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For many, especially in my native New England, the long winter months are difficult. We don’t get to see much sunshine because we are in the office all day, and even if we have free time, often it’s too cold to go outdoors. This is the time of year when we naturally want to hibernate by staying home, resting and relaxing. Unfortunately, we do not always have the opportunity to stay in and rest like Mother Nature would like, so many of us end up with colds, flus or otherwise feel fatigued. Why not honor yourself at Imbolc with a special retreat designed to rekindle your energy for the coming spring? . . .
Just as the moon cycles through its phases thirteen times a year, from waxing to full to waning to dark again, so do the sun and earth cycle through their phases together in one year. Beginning at Yule, for us here in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun enters the waxing phase, but the increase in daylight is gradual. The days begin to get longer and the nights slowly become shorter. There is still a lot of darkness (and cold depending on where you live). Imbolc marks the point when the light really seems like it’s returning, and if you look and listen carefully, you can sense the humming of the Earth as she makes her preparations for the Spring. . . .
What does this waxing phase mean to us and how can we use this time to honor ourselves? . . .
Well, consider the waxing moon time of the month. This energetically corresponds to the end of a woman’s bleeding and detoxing time. During this period, we usually have a lot of energy because we have finished a natural detox of our bodies and we are renewed. The waxing moon energy is about beginnings, optimism and the energy to make anything possible. The waxing moon corresponds to the Amazon archetype - a young woman/warrior with her whole life ahead of her. She is full of possibilities, and she has the energy, the self-esteem, the power, the confidence and the belief to make her dreams come true. . . .
In the solar picture, during this waxing time of the year, we can honor ourselves by invoking the Amazon within. Set aside some time just for you to do the things you love and enjoy. Access your inner spontaneity and do something you haven’t done in years, that makes you feel free and youthful! Visualize yourself as a warrior - someone with the confidence, power, and energy to accomplish your heart’s desire. Even if you don’t feel like a warrior, spend some time daydreaming or fantasizing to help bring your passionate, energetic self into focus. Consider this meditation, from the Book of Shadows of the Griffin Grove Inn, to rekindle your connection with your inner power:
I am the cup, the chalice of life
Ever filled, ever flowing
Molded by what I hold, shaping what I pour
I am the waters of creation
I am the sword, giver of death and spring
Ever sharp, ever piercing
Edged by what is true, cutting what is not
I am the fires of rebirth
I am the salt, purifier of the earth
Ever seasoned, ever healing
Birthed by what is rock, growing with the world
I am the spice of mother
I am the censor, keeper of the air
Ever fresh, ever blowing
Scented by what I touch, moving with my will
I am the winds of change.
While I’ve got your attention, I also encourage you to honor yourself during the drudgery of the middle of winter, by tending to your body. Although there are not a lot of fresh, seasonal foods in the colder climates, we are lucky in that we can usually find imported items from the warmer parts of the country or the world. Try giving yourself a bit of a nourishing cleanse to help your body release some of the excesses that we all tend to take in over the winter holiday season. . . .
Eat fresh fruit daily, dig into those hardy greens, cooking them lightly, and fill up on all the hardy vegetables you can find in your market. Try taking this time to eliminate - for good or for a period of time - a few of the foods, drinks, or habits that keep you from achieving wellness: sugar, coffee or fried foods. But, don’t forget at this time of year to keep warm; we need building foods like whole grains and legumes. Get creative and try a few new recipes to spice up the doldrums of winter - using spices like curry, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and thyme. . . .
Rekindle your energy by going to the gym, and going for hikes or walks when the weather permits. Make time to rekindle your inner fire by stretching, dancing, and moving around joyfully! Now is the time to add some tai chi, yoga, martial arts, or pilates into your life - whatever makes you feel youthful, strong and well! . . .
Whatever you do, make sure that it FEELS GOOD to you. The easiest way to honor yourself is to live a joyful life. . . .
Many Blessings to you! May your inner Fire burn brightly!