“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.”
– Stanley Crawford
Merry Meet! I hope this writing finds you doing well. There has been some crazy weather everywhere. Big snowstorms, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes..you name it..it’s been out there. We’ve had none of that lol. As a matter of fact, we’ve had very little snow, still, which is unusual for Ohio and we are warming up into the 50’s for the next few days. But, still, I know Imbolc comes. If you truly watch nature..the rising and setting of Moon and Sun, the habits of birds and critters, the trees and plants…you know.
I have been a very busy Witch preparing for Imbolc. It’s been all about a serious purging of un-wanted and un-needed items from this house. It feels so good to have less things taking up space in drawers, closets and cupboards. Even knick knacks, things hanging on the walls, and old throw rugs and blankets are going. I can’t recommend this enough. I’ve talked about it before, and I’ve done it many times. But this is the MOST I’ve ever done. I truly believe I could become almost a minimalist lol. It’s a great way to cleanse and clean to prepare for Imbolc and well…just Spring cleaning if you prefer.
I’m unfortunately having that surgery Monday, so I’ll be celebrating Imbolc on Sunday. Imbolc by the way is February 2. There will be a fire, lots of candles, a feast, and offerings. I do honor Brighid for this, Her Sabbat, and will do both altar work and another ritual I’ve talked about before. Before midnight I turn off all the lights in the house and have lots of candles going throughout. At midnight, I throw open the doors, invite Brighid to come in and bring all the good things that She does…protection, craftsmanship, prosperity, inspiration, healing, growth, renewal and light. She is always welcome on my Path and in my home. I then use my broom to sweep out all the negative, old, stale energy from my home and turn on lights as I go along to each room. It’s such a lovely ritual, gives me a sense of peace and joy. I will often read a bit of poetry, be sure to wear my silver jewelry, and send out healing energy to those I love in need. Brighid is an amazing Goddess. If you aren’t familiar with Her, you might want to be. I’m reading the book “Tending Brighid’s Flame” by Lunea Weatherstone and highly recommend it! You’ll learn a LOT!
The foods that represent Imbolc are seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax, sesame. Also raisins, dairy foods, spicy foods, pork, lamb, spiced wines, breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, scones etc. I would add anything made with milk as Imbolc means “ewe’s milk.” I’ve posted lots of recipes for all the Sabbats, including Imbolc. To find them, just use the search box on the right side of this page and type in Imbolc recipes or Imbolc. I thought I’d share a few more here.
Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 400*. In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. In a small bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar and oil; stir in oat mixture. Combine the dry ingredients; stir into batter just until moistened. Fold in raisins.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Yield: 1 dozen.
Slow Cooked Hot Spiced Wine
2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
3 whole cloves
2 bottles (750 milliliters each) dry red wine
3 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Place cinnamon sticks and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.
In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients. Add spice bag. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Serve warm.
Yield: 8 servings
Honey Wheat Sunflower Bread
2 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted sunflower kernels
In a bowl, combine the water, 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, yeast and sugar. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. (Mixture will be spongy.)
Stir in the whole wheat flour, oats, milk powder, butter, honey and salt; mix well. Stir in sunflower kernels and as much of the remaining all-purpose or bread flour as you can with a spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
Punch down and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves; place in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Cover with foil; bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).
My recommendation…make soup with the breads! Especially nice on a snowy day, or your Imbolc cleaning day or even just for the day itself. For some great soup recipes, you’ll find them in that search I talked about for Imbolc :) There is nothing better than the scent of soup and warm baked bread on a Winter day…truly.
I wish you all a very blessed Imbolc for you and your loved ones. May the rest of Winter be kind to you, may you find peace and joy in the quiet times, and know that Spring isn’t too far away.
“I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was not other creature
That saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.”
– Sara Teasdale, February Twilight
Blessings and Love, Autumn