You always take me by surprise, Spring. And it is always Elderberry who is the first to catch my breath with your announcement: pair of fresh, day-glow green leaves bursting forth from a gray skeleton of a shrub.
In the moment it seems so unexpected. Weren’t we just playing in the snow up on the mountain? Aren’t we still in get-cozy-and-hibernate mode? Half of my being shouts “Wait! Slow down. I’m not ready!” while the other is tugged joyfully towards garden daydreams.
If you are feeling the energy of this in-between time as well, then you are right on schedule. The halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox falls on (roughly) February 1st.
In the ancient Celtic or Gaelic tradition of Imbolc, which begins sundown on the first of February and ends at sundown on the second, it is customary to welcome the first signs of Spring by clearing out the last bits of winter from your home.
Gather any remaining evergreen bits that adorned your home for the Winter holidays and toss them in your fire or compost. Recycle the flurry of paper snowflakes that may still cling to your windows. Wind up the twinkle lights. And, if your home is like ours, clear out the cache of Hanukkah gelt that your kids have tucked away like little squirrels. Spring is a rising tide that will soon carry us to blissful heights scented with lilac and Trillium blossoms, and we want to get ready for the ride.
Sprouting Our Potential
As vibrant energy rises upwards from the roots of our plant allies and their shoots begin to grow with fervor, we can infuse this energy into our own lives as well. I invite you to try this simple, meditative sprouting ritual…
Gather these items:
- a clean wide-mouth glass quart-sized jar
- a 2 Tbs to a 1/4 cup of seeds to sprout of your choice (alfalfa, clover, lentil, sunflower, etc.)
- a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band
- Pour your seeds into your palm. Look at them closely, feeling how smooth and hard they are. Seeds are such a wonder. Little miracles. How is it that something so tiny and non-alive can grow into a full-fledged plant? All the information is in there. It’s just dormant. Seeds are sleepy. They just need a little nurturing to reach their potential — and the same it true for all of us.
- What would you like to come alive in your own life? What do want to grow in yourself, in your home, and in your community? Which of your gifts and qualities would you like to expand in the months ahead? Infuse your seeds with these intentions and dreams as you pour your handful into your jar.
- Cover your seeds with 2″ of warm water and allow them to sit overnight.
- The next day secure a piece of clean cheesecloth over the top of your jar with a rubber band.
- Strain the water from your seeds. Fill with cool, fresh water. Swirl your seeds around a few times and strain again. Set jar on a quiet spot of your counter. I like to invert the jar in a bowl to catch any free water.
- Continue watering, swirling, and straining your seeds once or twice daily for a few days. Each time you do, look closely to see how your seeds are changing and G R O W I N G!
- Once your seeds have sprouted, allow them to grow for another day or two, then place them in a sunny spot (but keep them cool if you can) where their tiny leaves will become a vibrant green.
- Choose an individual sprout to hold. You have a little newborn plant! At what point did the seed actually become A L I V E ?!? Where was all this life-force hiding? Look at how much it has changed from the seed of potential you held just a few days earlier. Examine the colors, textures, and fragrance. If this little seed can grow towards its potential with a little nurturing so can you! Thank your sprout for its inspiration. Take a moment to center yourself and reconnect with the intentions you infused these seeds with. Eat your sprout, enjoy its flavor, embody its lively energy, and feel your own vibrant growth towards your intentions.
- Line a glass storage container with a paper towel or small clean cloth, place your beautiful, lively sprouts inside, and store in your fridge. Enjoy eating them all up within 3 days.
Now go ahead stretch those dormant parts of yourself that want to grow, and heal, and blossom. Your first new leaves may be tender, but wow are they vibrant. Remember: Not only do you have the Earth’s permission, you have her blessing.