On the Spirit of Imbolc

By some traditional, agrarian reckonings, the point in early February halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox marks the beginning of spring. This occasion has been celebrated by certain peoples of northwestern Europe as Imbolc, a name which may refer to the pregnancy of ewes around this time of year. Reform Pagans call this sabbat Spring Eve, and we take this opportunity to reflect on themes of openness, purification, and resolve.

Approaching Nature and our experience of human life in it with a commitment to openness is, for Reform Pagans, nonnegotiable. Openness requires that we relax our tight grip on ideas and opinions and hold them with a light touch—our spirituality must become experimental, even playful. We must grow comfortable with ambiguity and possibility rather than certainty, resisting the comforts of indulgence in hyperrational reductionism. We must learn to valorize aporia and change.

Such openness goes hand in hand with purification: When we have made ourselves truly, honestly open to new perspectives, then we can find detachment from stale metaphysical labels, from familiar worldviews and lifeways. In humility rather than conceit, we can muster the courage to engage in self-criticism, not merely willing to reexamine our tired categories and dismantle our ossified paradigms, whether ancient or modern, but withal prepared to relinquish whatever notions be consumed when exposed to the fire of ineffable Truth. Renouncing fear of the strange and the unknown, we may claim a new, transrational theology tethered only to our experience of essential humanity in Nature.

And when we have thus made ourselves open and pure, possessed of the heart and mind of a seeker, then we can resolve our spirits for a pilgrimage and quest that leads along paths heretofore undiscovered. Sometimes this journey presents us with danger and discomfort. But recalling the pregnancy of ewes at Imbolc, we maintain our resolve, recognizing these difficulties as but the birth pains of the transformation of self and society.

With much love and many bright blessings always,
And particularly on this occasion of Spring Eve,
Your kindred spirits at PaganRenewal.org

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