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Imbolc - Purity, Fertility & New beginnings

Updated: Feb 2

At this time of year in the Northern hemisphere we celebrate Imbolc - the midway between Winter and Spring, yet, the actual timings are open to interpretation. In Celtic tradition, this cross-quarter day, or fire festival, was considered as the first day of Spring. Coinciding with the onset of the lambing season and of the coming light this day is also celebrated as Candlemas.

In comparison the meteorological calendar in which Spring begins on the March 20th. While I feel we are still expecting snow we are at least a few steps closer to sunny days, and the humble snowdrop epitomises the coming light and the time of Imbolc.

Imbolc means ‘in the belly'. As a representation of nature, Imbolc refers to the pregnancy of ewes or in Indo-European roots, that of cleansing and milk. It is also known as St Brigid’s Day which honours the Gaelic Goddess - the protector of homes, livestock and associated with healing and fertility.

This is a time where we welcome in the spring. The ground is still bare yet we begin to see new shoots; this reminds us of the latent and powerful energy stored in the ground below. This time of year reminds us of our resilience. We are reminded to be grateful for all that we have endured during the scarcity of Winter.

Whilst it is a time to let go of what no longer serves us and to honour the dark, on Candlemas we welcome to light as the natural world awakens. This is a good time to set intentions and dedications to bring them into fruition; like planting bulbs, we set the stage for what is to come. It is a time of new beginnings, optimism and faith.

How to Celebrate Imbolc

Why not have a good spring clean? Tidy the home and recycle to make room for the new. Tidy the garden and enjoy the grounding energy which is symbolic of new beginnings harnessing the energy that is happening below ground. If you tidy the garden be mindful that the dead leaves t have a place in supporting ladybirds and insects, replenishing the microbiome of the soil, and protecting new shoots so tidy ... but leave the dying matter.

I like to decorate the home with the colour yellow or green for the coming spring; you can even use fire colours, if you prefer. Daffodils have a super way of cheering you up and reminding you of the coming Spring too!

If you have an altar where you set your intentions you could decorate with seasonal flowers - white, green or yellow candles and anything that reminds you of spring. I like to leave a small offering of food as a way to say thank you for all that we have and what we will provided in Spring.

After a hard days work, why not light up your home with candles (in a safe manner) or light a fire to welcome in the spring? Sit, contemplate, celebrate or relax, but you can't beat a fire for some lovely sun energy.

At Imbolc we also honour the element of Water, which without, life would not be possible. Having bath is always a lovely way to cleanse your energy. I add Himalayan salt to the bath to cleanse my energy and add a couple of drops of lavender and rosemary Essential oil to relax and cleanse, respectively.

If you like to use crystals it is nice to meditate on things that you need to let go of. You can use Clear Quartz for energy. Carnelian or other orange stones can support the sacral chakra; the energy centre for passion and creativity. What inspiration comes to you?

During the meditation I imagine the candlelight cleansing and burning through any stored negative energy that I hold. You can ask the universe (or God, Higherself or whatever deity or religion that is appropriate for you) to remove what no longer works for you. Breathe in and out deeply. Honour the dark by journaling on the things you are grateful for. Alternatively, you could light a fire and envision all what you want to leave behind is burning away.

I like to stay up late and then welcome in the sunrise. This is a nice time for journaling about the projects that you would like to blossom or any activities that you would like to plan during the year. By writing your wishes down you bring them into creation. You could write your wishes and then burn them safely. I like to write affirmations on the mirrors around the house to remind me of them during the coming weeks.

In the daytime, why not head to the beach for some lovely grounding energy and have a splash in the cleansing waters or visit some woodland. As an activity, you can make Grain Dollies or a Brigid Cross (there are loads of websites that show you how to do this). Hang them in your living space or outside the home for some traditional good luck! Any foraged items such as feathers, twigs, seasonal flowers or foraged bits can be placed on your indoor altar too as a gift for the Goddess Brigid.

If you are lucky enough to find a Rowan or Willow tree on your adventures, which are associated with this time of year, then why not stop and leave a biologically friendly offering for Mother Earth?

Traditionally, a meal would be made for friends and family in the evening. Not suitable to everyone but rich, pungent, foods work well at this time of year, helping to remove damp from the. body. Some examples include: cayenne pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon, ginger, garlic. Whatever meal you plan, if you have a spare seat, why not invite an elderly neighbour or someone new n your community that might be in need of a good meal and some company. Whatever you do, share, and be happy knowing that Spring is on the way and wait for your intentions to unfold.

Many Imbolc Blessings!

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