I don't think I had ever heard the word until last year when someone I follow on Instagram posted a gorgeous photo of snowdrops and referred to 'imbolc' (pronounced im'olc). It's a time of year that always reminds me of my paternal grandmother, Freda. Her birthday was 7th February and she had the most wonderful array of snowdrops in her garden.
Imbolc celebrates the return of the Sun and the re-awakening or 'quickening' of nature following the Winter's rest. In the last few days it has been noticeably lighter in the mornings and the afternoons don't seem to close in quite so early. Snowdrops and daffodils are pushing up through the earth and there are buds of blossom on the trees, forerunners of the Spring to come. Imbolc is traditionally the start of the lambing season too, although we had our first twins in the field adjacent to the yurts on New Year's Day so they are now nearly a month old! Read on to learn more about the origins and traditions associated with imbolc.
Tomorrow (Friday 10th January) sees the first full moon of 2020. It is known as the wolf moon because January tends to be the time when wolves are most vocal in Europe and North America, apparently lamenting the scarcity of food. It is the first of thirteen full moons this year as there are two in October, one on the 1st of the month and another on the 31st, which will make it a very special Halloween/Sawhain indeed.
Tomorrow's moon is also special because it will feature a penumbral lunar eclipse (one of four this year). This differs from a full or partial eclipse because the sun, Earth and moon are not quite perfectly aligned causing the Earth's outer shadow (the penumbra) to fall on the moon's face instead of the Earth's full shadow. This will make the moon appear slightly dimmer than usual, rather than totally or partially eclipsed. You may need to look closely and be in a place with lovely dark skies and little light pollution (and of course little cloud!) to see the effect of the penumbral eclipse.
Katie is one of the owners of Blackdown Yurts and likes to write about things going on at and around her beautiful glamping site