Imbolc Waxing Moon
The waxing moon has not brought the weight gain I’d hoped. Maybe next month. We talked yesterday about eating disorders and their relevance to Kate’s situation. Through a combination of aversive conditioning, nausea and cramping triggered by eating, the dry mouth issues of Sjogren’s that can make food unpalatable, a generally depleted musculature that makes it difficult to work up an appetite, and a feeling of malaise we’ve not been able to shake, eating has become problematic. Sounds like an eating disorder. If it quacks…
One sobering reality driven home by my illness (on the way out, but not gone) is how much the two of us depend on me to live in this house. If I got to Kate’s level of dysfunction, we’d have to move. When I was sick, especially Wednesday and Thursday, my body tingled. Arthritis in my left hand, thumb, knuckles, finger joints and the thumb of my right hand got bad enough that I couldn’t unlock the front door or open a package of sliced turkey. My stamina was almost nonexistent and I had no hunger. This lead me to the conclusion that my workouts are now a matter of marital necessity. They keep me strong, agile, healthy. We need to protect my schedule so I can always get them in. I’m sure this moment comes for many couples as they age, where one partner’s fragility makes their mutual independence more at risk.
Much as I like the dark, the cold, the snow, I also love the growing season. Imbolc, Feb. 1st, (or, as for all Celtic holidays, a full week of markets and dances), marks the turn from winter, the season just past, toward spring, or Ostara, which we celebrate on the spring equinox. That’s what Groundhog Day celebrates, Imbolc, and a European belief that if a furry rodent saw it’s shadow, there would be six more weeks of winter. In Germany it’s the badger that is the predictor. The Pennsylvania Dutch apparently shifted to the groundhog.
Whichever, shadow or not, and usually not accurate, the attention to mother earth while snow’s still on the ground, occurs because the Great Wheel has turned past the Winter Solstice, allowing light to begin it’s slow increase, culminating in the heart of mid-Summer on the Summer Solstice.
Imbolc then, is the first season of a new agricultural year. Imbolc, in the belly, referred to the freshening of ewes whose pregnancies would finally bring some long awaited milk into the family larder. The lambs also add to the flocks. It was a signal that the fallow time that began back in October of the previous year at Samain, summer’s end, would again be followed by a fertile season. The growing season itself doesn’t begin, on the Great Wheel, until Mayday, Beltane. But Imbolc assures us that there will be food produced this year, even if the days are still dreary and cold.
What is freshening my soul these days? What seed has been fertilized and begun to grow? Imbolc is important; even when the world seems to have gone fallow for us, we find the Great Wheel still turning, still pushing us toward the next growing season.
Kate’s bleed happened on September 28th, the day before Michaelmas, Steiner’s “springtime of the soul.” The sequelae has lasted through the last of Fall (Mabon), through Samain, through Winter, and now into Imbolc. Imbolc suggests that somewhere buried in the detritus of ten units of blood, bowl resection, rehab, multiple imaging studies, the stent placement, and continuing insults from Sjogren’s and weight loss lies a lamb, or at least a ewe’s egg. Finding it will not be, hasn’t been easy; but, I believe it’s there, that the Spring Equinox will find us moving forward into a new growing season for Kate’s soul and her body. May it be so.