This evening through ’til tomorrow evening is Imbolc (also known as Candlemas, Imbolg, and Brigid’s Day), which marks the half way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, and it signifies the transition from winter into the first stirrings of spring. This holiday is about life renewing, but in the hidden darkness of cold months and dark earth. Deep in the darkness seeds stir and roots begin to feel the warming of the earth as the days grow longer and nights shorter. Life awakens, invisible in its infancy.
Like with new moons and full moons, I usually do a spread to check in with myself and give myself some direction for the next couple of months for each solstice, equinox, and other Sabbats. This spread is an adaptation of my Self Care Saturday spread, so there are sure to be some similarities in how it is read. The focus of this spread, though, is not about Self Care, but rather about progress and my path. The time period is also longer, reaching through the next handful of weeks until the celebration of the upcoming Spring Equinox at the end of March.
Theme of the Season – Imbolc, Waning Gibbous Moon, Aesculus Hippocastanum
Imbolc is a time of life reawakening and the sweet stirrings that are not yet seen but will soon come forth to greet the sun. It is a time of hope, rest, and awakening, and is considered the very first whisper of the spring to come.
The Waning Gibbous Moon is a time of decline. This is the time when one rides the peak of the full moon’s power into it’s decrease. Spell craft done on the full moon will stretch forward into the energy of the gibbous moon, providing it the power needed to begin influencing those things we set to change on that full moon night. Now is a time to reflect on your achievements with gratitude for all that has been gained and accomplished.
The Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) are a magical representation of the fertility of the divine masculine, and are often used in spells that have to do with luck, especially of the monetary abundance sort. It is an astringent, an anti-inflammatory, and contains saponins, which means that it can be used to make soap and other cleaning products. It should not be ingested, though, as this nut is toxic to humans, causing stomach upset, kidney problems, muscle twitching, weakness, loss of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis, and stupor when ingested. In other words… don’t eat the soap, dumbass.
When looking at these three cards together, the theme that I see here has to do with taking this time of rest and quiet to purge out the negative and that which is not serving you with practices of gratitude and self care. Acknowledge your accomplishments and allow a little bit of pride to flourish as you wash away the negativity with positive reinforcement and an attitude of gratitude and hope.
Earth – Nine of Swords – In the darkness of the depression you find yourself in, you twist and turn restlessly and seek release from the chains darkness has bound you in. Remember that even the seed must spend time in the dark before it can emerge to greet the sun. Don’t fuss so much. Pause and allow yourself to take a breath. Adding extra worries and anxieties to the experience won’t make it any more pleasant, nor usher it to move on more quickly.
Air – Three of Swords – This darkness you find yourself in naturally drags forward feelings of disappointment and damning thoughts of degradation. Look up and allow the rain to wash you clean. You are going through a trial and you need to work at keeping the negative thoughts from taking over.
Water – Nine of Wands – Don’t close up. Don’t close off. These things will not serve you well and aren’t healthy. The depression always makes it tempting to put up walls and go on the defensive but you’ve been doing well at keeping those unhealthy habits in check. Better to allow the air to flow in and your breath to flow out. Your emotions need an outlet to help things stay on an even keel.
Fire – Knight of Wands – Following the theme of the other cards in this reading, this Knight has arrived to tell you what not to do. Do not charge forward. Do not bear down in your focus and end up closing out the outside world and the influence of others as a result. Do not allow yourself to find escape in work… for that escape is not going to foster you in any ways that matter in this moment when it is your mental health that needs your focus… not your work.
Waning – Light – You’re not going to be getting a lot of clarity this week, and hope might be a bit of a challenge. Feeling as if you are at a standstill is a natural part of what you’re going through right now, and that can create a sense of hopelessness.
Waxing – The Stargazer – Patience is going to play an important role in moving forward over the next few weeks. Not everything can be taken on like a warrior charging into battle, sometimes it is about patiently working towards where you want to be one small step at a time. The cake still gets eaten whether you nibble at it and savor each bite, or wolf it down on a gluttonous inhale.
Take Away – Don’t worry. Don’t thrash. Don’t fight too vigorously or try to charge through the abyss with force. This moment in your journey is about patience and slow progress. It’s about gratitude and doing what you can to foster hope within the darkness. Have patience with yourself… you’ll get there in time.