As the wheel of the year turns once again, we mark the shift in the seasons by celebrating Imbolc, an ancient holiday honoring the first stirrings of the seeds beneath the rich, dark earth and the slow but sure return of longer days. This year, my children and I had a very simple celebration with a delicious dinner of shepherd's pie, earthy carob cake with cocoa nib "seeds", and our traditional light garden filled with the seeds of dreams, goals and things we wish to grow in the coming year.
My daughter went out in the orchard and filled a pan with dark brown, crumbly soil. Then we took turns writing out the things we want to sprout and grow onto little scraps of paper. When my children were younger, it worked well to have them draw out little pictures. As each one was written out, we crumpled the scraps up into tiny "seeds" and planted them in the pan of soil, lighting a beeswax candle and planting it above each one. The house smelled lovely as we watched the candles burn down to mere stubs and go out.
When we start working a garden space in the coming weeks, we will turn the pan of soil with all the little "seeds" into the beds so that they may sprout and grow along with our vegetables, further fostering a connection with the piece of land we're living on. It's a good feeling to know Spring and another growing season are just around the corner, with all the unfolding of plans and dreams it brings.