Today is February 2, at least for a few more hours. This period of February 1-3 is a pretty sacred time, I’ve found.
February 1 is the feast of St. Brigid, the great Irish goddess who became a Christian saint… you know, as you do. It’s also the beginning of Imbolc, a pagan festival at the cross-quarter of the year – we’re halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. This is when we start new things – we plant seeds (both in the soil and in our souls) and we begin looking forward to how they will harvest. (Farmers, gardeners and pilgrims alike are asking, “What do I want to harvest? What seeds do I need?”) It’s a time of setting intentions and celebrating new things and new life. How a groundhog ended up here is beyond my scope, although one site I read suggested it’s because the groundhog cautiously peeps it’s head out of the darkness to see what’s up, much like we might as the days begin to grow longer and we dare to hope for more light and more warmth.
Warmth has been hard to come by in recent days… as I write this, the wind is howling after a day of snow and ice. I could do for some warmth, but for now I’ll rejoice in the ever-growing light at the end of each day.
In the Christian calendar, February 2 brings us a variety of celebrations: the Purification of Mary, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and Candlemas, when we bless the candles we’ll use for the coming year.
To be honest, I was hardly aware of Candlemas creeping upon us – I’m solidly in the “wait, it’s February?” camp. But I think my soul was aware in some way, as I finished my #30daysofyoga challenge on January 31, and spent some time thinking about what the challenge had wrought in me. That’s another post, I think, but I made some positive choices over the last week. I finally made a neurologist appointment, with the hope of a better remedy for my increasingly difficult migraines. I outlined an essay I want to write. Through yesterday and today, I spent some time thinking about the seeds I want to plant and the weeds I want to get rid of before I plant. And one of the things I did seems superficial, but it was symbolic & helpful: I went through my Contacts on my phone and my list of “Facebook friends” and did some weeding. Some people are harmful for my spirit; some people I just haven’t contacted in a really long time, some I’ve satisfied my curiousity about their life, and I just don’t see the point in keeping the contact. In some cases, I kept the “friend” but hid their feed (and likewise added them to my restricted list.) And on my phone, I did something fun: I changed the names of some contacts so they didn’t seem so “sanitized” and “professional”, which is why my BFF’s last name is now “BFF” in my phone.
The little things bring me joy, it’s clear. (Speaking of little things: I’m up-to-date and current with the most recent episodes of Arrow and The Flash, and two episodes away from being current on my newest obsession, Jane the Virgin. Just in time for February sweeps. And last week I participated in the Sinceriously campaign that Stephen Amell created. I told you, little things.)
May the God who offers us endless compassion and forgiveness bless your newly planted seeds.
It’s not too late to plant some seeds — you can celebrate Tu B’Shevat, a Jewish festival celebrating The New Year for Trees, on February 4th this year. See, it’s a really sacred time!