imbolc is a time when we turn our mind and intentions toward the seeds we would like to plant in the Spring, both in our gardens and in our life.

Like the natural realm, what has been dormant within you hungers for new growth. And like the groundhog, light and shadow are both part of your dance with the shifting, seasonal energies.

At Imbolc, you turn your mind to the seeds that hold the next pieces of your pathwork, sourced from the beauty and wounding of your Deep Self and life story. As you draw these seeds into the light of your conscious awareness and engagement, you will also encounter the shadow-side of the wounded, denied parts of your life and our world.

To journey on the Path of She is to accept and work with your whole/holy nature and life story, both the light and shadow, and beauty and wounding. You cannot truly change yourself or your outer world without showing up to the naked, raw truth of who you are and what you’ve experienced.

Self-awareness , self-acceptance and compassion are essential components of the hard work of healing and transforming your life.

You need not be alone in this momentous task. Brigid is a mighty Goddess, with powers of healing and inspiration, who comes to us through Celtic mythology. Some tales of Brigid tell how She came to the Earth when all was blackness and chaos, and placed Her mantle around the planet, transforming it into a place of beauty. Brigid has endured through the turning times of humanity, both as Goddess and as Saint, and Imbolc is Her festival day.

Brigid draws us to Her doorstep at Imbolc. She has so many gifts to offer us: the light of Her sacred flame to lead us out of the darkness; the healing, inspirational waters of Her holy well to mend our hurts and guide our journey; and the transformational powers of Her forge where the old can be recast into the new.

These wondrous things Brigid will grant us, but we must seek Her out in Her realm between the worlds, and consciously choose to embrace Her healing ways. And we must make a vow, a soul commitment, to tend the seeds of our beauty and wounding, and to follow where they lead us on our journey of soul. She can offer us healing, wisdom and support, but only we can do the hard work of transforming our life and mending our world.

Celebrate Imbolc

with the Path of She Book of Sabbats.

Buy now at the Path Store.

Photo Credit: Aleksandar Kyng on Unsplash

An Imbolc Teaching: The Shadow Dance

Posted on:  Jan 31, 2020 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Sabbats

At Imbolc, Winter is waning and the season turns toward Spring. The groundhog is said to be a predictor of the arrival of Spring. If the groundhog sees its shadow, off it goes back into its hole, informing us that Winter won’t be letting go soon. If it doesn’t see its shadow, Spring is on its way.

Leave behind the dark of Winter, and step into Spring’s light of new beginnings. Where there’s light, there’s shadow. Together they can transform your life.

This shadow dance is familiar to us humans. As the shifting light and warming days coax the groundhog from its den in search of the quickening signs of Spring, so does our hunger for the spring of new beginnings coax us to leave behind the refuge of what we know and sniff the air for signs of shifting possibilities. What we seek draws us into the light of greater consciousness, and where there is light there is shadow.

Shadow in our human psyche is the depository of the repressed, denied and vilified parts of our personal lives and human society: our pain, dysfunction and unpalatable, uncontrollable instincts and emotions. When we encounter our personal or collective shadow, our first impulse, like the groundhog, is to retreat into the blinders and comforts of our old ways and their winter-like grip of stagnation and stasis.

What we forget in this retreat impulse is that light and shadow dance together. There cannot be one without the other. We humans are woven of light and shadow, of good and bad qualities and instincts, and of things known and mysteries yet to be discovered.

We forget, in our fear and projections, that the shadow realm also holds the raw materials of our deeper potential. And that the things we repress, deny and vilify just might be exactly what we need — secret truths, hidden gifts and latent powers — to heal, grow and flourish.

In our forgetting, we act out from our repressed and denied places, and doom ourselves and our world to be ruled by that which we refuse to face and claim as a part of our human experience.

In our forgetting, we become half-human, shut off from essential parts of our nature and selfhood, and truncated in our self-knowing, expression and evolution.

Imbolc is a between time, of Winter thawing into Spring, and of the dark giving way to the light. We are not separate from these natural energies and their life-seeking drives. Nor can we leave our shadow behind as we reach out to the springtime call of new possibilities, personal growth and societal change. Rather than giving into our instinct to retreat from our shadow, transformative change comes when we have the courage and compassion to reach out our hand and heart to our shadow, and to step together into the returning powers of light and life.

Excerpt from: A Path of She Book of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Across the Seasons. Available in ebook and paperback--visit the Path Store.

Photo Credit: Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash

An Imbolc Mystery: Brigid and the Making of Vows

Posted on:  Jan 26, 2019 @ 21:00 Posted in:  Sabbats

Excerpt from the Path of She Books of Sabbats.

In the velvet darkness between the worlds, a welcoming light shines bright and steady. Here Brigid tends Her holy well and sacred flame, offering up their life-transforming magic that grants the gifts of healing, inspiration and wisdom for those who seek Her guidance. She does not call us to Her side, for She knows that we will find Her when the time is ripe.

At Imbolc, Brigid calls you to Her magical realm to seek the hidden knowledge and healing visions that await you at this time of Winter thawing into Spring.

As Nature shifts from the dark dormancy of Winter to the life-inducing powers of the strengthening sun that herald the approach of Spring, our desire for the spring of new possibilities and the end of the long winter of our soul drives us to Brigid’s doorstep. Our mind turns to the seeds of our beauty and wounding, sourced from our Deep Self and life story, that hold the next pieces of our pathwork, and our soul turns to Brigid’s loving, gracious presence and Her tremendous powers that can make our life anew.

