IMBOLC: Festival of Awakening and Rebirth

I’m sure I’m not the only one glad to see the back of January! What’s felt like an exceedingly long, gloomy month is actually the month of my birth – but with countless childhood memories of snowed off birthday parties and being gifted too many unwanted Christmas presents, let’s just say – January has never been my favourite month! So the arrival of February comes as a welcome delight, for it bears the promise of renewal, great hope and the stirrings of new life. It’s for these reasons I love to honour the celtic celebration of IMBOLC at the beginning of February.

Known as the Festival of awakening and rebirth, Imbolc marks the beginning of spring and the outer growth phase on the The Wheel of the Year as earth begins to reawaken from her winter slumber. Prompted by the returning fire of the sun, sap begins to stir, buds start swelling and bulbs begin pushing up through the earth – full of hidden potential. It may still be dark and cold outside but it really is a wonderful time of renewed hope and inspiration, a welcome reminder that spring is well on its way.


My favourite way of celebrating earth’s cycles and festivities is through creativity. Using art is a powerful way to experience the energies first hand, and to deeply embody the transformative power of natures cycles. I often speak of Nature being the greatest teacher,  and it is through art that I seem to anchor these lessons on ever deeper levels. This painting is an expression of the energies of Imbolc and the invaluable lessons it brings.

Imbolc ©Emma Tuzzio
Imbolc ©Emma Tuzzio

This painting is a reflection of this time of awakening and rebirth. Here we see the upward rising energy spiralling out of the earth; a stirring of the life-force, which initiates a time of new beginnings. The energy is turning from the dark depths of Winter and the inner world, to an outward manifestation of the conscious world. The life force is pulsating up thorugh the darkness of the earth, towards the yellow-green colour representing hope and potential, symbolic of the light at the end of the tunnel.

I was inspired by the swelling buds on the tree’s, full of potential after their time germinating in the dark dormancy state of winter.  These signs of life’s renewal provide hope as we witness how growth arises from the ashes of last years death. The decaying leaf matter and the darkness of dormancy, provided fertile ground for life to spring forth. For me this highlights how transformation is possible from the inside out, when we bring the wisdom gained from our inner journey into outer manifestation.

We may also recognize that the same latent potential that lies within the contracted bud, also exists deep within each of us, germinating within our inner realms. Just as the bud springs forth from the darkness, and…

 “Just as the seed contains the blueprint for the entire tree – they can awaken in us a sense of hope and anticipation for all the potential that lies within us” ~ anon

You can see my complete set of paintings based on the seasonal change of the Wheel of the Year here.


Author unknown
Author unknown

With the descent of darkness and promise of spring, it’s a time to let go of the past and to the look to the future with renewed hope. We can harness the energies of this time to clear out the deadwood to make space for new beginnings. Let go of what no longer serves you, be it negative people, patterns of behaviour, or limiting beliefs. Spring clean your home to cleanse it of outdated belongings and stagnant energies. Give your mind, body and heart a spiritual spring clean with an Epson salt bath or sage smudge stick to dissolve stuck energies so that inspiration may enter for the new cycle. After a good cleansing, you may like to spend some time setting intentions / wish-making for the coming cycle.

As the energies shift from inner to outer growth, Glennie Kindred, author of numerous books on the subject of Earth celebrations, explains more about how to best utilise the energies of Imbolc:

 “We can use this time to prepare for the changes ahead. Now is the time to bring out the wisdom and insights we have gained on the inner journey. Now is the time to express our creativity through art, craft, poetry and songs. 

This is the time for initiation and healing, for reclaiming what has been lost, and seeking new ways forwards. It is a time for working with our intuition, with inspired leaps of understanding, and for expressing our deepest wishes, beliefs and feelings. Be open to communication from within, heed the signs and omens when you notice them and follow what has significance and meaning to you.

Imbolc is sacred to Love, to the young fertile force in all of us, to the quickening of new life and new beginnings. Imbolc reflects the stirring of the life force and the potency of action that is fired from within.”

~ Glennie Kindred

You can also find a wealth of wisdom on ways to celebrate Imbolc from Glennie’s online articles and books, listed below.

However you celebrate, may it be a blessed and blissful time of delightful transformation for you and your loved ones.





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