Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Taking the High Road

. . . in Imbolc’s time of growing light
and emerging new life

Today is Imbolc, the ancient Gaelic festival marking the return of spring. To this day, people continue to celebrate Imbolc and its emphasis on the seasonal changes in the northern hemisphere at this time of year; a time of growing light and emerging new life. People also recognize and celebrate how Imbolc’s promise of new beginnings is experienced in their lives.

In her book The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition, Dianne Sylvan wisely observes that “Imbolc, the Festival of Light, guides us through the now-waning dark as we start to look ahead.”

Contines Sylvan:

Earth is the element of manifestation, and in order to manifest something, you first have to know what you want. At Imbolc, the Wheel of the Year is halfway between earth and air, and as air is the element of thought, Imbolc is a time to think things through while we wait.

Imbolc is a time to sweep away the last of the cobwebs of the old year. . . . Imbolc is preparation, consideration.

In his book Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes and Lore for Brigid’s Day, Carl Neal shares a similar perspective, writing that:

Imbolc is a time when new plans are made and new ideas are “planted.” It is also traditionally a time to examine the people, objects, and philosophies in our lives. It is an opportunity to let go of the things we don’t need or that are holding us back.

In light (Imbolc light) of all of this and of the need to “let go” of a certain relationship in my life, Bettye LaVette’s song “The High Road” speaks very powerfully and deeply to me. It’s from her acclaimed 2005 album, I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise.

I won’t be a victim, a beggar, or a fool;
I try to live my life by the golden rule.
If you don’t love me,
what am I supposed to do?
I’ll take the high road
and walk on away from you.

I’ll find me an angel
to lift me up in time.
I’ll listen for the voice
that speaks my bitter mind.
I’ll try to forgive myself
for not heeding all the signs.
Oh, I’ll take the high road
and walk away one last time.

I’ll wipe away the tears
’cause I know darn well I’ve tried.
I’ll look inside myself
for the part that was mine.
I ain’t gonna try to hurt ya back
or lie and say I didn’t care.
I’ll just take the high road
and walk away from here.

My heart is battered, my soul is bruised;
my face is wearing that same false smile, I used to use.
I put my feelings under lock and key.
Oh, and take the high road
and walk on away quietly

I’ll pack up my pride and go somewhere far.
You can’t blame somebody
for who they really are.
But what you’ve done to me,
you know it just ain’t fair.
I ain’t gonna bitch about it,
’cause I know sure well, it just ain’t there

I’ll walk away with my head held high.
Forgive, yes, but forget?
Uh-uh, buddy, not this time.

I’ll keep looking for my angel
and I know I’ll be just fine.
Oh, stayin on the high road
and walking away one last time.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Imbolc: Celebrating the Freshness of New Beginnings
Imbolc: Festival of Light
Farewell Winter
Welcoming the Return of Spring
Spring: “Truly the Season for Joy and Hope”
In the Footsteps of Spring: Introduction | Part I | II | III | IV | V
Walking Away
Wendy Matthews: Free, Like the Wind
When Wendy Walked Away
The Empty Beach
The Gravity of Love
The Choice (and Risk) That Is Love
The Path Ahead

Related Off-site Links:
Blessed Imbolc and LughnassadhThe Wild Hunt (February 2, 2023).
Imbolc: The Gaelic Festival (January 31, 2020).
How to Celebrate and Enjoy Imbolc, the Pagan Festival Marking Winter’s End – Kerry King (Metro, January 31, 2023).
The Magical Energy of the Great Celtic Festival of Imbolc – Colette O’Neill (Bealtaine Cottage, January 24, 2021).
Imbolc in the United Kingdom and Ireland – Liz Williams (The Wild Hunt, February 5, 2023).
Brigid and Darlughdach: Celtic Saint Loved Her Female Soulmate – Kittredge Cherry (QSpirit, February 1, 2023).
Let Go of the People Who Aren’t Ready to Love You – Brianna Wiest (Thought Catalog, December 30, 2019).

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

No comments: