There are many wonderful resources out there telling you about Imbolc. I thought I would share the teachings and also guide you with some journalling prompts and a ritual for this week. I am drawing on the buoyant energy for this hopeful time of year and ancient time of ritual and festivities.
Imbolc or Imbolg means "in the belly," and 10th-century Irish poetry tells of this celebration, related to the quickening of the ewe's milk before lambing. It was dedicated to Brigid, the goddess of poetry, crafts and prophesy, who was evoked in ancient fertility rites.
According to mythology, she was born with a flame in her head and drank the milk of a mystical cow, so becoming associated with fire and milk. She was worshipped by the Filid, a class of ancient Celtic poets and historians.
In the Celtic pantheon Tuatha du Danann, she is the daughter of the oldest god, Dagda, and has two sisters by the same name.
In pre-Christian times, people prepared their homes for a visit from Brigid the night before February 1st by crafting an effigy of her from oats and rushes. The festival itself went from sundown February 1st until sundown February 2nd, marking the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland.
The goddess Brigid was so well loved by the people, that she was woven into Christianity as St. Brigid, with the Catholic church claiming that the patron saint was a real person. Whether or not this is true, the obvious commonalities that St. Brigid has with the pagan goddess show her roots.
Practitioners of neopaganism today honour Brigid as the maiden aspect of the triple goddess, and celebrate Imbolc as a time of renewal and hope.
For your altar or special space:
As we transition from January to February, you may want to clear your altar and return the leaves, flowers etc to nature, making sure you say thank you and give them back.
Dust and clear the space, you can use aromatherapy, sage, incense or sound.
From the lis below, feel free to gather items of meaning and significance, place them on your altar, and find a quiet place to meditate and journal.
February Tea For One
1 teaspoon nettle leaf
8-9 whole rose buds
1 teaspoon lavender flowers
1 teaspoon rosehips
1 teaspoon hibiscus
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
In a heat-proof teapot, add all herbs together, and cover with hot water. Place a lid on the teapot, and let steep for 10 minutes. Pour through a tea strainer into your favorite mug
Symbols of Brigid
Flame, which purifies, warms and protects
Snowdrop, one of the first plants to burst through the snow
Swan, represents purity and loyalty because it mates for life
Brigid's Cross, a traditional fire wheel symbol representing protection
Brigid Doll, as made in ancient traditions
Serpent, associated with awakening creative energy and transformation
Sheep, representing fertility and innocence
Colors of Imbolc
White, for purity
Green, for new life
Blue, for protection
Gold, for fire
Herbs & Rituals for Imbolc
Bay leaves, associated with the sun, are used for renewal, intuition and protection. Write down some intentions and place them in a jar with bay leaves as a reminder of what you want to manifest.
Rosemary, associated with fire and creativity, is used for cleansing, protection and purification. You can add rosemary to your bath or recipes during Imbolc for renewal.
Heather is associated with both cleansing and fertility. Drink some heather tea to connect with its essence and discover what can be swept away to make room for the new to sprout.
Do the meditation: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6RV8pGELCj5ujJu5WTpd4R?si=1e03d94c85ca4c4c
Channel your creativity.
You can make a St Bridgits cross, this way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SjsAPLx0jg
How can you make yourself feel safe and protected? You can apply this to home life, health, relationships, dreams and hopes.
It might be, taking some vitamins to protect you from the flu. Moving your body, so you protect yourself from injury and pain. Going through bank statements and creating a little savings pot to protect you from stress and worry. Or you can take a moment to cast a golden light around you for protection.
Take a moment to journal on this.
This is a wonderful time to start to push forward with a new project, but move carefully and slowly, think of the snow drops and the tiny new shoots of life emerging. They take their time to grow, evolve and pace themselves. Do the same.
Journal on this, the seeds you planted over winter starting to push forward.
Balance between light and dark.
We are moving towards the light, The spring equinox is only a month or so away, so take some moments to step into the light, feel the sun on your face and hold carefully the light and dark. journal on the darkness, the part fo you you might kept hidden or feel shame around, can you bring these parts into the light for nurturing, find compassion and love for yourself.
Can be a powerful words, it certainly helps me.
What are you hopeful for? dream big and journal with freedom.
What creative thing did you do when you were younger, that you might miss. Do you have any creative outlet in your life? Could you open a note book and doodle? Get some cheap paints and explore. Take more photos or start writing.
Creativity is the quickest way to joy, and it's the thing we lose the most as adults.
Clearing the energy, that feeling when you throw open the windows in spring or jump into cool water. Energy can get stagnant during the winter, if there's a day when the sun shines this week, open a few windows, shake out some rugs and blankets. Clean with uplifting and clearing fragrances.
Journal on where you might need clearing and cleansing, this could be a conversation you keep revisiting and an action you might not be proud of. are you caught in a cycle that's not serving, let it out on the page.
For more meditations, journalling and growth, take a look at the fantastic online programme.