Imbolc: Completing the Shadow-Self

Brigid at Imbolc

Brigid at Imbolc

 Imbolc: Completing the Exploration of the Shadow-Self      by J.DeOya

Around the time of the Mabon celebration Pagans explore what is called the Darker-Self or the Shadow-Self. During Mabon, the end of September, the Sun is moving away from the Earth, and all of nature’s energies begin to hibernate and move within the Earth surface. The Earth begins to merge its resources and gathers power within even though the surface of the earth is still. This silent power building helps the vegetation of spring to burst with green vibrancy later. And, all life—be it animal vegetable or mineral—feeds from our planet’s regenerated power.  Again, this happens because the Earth uses the universal power of alchemy to gathers the fragments of the past (leaves, sunlight, mineral matter, rain and snow) to produce the brilliance that nature produces in the spring.

February 1st and 2nd is the Pagan celebration of Imbolc or sometimes spelled Imbolic. It is also known as Candlemas, and it celebrates the second of the 4 “Fire Festivals in the Pagan “Wheel of the Year”. Imbolc is also associated with the time period of lactation of ewes which signals the coming birth to the spring lambs. The word Imbolc actually means “In the belly.” During this time the Goddess transforms from the Crone to the Maiden aspect. Imbolc is the “quickening”—the stirring of the Earth’s energies just before the springing of vegetation and the birth of Earth’s animal life.

As Pagans we seek to follow the rhythm nature. During the fall and winter we use this dark time for introspective, evaluation and planning. We gather the fragments of the past; evaluate them and create plans to implement for spring. In a sense we practice alchemy. When going inward for introspection and evaluation we follow the path of the Dark goddess and seek the Shadow-Self. The Shadow-Self is the self that others do not often see or that we do not often show or talk about. It is the self that we do not see in ourselves until you are ready to do so.  When we travel our inner journey to the Shadow-Self our journey resembles the path of Inanna trek into the underworld and through the 7 veils, or it is similar to the abduction path of Persephone into the kingdom of Hades. We may also think of Oya as she travels within the Spirit World. After we evaluate our actions, events and outcomes of the past we make plans to bring a desired outcome in the future. In this we follow the teachings of Earth’s alchemy to bring forth creation during Imbolc. We complete our planning by continuing our mediations; and or journeying with spirit guides, and or following the wisdom of our Higher-Selves.  On Imbolc we have either completed our plans for the year or putting the finishing touches on them.

I Personally get excited this time of year. To me it marks a new journey, new beginning, new start and a continuation point of a never ending. Who doesn’t want another chance to get it right? Who doesn’t want a time of renewal? I think of Imbolc as my time of rebirth after journeying through the Dark Universe and being nurtured in the safety of its wisdom. It is the coming of what is lovingly called the “Fool’s Journey”. I seek to find the light of Imbolc at the end of the long dark tunnel I’ve traveled. My mission is now clear. I look forward to being reborn.

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