“Mummy, do you remember the days when I was growing in your tummy and Tiger was growing in my tummy?!”

Yesterday I came across this scribble in my Art Diary. Our youngest son Brendan apparently said this to me in 2009 and his words made me smile all over again in 2014, while combing through old notes I had made about ideas for paintings.

Today is IMBOLC on the Celtic calendar, the start of the lambing season. Literally the word imbolc is derived from the word ‘imbolg’ and it means “in the belly”. Therefore Brendan’s comment reappeared with ‘good timing’ you could say! Once upon a time Brendan looked upon all his cuddly animals as his ‘children’ and he used to draw pictures of them all growing in his tummy (like a zoo sprouting!) while I was pregnant with him. (I miss those pictures! They are doing ‘sex education’ in his school next term. His understanding of the ‘facts of life’ has, sadly, moved on…)

Personally I LOVE that sense of quickening, of new life having come into being, but not yet having been birthed. Isn’t that the “Ultimate Promise”?

I did a tutorial with one of my Sacred Art students this week and we were talking about how ‘personal winters’ in our life can last much longer than any ‘winter on the wheel of the year’ but sooner or later Spring will come. We have to be willing to embrace death (of what serves no more) before rebirth can occur. For the that is one of the core messages of the ‘shamanic way of life’.

I always think it is pure magic how life orchestrates certain encounters and conversations that honour the Wheel of the Year – even if we don’t consciously attempt this. I had a friend over for dinner, again during the week. She and I got talking about our ‘Early Days of Motherhood’. About how we loved giving birth and breast feeding. But also about how our children are all in school now and how we loved returning to work, how much we enjoy having ‘older’ children.

We experience many ‘little deaths’ on our journey to our ‘Real Death’ which I personally see as the ‘ultimate healing’ and ‘ultimate revelation/illumination’ (as discussed in yesterday’s blog titled SELFISHNESS). Saying goodbye to the years of fertility and accepting you’ll never be pregnant again is sad and difficult (I had an almighty struggle with that issue about 6 years ago). However, once you move through that process, or indeed for women whose life takes another course, there can still be many ‘creative pregnancies’. We can ‘give birth’ to paintings, to pieces of writing, to workshops we teach, to pieces of music and many other dreams and projects.

That beautiful process of ‘quickening’ in nature, that great cosmic promise, mirrors our on-going relationship with our own creativity, with our ability to create, manifest, ‘bring into being’.

I hope that Brendan will never forget that once upon a time he considered himself capable of being pregnant with the whole animal kingdom!!

(The painting at the top is ‘Mum Pregnant With Brendan’ by my middle son Elliott – then aged 7 – and the bottom picture is Brendan doing a portrait painting of Tiger!)

Imelda Almqvist