Turning back toward daylight.
Our New Moon comes on Tuesday, February 1st - together with Imbolc this year!
Perhaps I’m not alone; maybe you, too, have found this winter to be especially weighty. Possibly, it’s just me, because it’s been freezing here in Atlantic Canada this winter. 😜
It’s an integral part of the cycle, though. We began our descent in Scorpio season through Samhain and have reached the depths of our withdrawal into the shadow.
We need these retreats and exploration to incorporate what we learned through the growth seasons and to learn to embrace what lies beneath the surface. The metaphor of the butterfly in the cocoon feels more vital than ever this season.
Wrapped up and resting, we create a space of rest and retreat – but this doesn’t mean the growth has stopped, far from it. Rest also creates growth. It provides time for healing and integration. We require stillness, just as we require sleep.
Cross-Quarter, New Moon, and The Turning Of The Wheel
February’s New Moon falls on the 1st, as does Imbolc (Candlemas, Dísablót)—a cross-quarter sabbat that celebrates the stirring of spring. This is where we round the corner and see the return of the sunlight.
Where I live, it will be a couple of months still before the ground sings of spring. (Or we even see it) Our most temperamental storms are yet to come here… ironically, I started writing this earlier in the week, and now as I am finishing we are in the middle of a powerful blizzard.
But still, we know we are rounding the corner.
This new moon births the Snow Moon, also known as the Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, or less commonly, Chaste Moon (this is more commonly the name for the March moon – geography and tradition play a role in the names).
Our last new moon had strong themes of beginnings, and the same is true for this one. This year, our opportunities to end old cycles and begin new ones seems stronger than ever. The themes are tightly linked this year.
Cross-Quarter Turning Points
Through our personal practices and traditions, the way we celebrate the wheel of the year is beautifully diverse. Personally, I don’t hold strong to any one set of traditions, preferring instead to look at the overlap. This might be due to my varied ancestry, and not feeling a singular overriding connection. Rather, I like to honour aspects of each. This is only important to note as I’m sharing what is really a personal practice. As many say, take what works for you and leave the rest.
Many cultures celebrate cross-quarter timings in their own way, whether they are directly linked to the concept of the wheel. It seems, humanity has long understood that the mid-point of the season is worthy of celebration, too.
If you’re unfamiliar, a cross-quarter is simply the mid-point between equinoxes, or solstices. In many Pagan traditions, these are fire festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas/Lughnasadh, Samhain).
In my practice, I use them as turning points toward the next season. From here until Ostara (spring, or vernal equinox), I will begin my ascent back from my shadows. Charting my course and priorities through the bustle of the green growth seasons.
The Correspondences listed in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences for Imbolc/Imbolg/Candlemas/Oimelc are:
Solar System: Moon
Moon Phase: Waxing
Colours: Green, Pink, White, Yellow
Trees: Blackthorn, Cedar, Rowan, Sycamore
Misc Plants: Grain, Reed
Herb & Garden: Angelica, Basil, Blackberry/Bramble
Gemstones: Amethyst, Turquoise
Goddesses: Arianrhod, Atria, Athena, Brigid, Dan, Gaia, Inanna, Juno, Selene, Vesta
The lamb, milk, and ‘in the belly’ are often mentioned relating to Imbolc celebrations. It’s a gestational time, a space before the bustle of life.
This year, in planning and preparing for the new moon and Imbolc convergence – I stood in front of my magical herb cupboard and heard the simplest message.
“Nourish… Rest… Lighten.”
An End Of Winter Preparation Ritual
The perfect bath comes to mind.
Set the scene with candles set in salt and surrounded with bay leaves (if you have them) or sprinkle basil around.
Meditate on the Star and the Fool. The Star is your beacon, the spark of light returning to the sky. It asks you where your hope is, and points you toward it. The Fool, still partially in its cocoon – peeks out and looks at the world around, over the edge of this comfortable place – preparing to leap. This leap, we’ll take in the spring. This is the long, slow, steadying inhale as we come up from our hibernation…gently. We re-open our minds to possibility.
The bath is simple, comforting, and nourishing.
Allow the imagery of the cards to swirl in your mind – this is a space to daydream – not to act.
1/2 cup honey – to nourish and sooth
1/4 cup lavender – to comfort and relax
1-2 cups of milk (oat milk is a great vegan substitute and great for the skin)
A few slices of citrus fruit – whatever is affordable or easily accessible for you is fine. It’s for the brightness and cleansing qualities.
After your bath, spend some time journalling about what came up for you. Whatever images or dreams, hopes or plans, emotions or memories were sparked with the mediation and the bath.
Ready to take the adventure further?
This year is the year for truly writing the tale.
And this is your invitation to join me.
I’ll be sending out a few invitations over the next couple of weeks to a guided exploration through the Likely Tarot and the Spread-book. You’ll join a weekly series of prompts and spreads to help you write the most empowering version of your tale – the one that comes from the heart of your soul. We might even have some workshops included!
We’ll use story to step into our power. Are you in?