Imbolc is almost here. And while the shadows are still lengthening and the cold feels like it will be here for a long time to come, we know that the spring and warmer weather will be here soon.
One of the themes for me at this point on the Wheel of the Year is the Hero’s Quest: The sacred journey taken by heroes of old to find the treasure of knowledge. As Pagans and Wiccans, we should always be searching for knowledge of all kinds. And so the Quest is an important idea for me. It closely parralels our own path to illumination and knowledge.
In my Family Coven’s tradition the story from Yule to Imbolc is that the Crone, locked away in a tower by the Lord of Winter, gives birth to the Sun at Yule. This taxes Her so much that She falls into a deep sleep near death. The Sidhe tend to her and succeed in making her young and beautiful again but they cannot find a way to waken Her.
So they send the Sun King, after He vanquishes the Holly King, on a quest to find the way to waking the sleeping Maiden. For in doing so He will waken the Earth from the slumber of Winter. They speak to Him of a sacred grove guarded over by a wise and powerful Deva.
Full of hope and light the young Sun King sets out on his quest to find the Sacred Grove. Long and far he searches for this Grove. When at long last He finds the sacred grove He follows the winding path through the labyrinth to the center. It is here that he is told by the Deva of the grove, that love’s true kiss is all that is truly needed to waken the Maiden.
This angers the Sun King. The fact that all this time has been wasted only to find that the answer is so simple. It is at this time that the Sun King is gently reminded of a few lessons, by the protector of the Grove. These lessons are:
That the journey we take is often the most important part. For, oftentimes, it makes us ready to accept the answers that we seek on our quest.
The Labyrinth is the path to initiation, and while there is only one path through, the hardest step is always the step going forward.
The Sun King’s journey, as long as it was, tells us to never give up if the cause is right and just. And it also tells us to strive all the harder in the face of adversity and challenge.
When you gather together with your famiy for this next Sabbat of Imbolc, keep these lessons in mind. And as Winter drags on remember that it is moving towards Spring and that we need to stay strong and hold out hope for warmer weather.