There, at the foot of the tree, belonging to no man,
A silver apple falls.
There, amongst the branches, the mother sits.
Weaver of dreams against the weft of the wood,
Insight falls like gentle rain on a moon-bathed garden.
— Song to Hecate, by Alison Jones
Now we make ready for the great festival of Imbolc, sometimes called Candlemas or Brigid. In many places, the dates that roughly correspond to Feb. 1 through the 3rd are celebrated because they are the midpoint between the darkest night at Yule and the perfect balance of light and dark that comes at Ostara – Spring Equinox. This has been subsumed by modern culture into the weather divination event, “Groundhog Day.”
All around us, Life is stirring in Her sleep, preparing to rise again. The days are noticeably longer. Even in the snow and ice in my own backyard, the white-throated sparrow is singing her songs of awakening. While some of the fiercest Winter weather may still lie ahead, the tips of some shrubs and trees are blushing with returning sap, cold-hardy sprouts are poking from the earth, and the first lambs are being born (hence the name Imbolc, which refers to the “ewe’s milk” of the nursing mothers)
We of the Old Ways see Imbolc as a traditional time for dedication, or beginning a new path of initiation and spiritual study. The commitment that students of the Craft make to “a year and a day” traditionally begins at this time.
And at Imbolc, we honor the great mystery of the Triple Goddess, as She changes now from the Dark Mother and Crone who has accompanied us since Samhain, into the Maiden once more.
Thus, on this last day of January, as on all final days of each month, we honor the Great Goddess Hecate, Goddess of Witches, She who guards the crossroads. It is Hecate, Goddess of the Night, who teaches us the ancient Mysteries. The last day of each month is sacred to Her, but especially this one, being the point of Her transformation and renewal. In a mighty miracle and mystery, the Crone transforms once more to the Maiden. Hecate, the Ancient One, who has guided us in the darkest nights of the year with Her torch is now revealed as Blessed Brigid of the Sacred Fires.
What transformation are you in the process of creating or becoming? Take some time today, to consider your own awakenings. Use this time before Imbolc to consider what you wish to give your attention to, over the next year and a day. A new skill? A new way of being a healer or Priest/ess for Gaia and Her children? Has a special God or Goddess called you to worship and serve?
All that was old becomes new again.
Listen now with all your heart as you, too, are changed. Let yourself be guided to what is next for your soul’s journey.