Brighid's Thaw

by Maria Ede-Weaving

Imbolc is finally and thankfully upon us. It is traditionally seen as a festival of inspiration; it certainly feels a relief to be anticipating those first green shoots after a long, cold winter. And yet, the irresistible sense of anticipation felt as the year gradually accelerates can lead to many a false start when we realise that the chill still nips at us; that our energy still curls in upon itself, not yet fully awake to its own imminent renewal.

It is the time of snowdrops, their delicate blossoms deceptively resilient and hardy. They are the tenderness of all new beginnings; the toughness underlying life’s desire to experience itself. I can feel the quickening strongly and yet I also feel my own slowness; my own winter pace, heavy as upon waking from a long sleep. The year breaks us in gently, Brighid’s palms cupped tenderly around the spark that will soon ignite our inner resurgence.

Brighid comes with her warmth and energy and quickens the seeds of our new life; she comes with the life-giving heat of her fire to thaw all that is frozen and trapped within us; she comes with the melting release of her healing waters, cleansing away the staleness of our spirits, the winter debris of our hearts. She is the liberation of the land from winter’s grip; freeing us from our own stagnation. She is the bright spark of life and inspiration that burns in us all; the hearth fire at the centre of our homes and hearts, sustaining and warming – a place to gather and draw inspiration, nourishment and comfort. She is also the fire of passion that animates our creativity that we may create our world anew; that we too may become the spring.

In this spirit, I leave you with a poem for Imbolc and hope that the first tender shoots break through those icy coverings of stagnation, that you surrender your winter stasis to the quickening…

Winter had settled over me,
The frost sealing my eyes, my mouth;
My bones as ice,
Stilled
Beneath frozen water.
You came
And planted your sun like a seed in me,
Warm,
Precious,
Pearl of light,
And my being became the song of snow-melt,
A river-burst of birdsong
Rising.

At your touch my body is a garden
Of snowdrops;
This tender blooming
The greening of my soul.

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