Snowdrops are my favourite flower. When I was very little, I found one in the garden about this time of year, and Mum told me it meant spring was coming. It's a treasured memory, revisited again and again.
I learnt this morning that 'Imbolc', the celebration of the start of spring, means 'in the belly' or 'in the womb'. It's a celebration of light returning to the skies - "It's 7.30am and there's sunlight!" as the exuberant DJ announced this morning. It's the promise of resurgence of life after the cold death of the winter. Life in waiting, sap rising. Expectant quickening.
I learnt last night that Tu Bi Shevat was this week too - sunset on 30th January until sunset yesterday. I hadn't heard of it before, the Jewish 'New Year of the Trees', or, as it was described to me, the trees' birthday. I love the idea that trees get a birthday. The day they start waking. We drank a glass of wine to celebrate.
Imbolc is associated with the goddess and saint Brigid/Bridget. Fire and light. Sun and snowdrops. Wiccan tradition lights white and green candles.
It's a day of hope - spring and life and sunlight. Rebirth and new beginnings. I have a lot of hope for the year ahead.
Wish me luck!