In The Belly

published on Jan 31, 2022

In the belly. That is the literal meaning of the word "Imbolc," which holy day is February 1 or 2, depending how you calculate. It refers to the time of year when the lambs are in the bellies of the ewes. It is a time of potentiality.

In the belly.

That is the literal meaning of the word "Imbolc," which holy day is February 1 or 2, depending how you calculate.

It refers to the time of year when the lambs are in the bellies of the ewes. It is a time of potentiality.

Imbolc also marks the end of the darkest quarter of the year.

It is when, around here, crocuses are starting to bloom and daffodils are showing their heads. It is also time to plant the first seeds or, if you're in a colder clime, to place your seed catalog orders.

It has always been a favorite holy day for me. Winter is hard. Christmas always feels falsely cheerful, like we're just lighting lights to fight off the inevitable descent of cold and dark. Winter Solstice feels more real and authentic to me, but it is still a holy day I greet with resignation, as the start of a time that I find challenging.

Not to say that dark and cold don't have their own beauty and necessity. Rest, introspection, going within, cocooning - these are all valuable and important things.

But let's be real here - I still play favorites and winter is not it.

Kinda like, I know hard times are important for growth (dunno who designed that user interface but they should be fired) yet I still don't prefer them.

I've been through some hard times lately, y'all. Last year was a mess. We've all been through some hard times. It's just... It's just a hard time right now.

But Imbolc is a promise. It's a promise that Spring always returns. The light always comes back.

It teaches that the seeds of Spring are in the belly of winter.

Winter, when acorns sprout where they can and wait for snow melt to give them what they need to begin the next generation of oak trees. Winter, when fireflies rest as eggs beneath the soil waiting for sun and warmth to wake them up to light the summer nights. Winter, when mammals huddle in dens and scrapes and houses, reading and resting and longing, waiting for the sun to return and wake us up to life again.

Winter, as a metaphor - winter, when everything feels like it's falling apart. Winter, when birdsong has become drowned by traffic noise and stars drowned by city lights. Winter, when oceans are clogged with garbage and forests razed to the ground for profit. Winter, when the very earth who gives us sustenance is groaning for relief, starved and straining, her guts laid open by machines to fuel the greed of a few at the expense of all. Winter, when grief clogs our sinuses and blocks our voices.


In the belly of winter - are the seeds of Spring.

That is the promise of Imbolc, and it is a true promise.

We are entering Imbolc this year in an energy that is unlike any I've felt before.

It feels like it's not just Imbolc for this year - it's Imbolc for everything. This is Imbolc for the world, for the times that we are passing through.

Many indigenous elders have prophesied a time when a people will rise up who will help us return to a right relationship with the earth, back to our roots but in a new way that is even more beautiful, more wondrous than before.

Robin Youngblood , who is one of my teachers, shared a teaching from Crazy Horse passed down to her from her Okanagan elders, as part of the vision of the Ghost Dance. In the vision, it was seen that there would come a time when the red people would rise again and dance the world back to remembering. Later, he saw that the "red people" meant not only those of Indian blood, but all of those who choose to live in love instead of fear.

I believe that time is upon us, and the people is us.

I believe this is the winter that holds the seeds of Spring in its belly.

I feel this on a personal level. I feel it on a cultural level. And I feel it on a world level.

The time has come. We are in the belly of winter. We are the seeds. Our love is what will save us.

If you wish to celebrate Imbolc, there are lots of places to find ceremonies of all sorts. But if you wish to keep it simple, it really can be simple - just a candle in the dark, or a seed in a pot of soil, or - a promise, to yourself, to live in love, not fear. To BE the seed in the belly of winter.

It's really that simple.

Blessed Imbolc, my friends.

fen pic

Fen Druadìn

Fen Druadìn (they/them) is anamchara, storyteller, dragon, student of trees, and a breaker of generational curses.

Fen's mission here is to love and remember themself completely, connect deeply with the world, and help others do the same for themselves.

Fen connects deeply with the universe through their relationship with a sacred land in the Appalachians of North Carolina, and shares messages here and elsewhere. When not in the woods, they can be found on Facebook and Patreon.

If you feel led and are able, you can support Fen's work in any of these ways:

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You can also contribute to the work of reconnecting with yourself and the world in any or all of these ways:

  • Stand in front of a mirror, look in your eyes, and say, "I love you." Repeat daily for as long as it takes
  • Send your love to the trees and stones and water and Earth
  • Spend time in quiet meditation with a plant or stone person, and listen for messages
  • Clean up litter in your neighborhood and/or engage in other acts of environmental restoration
  • Build a personal relationship with the plants and animals in your area by spending time with them and listening for their messages and responding to their needs
  • Reconnect with your own strength and power and truth via meditative practice such as yoga, guided meditation, chanting, drumming, dance, or any other tool that feels right and helps you ground and connect
  • Engage in this community and/or other communities committed to re-establishing our right relationship with ourselves and the earth

Wherever you are, on your journey and in your life, may you be well, may you be at peace, and may you always find the next good step.

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