There is a moment before Spring fully washes over us with its fresh smells, colorful flowers and heightened allergies in which an unseen nature begins to stir. Between the overt and the obvious, we find a more subtle, less observed world which holds its own special energies, themes, lessons and rituals. Familiarizing yourself with these "between spaces" can dramatically shift the way you interact with daily routines and relationships, and it all starts by enacting the simple practice of noticing.
We're all aware of the four major seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter -- and though our season's here in Northern California are less obvious, they exist in their own right. What many of us don't know is that four additional "seasons within the seasons" exist, each of which was deeply understood and known by our ancestors who depended upon this knowledge for survival. Reclaiming this information can lead us in discovering lost ancestral traditions and can help us tap into a more layered self-awareness. From this depth of understanding, an entangled web of mutually beneficial and dependent relationships is offered up for us to work with, both inside ourselves and out.
From the stark Winter, we blossom into Spring. The road that takes us through to that point is filled with micro shifts which happen moment to moment. You have to be paying close attention to notice these changes, most of which are more energetic than anything else. Imbolc, whose calendar date falls on February 2nd, marks what really is a mini season all of its own. It is the spark which ignites what will become the abundance of new life carried through Spring. This is the time when life starts to pull itself slowly from the cold embrace of Winter, and crawl towards the ever warming Spring Sunshine. It's a time of hope and wonder, and of seeing the world through beginners eyes. When we take the time to truly see and experience things through the lens of youthful optimism, it grants us access to endless possibility. This is what makes Imbolc the perfect time to set our intentions and resolutions for the year (and what makes doing these any earlier unfavorable). When we align ourselves to the season's in this way, our wishes -- our intentions, grow alongside the ascendant energy of all that is coming to fruition outside ourselves. The external happenings thus nurture and sustain us as we move concurrently with the natural flow of all things. When we drop into this rhythm -- a rhythm to which our body knows well and evolved alongside, we cultivate a foundation for a more sustainable and healthy life. It is the difference between fighting your way upstream, and going with the flow.
In practice, Imbolc is a great time to witness and honor all the small miracles of life; the new blades of grass pushing their way from the dirt or the dandelion that's managed to emerge from that crack in the concrete. A ritual that I like to do each year is create wishing ribbons. To make your own, get yourself an arms length piece of brightly colored ribbon. Take some time to sit down and write out all your practices, routines, habits and rituals. Write down your intentions or resolutions for the year, then take a moment to look back at the list of practices you wrote down and place a check mark next to the things which support what you're envisioning for 2018, and cross out the things that do not. Now, revisit your intentions and edit where necessary (sometimes working with these things in relationship to one other helps to clarify what it is we're really looking for). Look for the common themes that have emerge from working with your intentions/resolutions and choose 1-3 words which encapsulate the feeling you are wanting from the things you desire. My teacher Abby Tucker always says to focus on the overall feeling we're going for rather than the specific accomplishments or objects of our intentions, that way, we're able to expand the parameter of our intention to include possibilities beyond the narrow scope of our moment to moment desires. Or, like the Stones say, "you can't always get what you want, but you just might find, you get what you need." When we allow flexibility, we send out into the universe less "No" energy and more "Yes" goodness. Once you've done all this, write your words across the ribbon. And now comes the fun part! Pick a tree that calls to you. It can be one in your yard or in nature, and tie the ribbon securely onto one of its branches. The fresh air and wind of Spring will then brush across your ribbon and dance your wishes out into the world!