Imbolc translates roughly to “in the belly” a time that nature is pregnant with possibility. This time last year I was also literally pregnant with Lyra, I tested positive the morning of the cold moon just a few days before Imbolc. This news was exciting but slightly unexpected. We were hoping to conceive sometime this year (as in 2022), after the wedding and moving to a bigger home. I started an herbal protocol to get my body ready for pregnancy and perhaps it worked a little too well…
Shortly after we learned we were expecting, we had a death in the family. This death cut deep. My first husband and the father of my two boys passed and delivering the news to them was one of the hardest things I had ever done. The boys didn’t know about the pregnancy yet since it was still so early on and their hearts were so newly bruised. My mental health quickly declined, juggling my own grief and trying to help my children navigate their own, as well as embracing pockets of joy related to the pregnancy and glimpses of our family in the future. My first prenatal visit was the same afternoon as the funeral. Life and death colliding, resulting in a deeply emotional day. Only my partner (now husband) and best friend knew of the pregnancy. The aftermath of Jimmy’s passing was especially traumatic. I had received threats, there was an investigation happening and people I hadn’t spoken to in years were pulling for my attention. For weeks, my phone was nearly glued to my ear. These threats were pressing and demanded my immediate attention. I was full of fear that the stress I was under would have an unfavorable outcome, in the belly.
The day of the funeral arrived and was unsettling. Though it seemed the threats were resolved by this time, the individuals involved were unpredictable and it made me uneasy. Holding space for myself and my children to mourn was exhausting. Their father struggled with addiction and his death catapulted me into having to explain this disease delicately to our young children. A year later, we are still navigating these stormy waters. We are learning first hand the ebbs and flows of grief. I was full of emotion when I first learned of his passing but I didn’t get to begin grieving peacefully until weeks later.
It never ceases to bewilder me the divine timing of the universe. Losing Jimmy, losing their dad, has changed us forever. Growing new life inside my belly changes one forever. Having multiple major events occur somewhat simultaneously is a reminder that the only constant in our lives is change itself. We are constantly being offered opportunities to expand and contract. Lyra made her way into this world a year before I thought I was ready but it turns out, her timing was more perfect than I could have planned for.
She was our light, our star, in the darkness. Her existence doesn’t erase the pain of our losses but expanded our love and gave us a glimmer of hope and happiness when we were contracting and riddled with pain and grief.
Looking back on the last year I can see the moments that shaped us. I can feel the shifts of our internal and external seasons. I can (roughly) measure ebbs and flows. Life is not a circle, beginning at one point and closing once you’ve made your way back to where you started but a spiral. A cyclone winding inwards and unraveling outwards. We are constantly moving along this spiral. Moving in and out of highs and lows, life and death, abundance and scarcity. All of our feelings have a place here - all of them meant to be felt and honored and to flow through us.
This year, though I am not literally pregnant, I am still swollen with new life and new ideas. The wheel of the year takes us on a journey through the seasons and asks us to tune to into the potent energies of each sabbat. Imbolc asks us to pause one last time in the darkness, like an expectant mother aware of the life she’s growing inside but not yet showing to the world.