Full moon in airy Libra. The days are lengthening and warming. Spring is stirring. And something heavy has lifted that goes beyond the seasonal shift. A lightening has begun. But of what? Sometimes it is only in hindsight that we understand what has occurred.
How are you relating to the world? To yourself? Now is the time to lighten up. Change your approach. Free your inner dancer, singer, joker. Cut loose. Embrace your growing spring fever.
It’s been a long slog of a pandemic winter. Time to leave your rut behind.
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.
As we hold Easter egg hunts and gift those we love with bunny shaped candies this weekend, we are actually tapping into European rites of spring from pre-Christian times. The ancient Germanic Goddess Eostre (aka Ostara) embodied spring, the season of rebirth, renewal and new growth. Eostre’s symbology included fertile rabbits as well as the egg.
The sacred moon Goddess Ix Chel holds a similar place of honor in the Mayan culture. Ix Chel has been worshipped throughout Mexico and many parts of Central and South America for thousands of years. It is said that Ix Chel is responsible for sending rain to nourish the crops, and was sometimes called “Lady Rainbow”. She insures fertility by overturning her sacred womb jar so that the waters will flow through the world, nourishing new life.
Like Eostre, Ix Chel is also associated with rabbits. She is shown above with her beloved consort rabbit:
“the Goddess Ix Chel, known as the Maya[n] Goddess of the Moon, Water, Weaving and Childbirth… all having to do with cycles, tides, creating and bringing new life.
Her Rabbit consort/ child/sister/brother/mother/father/friend is the personification of new life and cleaving to bringing the young along, the gentle spirit, the shy, and yet the enduringly fertile/creative.
She is called the pale one…and is co-existant and interchangable with the moon and the moon’s cycles… she is a miracle maker, a healer, a teacher, a keeper of stories… and as she is also the moon also going dark for three days… Ix Chel suffering torment but comes ever back to full radiant reflective light again.
There are so many Ix Chels in the world, and so many Auroras and so many Jesu’s and so many Attis’ and so many of the great One who was taken down and then came back to life in triumph.
~Clarissa Pinkola Estes
It is amazing that people in all corners of this sacred Earth created similar stories and myths of rebirth and renewal to honor spring. We are truly one Tribe.
Whatever your spiritual or religious beliefs, now is the perfect time to pause and honor this season of renewal and new growth. Create your own ritual with a lit candle, spring flowers, green shoots and leaves, stuffed bunnies… choose whatever symbolizes spring for you. Or perhaps you want to simply go and sit in nature. Just take a few moments to express your love and gratitude for spring.