Seasons & Cycles The Wheel of the Year turning Brings Imbolc Blessings
Our planet is spiraling through space around a ball of nuclear fusion creating the seasons & cycles of nature.
Our seasons are part of an ongoing cycle of solstices, equinoxes, and their mid-points. Together these days make up the Wheel of the Year. The mid-points of the solstices and equinoxes are called Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain.
Imbolc is the stirring of spring. It’s name derives from phrases involving ewes milk, bellies, and cleansing – depending on which etymology you read. “Spring in the Belly of Winter” is the perfect way to describe how I feel this time of year. I am just beginning to feel the stir of excitement about projects and ideas. I am gently coming out of the deep winter dreaming that led to creative projects.
Arranging one’s life to allow for creative pursuits is so much easier when working with the seasons and cycles. Creative sparks “in the belly” become “fire” by the next turn of the wheel. Creative alchemy with the seasons reaps harvest. Then the seed, sprout and growth cycle continues. Each phase of a plant’s life cycle corresponds to the seasons – to the 8 festivals of the Wheel of the Year. The seed from Winter Solstice germinates and the first green shoots begin to push through at Imbolc. You may well find yourself with little urges to take care of things, either in preparation for spring or to hunker down for 6 more weeks of winter.
I like the Irish version of Groundhog Day as described on Wikipedia:
Imbolc was believed to be when the Cailleach—the divine hag of Gaelic tradition—gathers her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she wishes to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people would be relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.
The Wheel of the Year is a calendar of the constellations and planets. The Solstices are on the days that the sun enters the constellations of Capricorn and Cancer. The Equinoxes correspond with the sun entering Aries and Libra. These four constellations are called “cardinal” as they initiate change.
The Solstice/Equinox Midpoints are Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.
Imbolc is the cross-quarter station of the sun reaching 15° Aquarius. On Beltane the sun reaches 15° Taurus. On Lughnasadh the sun reaches 15° Leo, and on Samhain the sun reaches 15° Scorpio. These four constellations are called “fixed.”
The other 4 constellations of the zodiac (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) are “mutable.” As earth travels around the sun, a Solstice or Equinox season begins in cardinal, settles in fixed, and is then transitions in mutable constellations.
The spirals found in Irish megalithic artwork could represent the cycle of life or perhaps solar or lunar maps. The fact that people 5000 years ago kept track of the seasons and cycles, the sun, moon, and the constellations reminds me just how real those things are. I took this picture of ancient artwork inside a megalithic passage tomb in the Mound of the Hostagesat the Hill of Tara. Being in the presence of this 5000 year old megalithic art changed my perspective dramatically. See the full Mound of theHostages below. The inner chamber is aligned with the rising sun on Imbolc and Samhain.
Magical Missives are sent at the 8 Wheel of the Year Celebrations. Connecting with the Seasons & Cycles reminds you to never lose your magic! Occasional extra emails may fly over when there is some timely bit of Wonder, Wisdom, & Whimsy that simply cannot wait, only things that pass our strict enchantment requirements will be sent.