My friends, it is time to celebrate hope!
February 1st and 2nd are one of the cross quarter days of the great Celtic Wheel of the Year. It is an ancient Celtic festival that was celebrated for millennia known as Imbolc, which means “in the belly.” The signs of pregnant ewe meant lambs would be born in the spring. In the northern latitudes, people began to feel hope for new life even with a harsh winter going strong. In the US most people think of February 2nd as Ground Hog day, the portent of how many more weeks of winter are in store. For those living in the Northeast and Midwest, there will be many prayers said to this little rodent to give them a sign of hope amidst all those snowstorms.
So why is this period a time to celebrate hope? Indigenous people world-wide have millennia of experience observing what occurs in the natural cycles of the earth. Most of you reading this are in the Northern Hemisphere, so the season of Imbolc is the sign that winter will be ending and the season of spring will follow. Living in our high tech world, winter may be simply an inconvenience, but for people dependent on nature’s bounty to survive (and that would be us until about 100 years ago), winter was a time of scarcity and many loved ones did not survive. Knowing that the wheel was turning and the people could begin to trust that warmth and abundance would return was a serious reason to feel hope. We can still choose to tune into that state of being.
The feeling of hope is actually an emotional band width that is a gateway to the whole range of positive emotions that lead to uplifting us into joy and love. In fact hope might be seen as a precursor emotion There is a great deal of evidence that these positive emotions are the very basis of body-mind wellbeing, which has a wide range of benefits: from improved health and energy, to healing relationships and attracting all kinds of abundance into our lives. I invite you to create a ritual for yourself focusing on hope. Feel it move you into gratitude for all you have in your life and then tune into the feelings this engenders. 2015 is numerologically an 8 year which is a manifestation number. In the Chinese system, February 19 is the New Year of their lunar calendar which begins with the Pisces new moon; this is the year of the female wood sheep. You can use any and all of these symbols and others that are meaningful for you, such as representations of the four elements of fire, earth, air and water, special crystals and sacred objects.
Personal rituals are medicine for the soul and Imbolc is an important time to create this medicine. Enjoy.