At the beginning of February, the Celts celebrate Imbolc (im’olk) or Candlemas, the Feast of Lights. February 2 is often chosen as the day of celebration because it marks the cross-quarter day on the calendar, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Locally, it may be celebrated around the time of the first sign of spring.
Imbolc is a time of weather prognostication and the tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens may be a precursor to the North American Groundhog Day. A Scottish-Gaelic proverb states:
The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.
Imbolc also coincides with the feast day of St. Brigit (known as the Bride of Scotland). Brigit or Brigid is the goddess of poetry, healing, and smithcraft. She is associated with holy wells, sacred flames, and healing. Therefore fire and purification are an important aspect of this festival. The lighting of candles and fires represents warmth and the increasing power of the sun over the coming months.
Celebrate Imbolc by cleaning your house (purification), making a St. Brigit cross, or leaving a silk ribbon on your doorstep for Brigit to bless; it can then be used for healing purposes. Meditate on what you would like to see grow in health and strength this year.
Somewhere during October and November I begin to grow tired of my production art work. I start to ask myself why I’m making these pieces. I want to stop what I’m making and do something completely different. New ideas flood my head that I can’t act upon until after orders are filled.
Waverly Fitzgerald, in her Living In Season, October Newsletter, explains that this feeling in the autumn may be due to boredom. That makes sense. Production work can be a mindless activity. You make similar items multiple times, over and over again until you don’t want to do it anymore. When this happens, you might question the direction of your work, your motivation, and decide it is time to rethink what your doing.
It also creates confusion.
Shakti Gawain has some timely words regarding this period of confusion.
When you’re going through a period of confusion, hang in there. Let yourself feel somewhat confused or disoriented or stuck. Sometimes you need to sit with these feelings for a while. It’s okay to do that. Go inside and ask for guidance. Ask for what you’re meant to be learning. Let yourself be guided to people or situations that can help you. Gradually, you’ll move through it. It’s always worth it. Once you look back on a confusing period, you’ll be able to see what you gained from it.
O.K; I’ll let these thoughts and feelings float around for a while. I know I can finish these last orders and have them shipped out by the end of the month. And then I can consider these other ideas in my head; the art dolls I want to make; this thought that keeps popping up in my head to buy a sewing machine; the soldering class I’m going to take; rearranging my studio; the metal art I want to play with; maybe sketching each day or sketching or painting to music; and, and, and.
Bruce Baker calls it MAD; multiple artist disorder. As artists we often want to make many different things in different mediums. I can hear him saying on his customer service techniques CD “On Monday I make jewlery, On Tuesday I blow glass, On Wednesday I make paper…”
Shakti follows-up with these words:
When you are in confusion, it’s not easy to stay with your process. Part of you wants one thing and part of you wants another. You want to decide once and for all, to come to a conclusion. But if you can hold all these different feelings in yourself and be aware of them–be in conflict, be in confusion, be in uncertainty–then the certainty will come from someplace deep within you. Your own inner truth will guide you. But if you try to cut this process short, you will deprive yourself of the opportunity to reach that place of certainty.
I’d say that is pretty accurate. I don’t want to keep making BS and card cases, and perfume pens. But then I’m afraid if I don’t have these things to make, what will I do with myself? Maybe, somewhere deep down, I’m also afraid to make art dolls a full-time venture.
When I’m doing production work, I want to do something different. However, when I have the time to do something different, will I freeze and not know which direction to take or where to start first?
I don’t like feeling confused yet it is a part of our life. Confusion is something to be embraced knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel. Confusion is not helplessness; it is a time of transition.