ADF Dedicant Path: Fifth High Day Essay (Winter Cross-Quarter)
The Winter Cross-Quarter is most commonly known as Imbolc among Neopagans. At this time of year, we can finally begin to see the effects of the Sun’s return. The Earth is awakening from her Winter slumber and the first signs of spring can be seen. This is the High Day of new beginnings. It is time to put in motion plans made during Yule for the coming year.
Solomoþ (or Ewemeolc) is the Anglo-Saxon holy tide associated with the February cross-quarter. Solmonaþ refers to the month of February. The word “sol” is variably translated as mud, cakes, or sun. Bede translates it as “cakes” due to the seasonal tradition of offering cakes to the gods, particularly to the Earth Mother (Eorðe). Ewemeolc refers to the lactation of the ewe’s which usually took place in early February (Albertsson, 157).
This is the time of year when the Saxon (and most indo-European) pagans began preparing for the planting season. To that end, a “Charming of the Plough” ritual took place, during which ploughs would be brought out from storage and blessed to ensure bountiful crops.
Modern traditions for Imbolc include spring cleaning and lighting a candle in every room of the house to celebrate the returning light of the sun. Most Neopagans honor the Celtic goddess, Bride (or Brigid) on this day and it is customary to leave out a piece of cloth by the hearth overnight for Her to bless.
Albertsson, Alaric. Travels through Middle Earth: The Path of a Saxon Pagan. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2009. Print.
(End of DP essay)
As for my personal relationship with this holiday, it’s undergoing some changes. I never much cared for February. I often get seasonal depression in Spring. February may still look and feel like winter in most of the places I have lived, but I am most affected by time spent in anticipation. I love anticipating autumn and the winter holidays much more than living through them. Does that even make sense? I tend to live my life in the future. Yes, I know, bad, bad. I always hear how important it is to live in the present, and I have been making efforts to do so. However, I don’t exactly “not” appreciate the present. I don’t look to the future because I would rather be there (well, OK, I’ve been guilty of that a time or two), I like the feeling of the future in the present air. I love the present because I can feel what’s coming, and that feeling only exists in the present.
Anyway, February feels like Spring is coming. And Spring has never been my favorite season. It’s muddy. It’s slushy. If there was a lot of snow the previous winter, there is probably going to be a lot of flooding as it melts. And the bugs! Ugh the bugs. Yeah, ok, bad on me again for not loving the bugs. I love them from a distance. I try to be nice to them. I have a bugzooka for transporting them (alive) to the outside. But ugh, the sound of flies inside all year long because one or two inevitably sneaks in at some point during our comings and goings. Having to constantly shake out my shoes to make sure there’s nothing creeping in them. My terrible phobia of wasps…
Nevertheless, I have new ambitions for this spring time, so I am almost looking forward to it. I am going to plant my first garden! ٩(^ᴗ^)۶ And, with my husband’s help, I am going to make the back yard look more like the sacred space it is. I will be performing my own mini blessing ritual to prepare the garden tools and hopefully ward them against my not so green thumb. 🙂 Speaking of which, that little Money tree I bought last summer is still alive. 😮 I am off to a good start already :p