At the beginning of February, when the earth appears frozen and lifeless, there are stirrings below the surface and above us in the sky. The light is returning; today there is nearly an hour more daylight than there was on the Winter Solstice.
Mid-January through mid-February is when the Great Horned Owls begin breeding and nesting. While the rest of us look out at the wintry landscape here in North Central Blogistan – and wait for spring, the owls are already beginning their nesting year.
(Don’t forget to hover* …)
The mother Great Horned Owl will sit on her eggs for about a month. The newly born owlets will stay in the nest for about 6 weeks (until around the Spring Equinox), then move to nearby branches where they start the serious business of learning how to fly. By Summer Solstice, they will be competent flyers and will learn to hunt and fend for themselves although they often stay with their parents until fall.
The pagan holiday of Imbolc is celebrated between January 30th and February 2nd. This cross-quarter marks the mid-point between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and with it comes the promise of the light and more: the stirrings of life that remind us of the cycle of the earth.
We should start preparing ourselves for spring physically and mentally. Life will get busier and this may be one of our last chances to contemplate what we want for the new cycle. Goals for personal growth, new beginnings, dreams for the future and connections to one another.
To all my pagan friends, Blessed Imbolc! And to everyone, may the light find you and bring you the warmth of the early spring and the promise of new beginnings.
This post is a rerun, with revised dates, because the holidays – and their celebratory posts – are on an infinite loop … or more precisely, the Wheel of The Year. ;)
*Hover text for those on tablets and smartphones:
– Nesting Mother: “Owl take that cup of coffee now.”
– “I’m not cold … I’m not cold … I’m not cold”
– “Breakfast? I’ll have my eggs hover easy”
– “Don’t laugh! It’s quite warm under all this fuzz.”
– “Mommmm!! He touched me!!!!”
– “‘I rejoice that there are owls…. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have. ‘ ~ Henry David Thoreau”
– “‘Less flapping, more flying!’ ~ Silvia Hartmann”
– “‘You wanna fly, you got to give up the sh-t that weighs you down.’ ~ Toni Morrison”
On a day that, for me, begins with the temperature hovering(!) around 0, it is difficult to imagine Spring. But we have nearly an hour more daylight since Solstice and the owls behind my house are definitely whooing in the early morning. The wheel of the year turns at a steady pace and the promise of the light – and spring – will be met.
Blessed Imbolc to all!
Imbolc blessings right back at you, Jan! Greatly enjoyed reading this. Aren’t snowy owls beautiful? Well, owl owls are beautiful, but especially the snowy ones.
One of my fellow priestesses is crazy about owls and her house is filled with replicas of them. The owl is associated with the Goddess Athena, so I gave a little owl necklace to my grown-up granddaughter, who appears to be wise beyond her years.
Spring is on the way but there is plenty of winter to enjoy too.
Happy Imbolc – time to plant in some areas, time to think of what to plant in others. Usually right around Imbolc we have a “soft” morning, not warm but a South wind that touches lightly and reminds us that the warmth is coming. We had that about 10 days ago – “global warming” maybe? – but most certainly do not today. Maybe tomorrow – we’re not through the Imbolc celebration yet. :) But definitely more light and Light – and definitely time to renew the connection with Brigid by whatever name and spelling. Blessed Be.