Imbolc is upon us. Celtic stories tell us that the Cailleach—the divine hag Goddess who rules over winter and death—gathers firewood for the rest of the winter on Imbolc. If the Goddess Cailleach wishes to make the winter last a lot longer, she will make sure that the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. But, if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.
The Cailleach was worshipped by the Celts as the sacred Earth Mother in her bare winter form. And she is not just a dark and evil hag who arbitrarily decides how long winter will be. The Cailleach is also the Bone Mother who collects the bones of the animals that die in the winter. The Bone Mother is said to sing or pray or sleep over the bones all winter long. She does this out of love, so that the animals will cross over and can return as new life in the spring.
There is a magic to Imbolc and the early days of February. It is there, running just beneath the surface. Can you feel it? Mama Earth holds the seeds of spring safe for us all winter. As the cold wind blows and the snow piles up, she holds them safe in her soil.
“The Goddess gradually retreated into the depths of forests or onto mountaintops, where she remains to this day in beliefs and fairy stories. Human alienation from the vital roots of earthly life ensued, the results of which are clear in our contemporary society.
But the cycles never stop turning, and now we find the Goddess reemerging from the forests and mountains, bringing us hope for the future, returning us to our most ancient human roots.”
Sacred mother moon Gently, tenderly Illuminates Her dark Luscious lap The soft yin Feminine My body So craves.
This poem bubbled up after I bathed in moonlight on the spring equinox full moon. Mother moon gave me the soft, tender and nurturing feminine energies that I had craved without realizing it. Thank you mother moon. I am so grateful.
Practice: Moon bathing is a lot like sun bathing, only done in moonlight! Simply relax and expose your skin to moonlight. As you absorb her light, open to whatever wisdom mother moon chooses to offer you.
Try moon bathing at the full moon, dark moon, crescent moon… whatever phase of the moon calls to you.