Musings from the Cave
~Blog, books, poems, and Inspiration~
January 26, 2022
Have you ever walked a labyrinth or a spiral garden path? You know that moment when you get to the center, then stand there seemingly suspended in time? You may only pause for a few moments, or you may sit for an hour before making your way back out, but that center place, that liminal space between going inward and moving outward, is sacred time. That's what Imbolc feels like to me. Half-way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, time briefly stands still, and we may feel the subtle tension between the pull to hermit, and the restless urge to plan and get moving. Around this time each year, I start to feel like winter is slipping through my fingers. I wonder if, when the last few weeks of what I have come to think of as "slow time" are over, will I have fully embraced the gifts (and indulgences) of the winter season as I promised myself I would back in the Fall?
Living in more awareness of nature's cycles and seasons as each year passes, I have started noticing a lot of similarities between my own self and nature this time of year. One minute the forecast says snow, the next it feels like a spring day. One morning weeds and wildflowers are peeking up out of the crunchy leaves, the next morning thick frost covers everything. In this way, Imbolc is a paradox...as am I - filled with contradictions and opposing desires, hopes and ideas. I love how nature reflects this back to me, showing me how beautiful and natural it is.
My favorite ritual for Imbolc is very simple: take time to do absolutely nothing and honor what is. This may look like sitting by the fireplace with no entertainment or distractions for a few hours, or a gentle mindfulness practice, or a really slow easy day. It may sound boring and very anti-climactic, but it's my way of "being at the center of the labyrinth" and honoring this transition time. It gives me a chance to reflect, recalibrate, and appreciate my winter journey so far, remembering that I do not have to run towards spring waving my arms in the air. Instead, I can allow spring to come to me while savoring the remaining winter days, cozy moments, and quiet dark evenings with gratitude and intention.
Photo of Desert Labyrinth taken during my 2021 pilgrimage to Utah.