"Candlemas - In The Belly of Winter" by Jane Sherry.

Within frozen depths does warmth stir, and mud rises.
Seeds of air and fire, water and starlight move into the cold and wet places
that awaken from slumber.

Enlivened by bird seed, scattered over my snow cover,
I dream of spring, pulse quickens,
gardens form pictures in my body.

A spark, a heart quickening; fire-seeds
scatter out of my womb into the night,
into the dawn.

The great circle of the year draws around
again, the small flame enters the chamber.
A new year hastens us to wakefulness.



The Candlemas Festival

The evening of February 1st through the evening of February 2nd is the festival of Candlemas, called Imbolc by the ancient Celts. Candlemas is one of the holy cross quarter days of earth honoring peoples, and marks the midpoint between the winter solstice & the spring equinox. It is the time of quickening. It marks the time of stirring, rousing, and enlivening out of the dark of winter's slumber. And this moment brings, within our collective memories, the promise of renewal before the spring, awakening us to the new year. Now is the time when farmers and gardeners envision new cycles of planting. This month, seeds will be planted in greenhouses and on warm window ledges here in the Northeast.

Our bodies begin to stir, although parts of us still slumber in inner soul work. Restless desires begin to form as we watch the birds scatter seed in the snow & mud. During the lulls between winter storms, you can see stirrings of early beloved spring weeds, such as great mullein, motherwort and nettles.

Birds are much busier flying in and out of their bramble shelters. A new kitten makes its way into our hearts and home. As we eat seaweeds and brown rice, along with the end of the autumn's harvest of roots and winter squash, we start craving the tender greens and fresh wild weedy salads of spring.

As I dream of spring snows fertilizing the land, spring gardens draw pictures in my mind. I smell wet ground, unfamiliar and new, in this place on earth I do not yet know with the intimacy of gardening. I dream of where the worms hide under leaf mulch, along with baby snakes under rock walls, barely begun before winter, more falling down, than standing guard over garden beds. Planning for tender turnips, lettuce leaves, mixed with violets, nettles & dandelion as I search out my box of seeds saved from our garden before the move.

My own belly stirs with our Mother Earth's as I plan for meals, for love, for poems not yet read or written. We give thanks as the wind howls outside, bringing more snow, rain, sleet reminding us, winter is not yet finished with us. There is still time to dream.

 Meditation Moment

"The age of Pisces is coming to an end, and we are entering the age of Aquarius which, according to astrologers, will bring about great changes. However, you must not take this to mean that humanity as a whole will suddenly be transformed.

It is the possibilities of all human beings that will change, because there are new currents flowing from Aquarius. But only those who make efforts to harmonize with these currents will be transformed.

Heaven sends us waves of energy but it does not impose wisdom on us. We are entering the age of Aquarius, but those who do nothing to benefit from its influences will receive nothing. Astrologers and other disciples of esotericism everywhere are repeating: The age of Aquarius, the age of Aquarius.

That is all very well, but if you really want to enter the age of Aquarius you must prepare yourself to accept the new ideas this constellation brings: the ideas of brotherhood and universality."

-- Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

If you wish to find out more about this wise Bulgarian spiritual teacher or consult the many titles by Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov go to

[Photo Credits: All photos by Jane Sherry.]

Note: this was originally written when we lived in Claverack, NY in Columbia County, three hours north of NYC, one of the last farming communities in the area. 

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