Feb 1, 2016
I've been struggling with these rituals since I started the Dedicant's Path, requiring me to do every damn high day ritual or face starting the whole thing over again. The doing them is fine - the doing them is soothing and fulfilling, even when not entirely transporting. But the getting around to doing them...well, that's much harder.

I keep thinking that this isn't the right time, that if I just had more time to prepare, more time to spend on the work, it would be so much better. This is a flaw in my psychology I'm very aware of; I always feel like now is not the right time. And I always feel so much better when it's done anyway.

This is the first Imbolc I've celebrated in several years; that small victory is not enough, but it is something. While my first favorite pagan holiday was Samhain, once I settled into my practice a little more, Imbolc took pride of p
lace. It's perfectly timed: a month after the secular bustle of late December holidays have settled down, but well before actual spring, it gives you something to look forward to in the dead of winter. It's a promise, that it will get better.

(I never understood Imbolc as First Spring until I was in Ireland in the winter of 2004/2005. It really is spring in the beginning of February in Ireland. Everything is green. Tiny flowers are blooming. Lambs are, there is no other word for it, gamboling in the fields. We don't have the same climate here in Chicago, but the slow brightening of the sky is - well, it's not nothing.)

But more importantly, Imbolc is the feast of my patron goddess, Brigit, Lady of the Flames, keeper of the hearth and the forge and the poetic fire. She is one of the greatest teachers I have ever had, and a source of unwavering support through the darkest times in my life. I have been feeling her presence in my life very strongly of late; I've been creating in new ways, feeling the fire of inspiration like I haven't felt in years. So it felt right and good to honor her, this unnaturally warm February evening.

"Cups10". Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia -
I burned a painting I'd done in sacrifice to Brigit. It was one of the most powerful sacrifices I've made, because I didn't want to do it. The painting came out much better than I'd hoped and I liked it, but I knew it was hers by right. I had meant to have some other Work in my ritual, something else to honor her, but I didn't have everything ready and I knew that if I didn't do the ritual tonight, I'd let it slip away and miss it entirely. And after all, the painting seemed enough. (And I could not have asked for a better blessing in return - as my omen from the gods, I drew the Ten of Cups.)

I felt a connection in this ritual that I had been struggling for when I started this practice, back in Samhain. It doesn't feel like I've done enough; I haven't done nearly what I usually do for Imbolc. But it is something, and it is more than the nothing I've done so far this year. I think I will stretch out the holiday with a good spring clean this upcoming weekend, and a loaf or two of fresh bread as well. Poetic fire is all well and good, but it's the hearthfire that keeps us alive.

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