Mark Green's Atheopaganism Blog

Living an Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science

The February Sabbath

The February Sabbath always seems a bit elusive to me. I don’t believe in the goddess Brighid, who is often celebrated at this time, and I don’t live somewhere where first, small indications of spring are appearing.

No, I’m in coastal Northern California, and here in this Mediterranean climate it is wet and the mountains are a beautiful emerald green at the height of its intensity. That green will transform to gold in May as the grasses go to seed, so this is a lovely and fragile moment.

So while snowdrops are indeed blooming here, soon too will be crocus and daffodils and milk maids. And they aren’t coming up through snow.

And so I title this station in the Wheel of the Year Riverain, the Festival of Water. A time for celebration of that substance so essential for life, in its many aspects as sustainer, cleanser, bringer forth of the original Life on Earth.

Still, most notable and important at this time of year is the brightening: the days are noticeably longer, and though there is a lot of cold and weather yet ahead of us, the true depth of winter has passed. Light is returning.

Historically, this has been a time for belt-tightening and preparation for the new agricultural cycle: repairing and sharpening tools, “spring cleaning”, and fasts as the food supply dwindles. It is still a good time for planning for the coming year, cleaning house, and experiencing some want.

Tomorrow, my circle, Dark Sun, will convene to celebrate the season. I am so grateful for this practice, for feeling more connected with the seasons and the Earth through these ritual observances.

However you celebrate the February Sabbath, I wish you a joyous one, with happy prospects for the coming year!


  1. Meredith Sterling

    Since I live in Texas, this also is a season more like ‘spring’ in northern climates — green winter rye and other wild grasses are prominent and the bees are up and about on early mustard. What I notice the most about what I think of as an in-between season is that while there’s all this green, mostly on the ground, the deciduous trees are still resolutely bare and not yet even budding. A lovely contrast. Thank you for the description of your Riverain celebration; I tend to always be grateful for rain in this semi-arid climate, although this is not a very wet time of year — and less so in drought years, which we’re in.

  2. Everything is still covered in snow here in Canada. I’m still working out what Imbolc means here.

    I definitely think we should adjust the seasonal festivals to the seasons where we live.

    I like the sound of your Riverain. Have a good one!

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