For the ancient Gaelic (Celtic) people, February 1 marks the beginning of Spring. In the Celtic calendar, this season is called Imbolc. It is around this time that the light of day is noticeably lengthening (which started at the Winter Solstice – Dec. 21) and something stirs in both the Earth and the Human Soul as the light begins to return. As is so very true in the Celtic Spiritual tradition, as in many other Earth aware spiritual perspectives, the physical world informs the inner spiritual life and therefore spirit and Nature are beautifully interwoven and inform one another.
The returning light wakes up a slumbering soul which has been resting and looking to inward realities during the winter months (the season of Samhain). The emotions of loss, death, and grief, as well as the intensity of gathering in close winter indoor quarters, begin to give way to feelings of hope, release, imagination, and new possibilities. “Letting go” gives way to “rising hope” for what is new and perhaps unexpected. The mystery of life renewing itself and the joy of what is to come begins again. And in spiritual language, God awakens hope again in the heart of grieving and dormant souls and calls us back into the light, warmth, and relational space with all the goodness of community and Creation. Referring to Christ, John writes, “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:3-5, NRSV)
As you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, notice a new bud pushing through the ground or snow, see the radiant green of new growth on bushes and trees, or wake to the beckoning call of returning birds, may you notice the impulse toward joy deep in your being and experience life after loss and fresh growth after a time of loneliness. That light and warmth and new possibility live in you.