Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”
– Barbara Winkler
Merry Meet on this beautiful Sun day. Hope your New Year is going well so far. I have been sick with a virus that has had me down for some time now but I’m pulling up my bootstraps and telling myself I’m OVER it now 🙂 I do feel a bit better today and hope it continues. As I’m having a quiet day I decided to post on my blog…about Imbolc….as I was making notes and lists to get ready for this wonderful Sabbat. Imbolc has always been special to me because it was the first Sabbat that I celebrated. It always feels hopeful and full of magick to me.
As I am writing this, I’m sitting in my chair with the window cracked open, allowing the cool air to come in and cleanse out my house a bit. Though it’s in the low 40’s here, the Sun is beautiful and warm and it feels a bit like a Spring day. That’s what Imbolc is all about..the return of the Spring, the warmth, the Sun….Mother Earth re-awakening! We have had a rare Winter so far here in Ohio. Only one snow that amounted to anything, lots of days above normal temps and it’s been delightful! But though I’m thinking about Spring already, we have much more Winter to go I’m quite sure 🙂
Imbolc, known also as Imbolg, Candlemas, the Festival of Brighid, and the Feast of Lights. The word Imbolc means “in the belly,” or in the womb of Mother Earth, as well as “in milk,” which refers to ewes coming into milk for the first lambs of the season. This Sabbat marks the return of spring, even as winter continues its reign. Imbolc is February 2nd and is of course, in modern times, also known as Groundhog’s Day.
Imbolc, for me, is a time of cleansing and purification. It’s all about Spring Cleaning! It is time to throw out the old and bring in the new. This not only means the “stuff and clutter” in your home, but also your old thoughts, anger, hurt feelings etc. To Sweep out negatitive and stagnant Air and bring in fresh, clean positive Air. To re-new my home and myself. After a thorough Spring Cleaning on my home, I Cleanse and Bless my home and those who dwell here, and cleanse my body and my soul as well. Imbolc is when I re-dedicate myself to my path every year. Though it’s not necessary to do, it re-energizes and re-connects me to my path, my Goddess, my way of life.
The customs of Imbolc include ritual “spring cleaning” of the house, to banish the last of winter and hasten the coming of warm, sunny days. Some things I do while cleaning…..I use lavender and rosemary in a pot of boiling water to wash floors and walls, vinegar and mugwort for windows and mirrors. Burn sage to cleanse the psychic energies, and replace old protection and prosperity charms. I wash all my curtains and linens and give them a good spritz with lavender water before re-hanging them. I clean out drawers, closets, cupboards. Sweep high and low. Replace burnt out light bulbs, anything that’s broken, throw out that is which is no longer of use or pleasure. The house will smell and feel amazing when you’re done! Oh, I like to replace all my old candles that may not be finished yet…just to have a fresh start!
I also spend some time on myself. Taking a ritual bath scented with your favorite herbs/oils or sea salt is always cleansing and renewing. As you soak, meditate to clear your mind and heart of any thoughts or emotions that no longer serve you. This is all to “start a-new” in mind, body, spirit and home. Anoint your chakra points with Blessing oil after and spend some time meditating and focusing inward on yourself. Let go what needs to go and open yourself to new possibilities, Joy, Peace and Love only. Let the negative go and the positive take over. You will feel so great afterwards.
On Imbolc Night, in ancient times, The Goddess Brighid was honored in her Maiden form. One way to honor her is this. Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is placed by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun. Just before sunset, turn off all the lights in the house. Carrying a single white burning candle, to represent Brighid, knock three times on the front door and invite the Goddess to enter, asking that she bestow health, success, abundance, and love upon everyone in the house. Then slowly begin turning on the lights, moving room to room, until every light in the house is on. This is really magickal to me..symbolizes the Darkness of Winter changing to the Light of Spring. If you have made a Brighid cross, have it on your altar or hanging near your front door or fireplace to represent Her as well.
*Symbolism-First stirring of Mother Earth, lambing, growth of the Sun God, the middle of winter, Purity, Re-newal, Fertility, dispensing of old and making way for the new
*Symbols/Tools/Decorations-Brighid’s Crosses, Brideo’gas, Besoms, white flowers, acorn wands, candles, Brides bed, milk, evergreens, daffodils, grain/seeds, snowflakes
*Herbs-Angelica, basil, bay laurel, blackberry, heather, iris, myrrh, violets, clover, willow, and all yellow flowers.
*Incense/Oils-Basil, bay, wisteria, cinnamon, violet, vanilla, myrrh, jasmine, rose, sage lavender,
*Colors-Gold, light green, green, blue, yellow, pink, white, red, brown and pastels
*Crystals/Stones-Amethyst, bloodstone, garnet, ruby, turquoise, onyx, moonstone, red jasper
*Customs/Activities-Candle lighting, seeking omens of spring, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, hearth re-lighting, storytelling
*Foods-Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, spicy foods, dairy, raisins, poppyseed bread/cakes, muffins, scones, breads, pancakes/waffles, spiced wines, herbal teas
*Gods- Pan, Cupid/Eros, young Sun Gods
*Goddesses- Brighid, Venus, Diana, Virgin Goddess, Maiden Child Goddess, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Vesta, Gaia, Selene, Februa
*Spellworking/Rituals-Cleansing, purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk and bread, Self-dedication
To aid you in your house cleansing, here is a ritual I love to do after all the Cleaning is done….
Imbolc House Cleansing Ritual
-Light a smudge stick and walk around the rooms of your house to replace old protection and prosperity. I smudge around all my windows and door and throw them open to allow in the fresh, cold Air! You can also go around with a representative of each element…salt, incense or sage, a lit candle etc….or you can use a Blessing oil and anoint your doors and windowsills with a pentagram or sigil of protection. While you are doing so, say something like:
“May the goddess bless this home
make it safe and secure
so that nothing but love and joy
shall enter here.
When you are finished with every room, close the windows, step back and take a deep breath. Feels good doesn’t it? I usually do this House Blessing…then light all the candles and turn off lights and welcome in Brighid as written above. Then I sit with a nice glass of Bailey’s or Wine and enjoy the feel of my Clean, Cleansed and Blessed home! I’m ready to deal with the rest of Winter and my heart knows that Spring will be here soon!
Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey,
and enjoy every idle hour.”
– John Boswell
During this next couple months when we can only dream of Spring and our gardens, being outside. Do that…Dream! Pore over your garden catalogs and magazines and dream of planting your gardens, herbs, veggies. It’ll do you heart some good. Thats what I will be doing too. I have big plans this year to expand my gardens 🙂
In winter’s cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.
On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision’s clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.
In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows.”
– Cheryl Magic-Lady, Winter Garden
I will post more about my altar and my Imbolc celebration in the coming days. If you haven’t already started thinking about this beautiful Sabbat, then do. There is alot of work involved with this one. The clearing out of the old is not for the faint of heart! LOL Be brutal in both your home and yourself! Really clear out the stuff that needs to go. You will feel so much better about your home and you will feel lighter and happier with yourself as well. Spring is coming and I know that makes many of your heart’s soar!! Start it out with a clean, uncluttered great smelling home and a clean slate full of positivity, lightness and joy for yourself! The Magick of Imbolc is upon us!
Oh, tonight is the Full Wolf or Cold Moon. Her energy is amazing as I visited with Her last night and will again tonight. Doing some healing work for myself and some friends of mine, making Moon water, cleansing and energizing some new crystals, tools etc. Blessed Full Wolf Moon to you all! Make the Most of your time with Her!
Blessed Be, Autumn