Lots of people have been talking about the Imbolc/sheep/in the belly/of the milk thing recently, and also bemoaning that early February doesn’t seem much like “Spring”. I think I might be able to sort this out a little bit.

First off, a sign of impending Spring doesn’t mean that Spring is here now, it means that Spring is on its way. If you look, you can see signs that let you know that it won’t be long until it’s Spring. Here’s where the sheep come in. Sheep typically give birth in the Northern Hemisphere in March. In February, the pregnant ewes start developing the mammary tissue that they’ll need to support their lambs once they’re born. The lambs aren’t here yet, Spring isn’t here. Yet there’s a tiny hint in the changes in the ewes’ bellies to let you know warmer times are on the way.

If you’re a gardener, it’s like having peat pots in the greenhouse. You know the seeds are in there. You can’t see them, but you water them and care for them and keep them warm and safe until it’s time to put the seedlings out. There’s something truly delightful in those early days. It’s liminal time, when anything is possible and the world holds its breath for a moment in expectation of things to come.

Liminal time can be uncomfortable because it’s neither one thing nor the other. These are very powerful moments. You can learn a lot in liminal moments, or you can rush through them as quickly as possible to try to minimize the discomfort. There is great possibility for communing with the Divine in liminal times. And really, no amount of rushing or fussing will make Spring come faster.

Happy Imbolc!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. greywren
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 12:39:35

    Hey, thanks for posting this! I’ve been thinking a lot about Imbolc myself, though where I’m at, one could almost believe spring is around the corner. Anyway, thanks to you, I’ll be thinking about this as a liminal time as I prepare for my ritual tomorrow, and I think that will have a good influence on my ritual-writing.


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