The Wheel: Imbolc

Imbolc

Imbolc is considered a “cross-quarter” holiday! Groundhog Day is a lot more than it appears. There are ties to the activity of Bears flatulating (yes really) in German forests at this time of year to indicate the forecast of a long or short winter. Staying with tradition but lacking in bears, the groundhog was an apt substitute in North America.

On the Celtic wheel of the year this date is know as Imbolc, the time when ewes start to give milk. Could you imagine the glory of having some sort of fresh sustenance in the coldest time of the year?

Also known as St. Brigid’s and Candlemas, it is a “cross-quarter” holiday meaning it falls between solstice and Equinox.

All cross-quarter holidays are celebrated with Fire! At this time in particular we light the fires to clear stagnant winter energy and celebrate the returning heat and light coming in just 6 weeks – one more turn of the wheel – the “new year” Spring Equinox, usually March 21st or so.

Spring is coming!

 

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Wheel of the Year

 Our design of the Wheel is the Solar Calendar on the outside featuring the cross holidays and the cross-quarter holidays. Inside the wheel is the Lunar Cycle with special events denoted like blue moons, black moons, annular, partial and total eclipses and special overlaps in the lunar and solar calendars.

Traditionally the Wheel is a Celtic solar calendar followed by those who once lived close to the land. It was a way to measure life; celebration, harvest and the harsh cold time of the year, a way to “keep track of time by paying attention to the relationship between the Sun and the Earth. The “New Year” starts at Samhain, contrary to our typical Gregorian calendar which begins after Yule.