Hidden life beneath the snow and ice…… What discovery could fit Imbolc better than this? Scientists in Antarctica have discovered living bacteria, as well as animal bodies, in the permanent darkness of pockets of water beneath hundreds of meters of ice in Antarctica! Unlike our winter which is months long for most of us, these have not seen the light of day for thousands of years!
The life exists, hidden beneath the snow. Gathering strength, yet hidden in many ways. How long and harsh will this winter be? Can traditions of groundhogs or candles tell us? I recently saw a Pagans personalized Wheel of the Year, and they had Imbolc labelled as “Brightening”, opposite the sacred holiday of “Dimming”. I think these are great names – though the change does start at the Solstices, it’s later that the change begins to be noticeable. These and many other themes join with the making of candles and wintertime celebrations.
The Winter Thermstice is the time of the deepest cold (on average). This year, our Earth (with an assist from climate change) brings us very deep cold at this time, with the Polar Vortex! Temperatures of 20 below zero F before the windchill, and the special temperature of -40 with the windchill spread over the Midwest here. Negative 40 is special because that’s where the two temperature scales cross, so -40 F = -40 C! Here is my Imbolc altar, with the temperature outside (top temperature of -15 F is on the deck, 2nd one is a little warmer at -14 F down at the lakeshore). Brrrr!!!
Some of the ways many of us are celebrating were published a few weeks ago, and I’m in the process of getting both the candle making supplies and ritual materials ready. My kids (and I!) are looking forward to making snow cream for Imbolc as well. However you are celebrating (including Summmer Thermstice/Lammas celebrations in the Southern Hemisphere), may your be celebration be blessed.