Imbolc - celebrating the first signs of spring
Updated: Feb 14
We first starting seeing them at the very end of January...woven from reeds, twigs, and decorated with ivy, circular in nature and with crosses or corn-dolly type shapes at their centre. They appeared hanging from branches on the trees that look out across the Blackmore Vale, and on the hedges of the hill that looks to the Wilderness. More appeared on gates, and in shelters. Strangely beautiful, clearly handcrafted, and definitely referencing something - but what?
A quick search told us it was related to imbolc (pronounced 'im'olk'), an early ritual to celebrate the coming of spring, and the pagan goddess Brigid (in charge of inspiration for the year ahead), also known as St Brigid's Day. Imbolc is traditionally celebrated at the start of February, and marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. It reminds us that the light is changing, new growth is appearing, and that the months ahead will be warmer and more fruitful.
Someone has clearly taken great joy in creating these celebrations of imbolc (we have yet to find out who - despite much local intrigue), and care has been taken in their placement. There are many along our favourite Pine Walk - twisting and turning in the breeze above the snowdrops that have appeared this month.
They were joined this week by some new decorations, with twists of red, and heart shapes. With Valentine's Day upon us, and no ability to sit cheek by jowl in busy restaurants with 'romantic' set menus, there's a new opportunity instead to get out into the cold air and walk, and see how many you can spot. We're seeing different ones every day, and appreciate the work that has gone into them.
There's definitely something special about Shaftesbury. Perhaps it's the idea that it sits on an important ley line with Glastonbury, apparently in the 'heart' chakra. Whether you believe or not that our location is associated with the qualities of love, compassion, giving and forgiving, it's clear that it's full of creative and caring people. And that works for us.