Imbolc 2012: Embracing the Shadow

This year's celebration of Imbolc begins the turn toward spring, although with 59 degree weather in Boston it's unclear whether we've had winter. With only six weeks of winter left, this is the time to set intentions and clear away the clutter, composting it in preparation for new growth.

This year, my women's ritual community asked us to journey within, to retrieve the power of our shadow. All that we reject, parts of ourselves that we push into the unconscious, whether anger, sexuality, vulnerability, creativity, what ever we have disowned, has power we need to reclaim. We need all of our resources for the work ahead. A flower essence of Black Eyed Susan is one tool to use, to overcome the fear of looking deeply and embracing the shadow. We are all human, a package deal, and avoiding one's whole self does not serve us at this time. Brigid, the triple goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing, is a help and guide. Beverly Frederick offers Her a beautiful welcome.

Astrologer Jenny Yates gives some powerful advice for the year to come. She explains that it "is all about the breakdown of structures, including structures that have existed, unchanging and unquestioned, for a long time. This is good, people. A period of intense change gives everyone a chance to get involved and to clarify what's important. It's not just a time of change, but also a time of high-stakes resistance to change. ... It won't be until the spring when things start to really percolate again" so all the more reason to attend to the inner work of this moment.

There are many beautiful resources on the web to inspire and provoke:

Andras Corben Arthen, who will be presenting at EarthSpirit's Feast of Lights this weekend, shared a link to a haunting song from Romuva, the indigenous pagan religion of Lithuania. Stark beauty and communion with the ancestors are gifts of this season.

The Wild Hunt, a pagan blog, offers a lovely set of links to thoughts and music for this holy day.

Teo Bishop writes, "Sometimes I think the greatest gift that Neopagan traditions offer modern city dwellers, like myself, is a blueprint for what life was like before the Industrial Age so that we (or our descendants) might be better prepared for what life will be like after our industries, grids and interwebs have all come apart. ... Our way of life -- MY way of life -- is not sustainable. Not for generations, at least, and arguably not even for the duration of my lifetime. I consume more than my fair share, globally speaking. Most Americans do. Even Pagans."

Again, Astrologer Jenny Yates offers helpful advice: "May to October will be the crucial period in the coming year. Don't be afraid of 2012. Just be willing to do everything a little differently. And hold tight to the things that are truly important: your lovers, your friends, your family, your comrades, your community. Go where they are, and celebrate the bonds you have." Well said, Jenny.

Blessed Imbolc to all.