I know that it’s been a while since I’ve written when the last post I published was the previous installment of the Wheel of the Year. Has it really been seven (eight?) weeks since the solstice already? Damn.
And yes, I know I’m lagging more than a few days behind on this one, too, since Imbolc is supposed to be the first of this month.
It is winter, after all, and I certainly tend towards sluggishness this time of year. Still, I don’t like it when I go an entire month and more without posting on here. I’ll try to write a bit more in the next few weeks.
Anyway, on to business.
Imbolc is a festival marking the transition from the time of Stones to the time of Arrows – that is, from Winter to Spring. Of course, this seems like nonsense to me, because it is still very much winter ’round these parts. But I suppose I can’t deny it: even though the ice continues to form, it melts away almost as quickly. The sky remains the color of slate, but the sun is rising earlier and setting later. The White Witch’s iron grip on the land falters ever so slightly as Aslan makes his way closer each day.
The Wildwood left us last time with the Hooded Man and the Great Bear. These are cards of rest and hibernation, as well as facing difficult truths as the year comes to a close. Now it’s a new year, and it’s time to wake up. The Horn of Judgement has sounded. It’s a new day. Great, I’m ready to get going. Let’s do this!
Wait, do what? Where do we go from here?
The Ancestor (the Hierophant) greets us at the edge of this transitory time. Though she has the body of a woman, her head is that of a stag. She is the mythical link between man and animal, remembering things long forgotten by us. After the ordeal of the Great Bear, it’s time to return to our roots; it’s time to start anew. She pounds out a rhythm with her little drum, the pulse of life, gently awakening things that lie dormant in our nature. The pulsing never really stops, but now, with hearts quiet after winter reflections, we can most easily hear it. With nowhere else to go, we follow the Ancestor as she leads us back into the forest to begin a new year.
But a return to roots is not the only thing we need. Now is an uncertain time for many, and though the sun shines longer, darkness and cold still reign. The Ancestor may be a comfort with her intuitive knowledge of the forest and our place within it. But the Wildwood is vast and overgrown, and we can easily lose our way. If we lose sight of her, if we stray far enough away that even the beat of her drum disappears from our ears, then it is easy to despair. We need more than a return to roots. We need unfailing guidance, and for this we must turn our gaze upward towards the sky. This is where to find the Pole Star (the Star), that ancient compass which has helped navigate since time immemorial. This card indicates not only guidance, but a larger perspective. The Pole Star helps to find the way through the woods, but it also reminds us how small we are in this Universe; and how we – and everything we know – are made of the same stardust. Sometimes a new perspective is all one needs to fight the darkness.
I know that star-gazing has helped diminish many of my perceived problems in the past.
Finally, with the transition into a new season, we get a new “element” card. The Wanderer passes the baton to the Shaman (Magician). He will oversee the spring. But I think I’ll talk more about him some other time.
Anyways. Enough of Imbolc and the Wheel of the Year for one day. Hopefully as the ice continues to melt, I’ll feel inspired to write a little more often than I have lately. In the meantime, happy February.