Trust these powerful hungers and impulses stirring within you. Trust that life-transforming change is possible, and that Brigid can help you in this essential soul work. Trust that your shining inner light is kin to Her shining light, and in the spirit of this kinship you will find your way to Her realm between the worlds.

When you reach the threshold of Brigid’s realm, you’ll discover a thick oak door with an ancient key, greened by age and the elements the key of conscious choice. Your soul desire has led you to Brigid, now you must consciously choose to turn the key, knowing that to stand before this mighty, generous Goddess is to commit yourself to Her healing ways. And once you have made this commitment, it is not easily unmade; when you open the door that connects you to Brigid, it can never truly be shut again.

As you step over the threshold, Brigid welcomes you with a warm, captivating smile, Her cheeks flushed slightly with the heat of Her forge. She is breathtaking to behold, with long, fiery red tresses, creamy white skin, and a tall, slender form draped in a dark green mantle. Though Her beauty is as bright as the flames She tends, it is the palpable presence of Her love and kindness that is your strongest impression of Her.

Both the flames and Brigid’s radiance seep through your flesh, swiftly thawing the frozen places in your heart. When you look into Her startling green eyes, you see the life you are longing for reflected in their soulful depth, and Her desire to help make your dreams come true. You do not need to speak these things to Brigid, She already knows you, inside and out, deep and true.

“Let us see what hidden knowledge and healing visions await you at this time of Imbolc,” She says.

With Her long, expressive fingers, Brigid beckons you to a shallow, black stone bowl filled with the waters of Her holy well. She directs your gaze to its still, flat surface, illuminated by the flickering lights of Her sacred flame.

Images arise in a swift procession from the close-up and intimate of your life to the wide-scope of the greater world. Brigid’s scrying waters do not spare you from the ugly and the painful. You are shown the hurt places inside of you and their symbiotic expression in your outer existence, and then, broader still, to the same patterns that exist in human society.

“These images tell the one story of the seed of your wounding,” Brigid says, “What is inside is outside, and what is outside is inside; your inner world reveals itself in your outer existence, and your personal life is both trapped within the strictures of collective reality and you help re-create this reality with your day-to-day choices and actions.”

Brigid passes Her hands over the basin’s surface and new images appear, this time offering a mélange of the beautiful and inspiring, again drawing both on your personal life and the greater world.  Some of the images you recognize from your current existence and others feel achingly familiar, like a longed-for possibility that has yet to take form.

“These images tell the one story of the seed of your beauty,” Brigid says, “Just as with your wounding, what is inside and outside both inform and infuse the other. By the beauty and goodness of individuals, the beauty and goodness of human society emerges.”

With a swirling motion of her fingertips, Brigid activates Her holy water’s visionary magic one last time. The previous images blend and merge, entwining the stories of your beauty and wounding, both in their personal and collective manifestations. And you see, from the depth of your being, that your beauty and wounding are mirrors of the same thing; there is really only one story, the story of your life, woven from all that you are, and all that you’ve ever experienced, defined and constrained within the matrix of collective reality.

Together you step away from the scrying bowl. Brigid turns to face you and says, “Everything has a place and purpose, even the most painful and challenging of these images. Life, with its joys and sorrows, is the crucible of your spiritual healing and evolution. You would not be who you are now, standing here with me on the cusp of your greater becoming, within having gone through these trials and experiences. Great beauty and power are forged from great wounding and suffering, tempered by a wisdom, love and compassion that a life fully embraced, in its light and shadow, can grant you.

“My scrying bowl has revealed to you the seeds and stories that are the makings of the new beginning ready to emerge from within you. They are the raw materials that will drive the healing pathwork that is before you now.

“You must tend these seeds in preparation for your springtime of new growth. Your life is their soil, your love their water, and your conscious awareness their sunshine. With proper care, they will show you the way of your healing and transformation, and your path forward to the life of soul you are longing for.

“Are you ready to take this next crucial step on your journey of soul? Will you commit yourself to the sacred task of tending your seeds of beauty and wounding, and letting them guide you in your pathwork?”

Think hard before you answer Brigid, for this is a special, powerful kind of commitment — a vow spoken before Her sacred forge, where the old is made anew. She will hold you to this commitment, and your life will be forever changed.

With a simple “yes”, you bind yourself to Brigid.

“So it is chosen, so it will be,” She says.

Three times Her hammer strikes Her anvil, hard steel against hard steel, ringing your vow outward into the listening Universe.

Then Brigid kisses your brow and presses Her palm against your solar plexus. A warm, swirling energy passes between you, and you sense the visions of Her scrying waters now alive and brewing in your belly center. She smiles one last smile, filling the space and your heart with Her radiance, and then She is gone.

Yet Her kiss remains, a token that She will never leave your side. The visioning magic of this Imbolc eve will bring you the healing, inspiration and wisdom you need to tend your seeds of beauty and wounding.  As you tend your seeds, discovering and embracing their place and purpose on your journey of soul, Brigid tends them with you, coaxing out their healing and creative impulses. And as you shift and grow, bringing positive change to your life and the greater world, Her joy shines down on you, filling you up with the bright flame of Her nourishing love.

Celebrate Imbolc

with the Path of She Book of Sabbats. 

Buy now at the Path Store.

 

Photo Credit: Christian Holzinger on Unsplash