In standard, wheel of the year, northern hemisphere Paganism, we talk about lambs at Imbolc. Or at least, we link the name of the festival to ewes’ milk. That may be all the sheepy goodness we get. Of course, how sheep relate to your landscape is a very local issue. In some places, they don’t feature much, while in others there may be a very long history of grazing. There are huge differences between vast, industrial flocks massively impacting on the local, environment, and small sustainable flocks. We can treat sheep and the environment well, or badly. Not all farming is created equal.

However you feel about farming animals for meat and/or wool, I think it’s important to acknowledge the role they have played, for thousands of years, in the lives of our ancestors. In the UK, grazing has shaped some landscapes. It’s important to know how ancestral use of land impacts on the landscape you now inhabit.

If you are going to eat meat, I think it’s important to see the animals in the fields. It’s also important to be aware of the animals in industrial farming units who do not get to leap about joyfully in the spring meadows. Meat should not be an anonymous ‘product’. We need to see, understand and respect the life in it. We all need to tackle the obscenity that is food waste – nothing should die and just be thrown away.

In the UK, the time to see lambs in the fields is not Imbolc, but somewhere between the spring equinox and Easter. Again, this will vary depending on where you live and what the conditions are like from year to year.

And, in case you can’t get out to enjoy the lambs, here’s a small video with lambs in it.