The first of February falls on a Monday this year; the perfect alignment to unite the start of a new week, month and season with fresh energy. More than ever, it feels as though we need to embrace these milestones and rituals to make our lives easier - breaking up the overwhelm into smaller and more manageable chunks.
Although the grass is still saturated with rainwater and the mist continues to hang quietly over the coast, signs of renewal and hopeful spring progress are emerging. Snowdrop buds show their tips of white amongst the dirt in my garden, and there is a subtle change in the light over the sea: illuminating the water vapour from a heavy grey to a lighter, more silvery cloud.
Imbolc: the beginning of spring
The celtic festival of Imbolc has been traditionally celebrated on the first of February, as a time for releasing the stagnant energies of deepest winter and creating space for new growth. Thoughts and feelings which have been ruminating for months can be released from wherever we have been holding them. Many people like to do a 'spring clean' or tidy of their house and garden at this time, matching natural earthy rhythms with practical, tangible tasks. Lifting the dust and aerating your rooms is refreshing and enlivening, especially on a cold day.
Celebrating renewal in February may feel premature for those of us used to starting our spring rituals in March or April, but Imbolc marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the year is quartered by the longest day, the longest night, and the two days where day and night are of balanced and equal length. Imbolc is the mid-step between the Winter and Spring transition. To me, there is something beautiful about the gentle humility of this 'festival'. Transformational seasonal shifts do not happen overnight, and this subtle celebration marks just the beginning of 'coming back to life'. We are not yet ready for the full flourish.
This autumn and winter I have been living more mindfully in tune with rhythms of energy from the natural world - recognising the need to retreat and reflect in the darkest months. My personal energy and motivation needs this slower and less productive time to process the busy and active summer. I need to rest, and digest all that I have learnt over the year.
It may be that these periods of inactivity are necessary in order to fuel creative productivity when the time comes. A monotonous, steady output all-year-round is a different way of working, and one that doesn't suit all of us so well.
Making Peace and Clearing Space
Now is the perfect time to make peace with an unproductive winter. Recognise the process of consolidation that you were doing all this time, and invite opportunities for what has been learnt to come to the surface and start to bud, unfurl and eventually blossom.
Clear the way and create space for patient waiting. Good things will come.