What Imbolc Means to a 9 Year Old

It snowed for the first time today; the first time this winter, anyway. The nine year old was shrieking, “Mummy, it’s snowing! It’s snowing! It’s a sign that the rest of the day is going to be good.”

Because although snow can mean disruption and even danger, for a nine year old with none of these adult concerns, it’s simply beautiful and fun.

I love that he sees omens like this in the simplest things. A heavy rainfall prompts him to sit at the front door, wrapped in blankets, listening to the song of the rain. A crow is a guardian. Three crows is the Morrigan- yeah, he can’t listen to me tell him to brush his teeth but he overhears my spiritual work and stores it all away! I don’t mind. I like that he sees the stories and symbols in these things. Whether it becomes part of his own spirituality or religion, that can wait until later, or whenever he wants.

Imbolc is a strange, transitional time. It’s buried under snow or frozen in frost, but greenery is peeking through. Spring is starting to make a go of it. Brigid is the goddess we honour at this time, associated with smithing and crafting, song, poetry, and family. How does my nine year old relate to this?

He’s writing, excited about submitting a piece for the BBC 500 words competition. He waxes lyrical about the glowing sunrises, now at getting up time instead of just after. He gawks at the stormy wind; the ridiculous rain; the frigid frosts giving way to sudden sunshine. And he builds. He makes a parachute, ties string and wraps tape and colours and paints and draws. His creativity bursts out in buds of new growth, just like the first golden crocuses showing their faces by his school. I take note, because it’s easy, as a grown up, to forget these small pleasures. I lose myself in his wonder at a windy day, and pray to my gods and goddesses that I always carry a spark of that wonder with me.

Mabh Savage