Imbolc liminal space

Feb 06, 2023

Jan 27 , Written By Mari Kennedy

Imbolc or Imbolg  means “In the belly”

An old Irish word that refers to the ewe’s milk that comes in a month before the lambs are born in Spring. 

It speaks to the subtle signals that tell us new life is on the way before we see it. 

Mama nature does transition so gracefully; a lost art to us humans who consider ourselves separate to her.

Imbolc is one of four seasonal transitions in the Celtic Wheel.

A threshold of awakening 

out of dormancy,

an edge of emergence.

Liminal territory.

Transitions are in-between spaces we cross into at any threshold. We leave an old way, situation or circumstance but we haven’t quite fully inhabited a new way. 

We have one foot in the ‘old familiar normal’ and the other in a ‘new normal’ that has not fully taken shape yet.

We modern humans rarely acknowledge or honour transitions within or around us. 

We just don't have time! 

We seem to consider endings and beginnings as one beat. We race forward head long into the new beginning, mostly out of our need to control or our wanting to be rid of the old way.  

There is no time for transitioning. We rush and race, head thrust forward, as we reach and grasp for the next new shiny thing, so we will be the first and the best, addicted to certainty and control. 

There’s no time to take a breath

There’s no time to feel 

There’s no time to land, to lean back, to find ground and connect to nature's gentle pulse. 

No time to “dwell in possibilities”. Modernity rewards the masculine modes of being over the lost feminine modes of slow gentleness that is rooted in rhythms and cycles.

We have forgotten to trust the unseen, the underlying coherence of Divine intelligence, the flow of the Tao, the mysterious and the sacred. 

The ancient way of attuning to the seasons drops us into a different relationship with ourselves, with time and space.

We start to perceive the deeper rhythm of nature, 

never overly urgent but steady, 

never abrupt but fiercely dynamic, 

never edgy but elegantly circular. 

We get access to the nourishing rhythm and pace of nature, her ebb and flow, her full rounded sustaining pulse, her intelligence. 

It is such a relief to live like that. 

Our ancestors on this land lived the rhythms of nature and honoured transitions, thresholds, edges and the liminal in their cosmology. They held them as sacred portals.

Imbolc is a sacred portal from Winter to Spring. Yet it will be Spring Equinox before we really see the evidence and know Spring has fully arrived.

For the next month, new growth will slowly, gently, quietly emerge. Daylight will subtly expand at the edges of dawn and dusk. Birdsong will begin to surge. 

It's so very subtle at this threshold, that to catch it requires us to slow down. 

If we do, we will be gifted with moments of awe and delight that will  remind us that we too are nature. We will be gifted with an awakening to a barely perceivable pulsing rhythm in our bones

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