I discovered recently that the start of February is known as the ancient pagan festival of Imbolc; a time to celebrate the half way point between the shortest day of the year and the beginning of Spring at the vernal equinox. Our ancient ancestors recognised the meaning and importance of the movement between darkness and light in a way that not only reflected the impact of dark days on activity and food supply, but spoke of the challenges in going through dark and difficult life experiences, where the return of light and hope can seem a faint possibility at times. Imbolc was a time to grasp that hope, to believe in life under the cold earth getting ready to “spring” forth, to clear out the debris of the old dead year and set intentions for the coming season of growth. One description I read talked of Imbolc as a time when light and darkness are flirting with each other, building up to their coming together to create new life at the start of Spring, a time of potential, of stirring, of possibility. I often have that sense when I am working with clients; a feeling of faint beginnings of hope and the sense that more light is on its way, even while the dark times seem endless, old habits still have a tight hold, and it is hard to believe that there can be some recovery to come. The light does always arrive, and the darkness takes a step back, though perhaps the truth is that we cannot have one without the other. The dark days have seeds buried within them that need their time in hiding to make sure that they strengthen enough to push through the ground and emerge into the spring sunshine.