I am not a Wiccan, nor really a Pagan. I’m an Atheist to the core. The holidays of my childhood were colored with Pagan details, though, and so a little of that has stuck. If not the theology, the traditions.
My mother’s favorite holiday was Groundhog Day. But when I think back to how we celebrated it, it was more like Imbolc. A time to look forward to spring, make guesses about the weather, light a fire, and eat rich foods. I never really understood my mother’s love for this holiday, and she could never explain it to me. But now, I think I might get it.
The thing that holidays do for us, whether they are of a religious nature or not, is give us guideposts for the year. Reasons to slow down and look around, to acknowledge the passage of time. And Imbolc, (or St. Brigid’s Day, or Candelmas, or Groundhog day, or Lupercalia, or the feast of Rut), is an important one.
A cross-quarter day: half way between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. A day to celebrate renewal, new beginnings, and to look ahead to spring. It may not be the darkest day, but it is often (at least where I live) the coldest.
So this weekend I will play indoors with my children, and dream of spring. I will plan my garden and bake cookies and watch the snow fall. And the wheel of the year will roll slowly onward. Happy Imbolc 🙂