by Quinn K. Dyer
Imbolc is often translated to mean ‘fire in the belly’. A time for new beginnings, we don’t just celebrate fertility in the sense of procreation, but also our creative fertility, our renewed inspiration and spiritual rebirth. It is the time of year to ignite change within ourselves.
The halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, it is a time to shake off the stagnancy of winter and prepare for the rebirth of spring.
Below are a few of the ways to celebrate this Imbolc:
1. Green Magic
Mother Earth is gearing up for spring. We can think of the earth as her womb; fire sparking in her belly. We can see the hope and potential of spring grow as the sun grows each day.
Go for a walk and search for the signs of spring outdoors. Enjoy the warm days as they descend and look for new life in the cold ground.
Traditionally Imbolc is used as a time to bless both seeds and the tools we use to plant.
But there are many cold hardy greens we can plant early and even more that can be started indoors and transplanted outside when the world defrosts.
Try planting crocuses, daffodils and other bulbs. Decorate your alter with seedlings and watch them grow. As we long for spring and sunshine, we are able to create a green space inside our winter retreats.
Find your seeds. Inspire change.
2. Ritual Purification
Imbolc is the perfect time for cleaning and purification rituals; both symbolic and spiritual cleansing as well the physical spring cleaning.
From sweeping up the literal dirt in our homes to smudging away bad juju, we can create space in order to invite the Goddess into our lives. Take the time to clean your home from top to bottom and enjoy the sense of tranquility it leaves behind.
For a spiritual cleansing, bless a tub filled with nice hot water to drive out the winter’s chill and take a long ritual bath. Fill it with your favorite herbs and light candles.
This is the time of year when we crave the warmth of spring and we are sick and tired of the snow and cold. Let the warmth of the water seep into your bones. Celebrate the promise of spring. Let the hot water burn away your self-doubt and emotional baggage from the previous year.
3. Fire and Hearth
At Imbolc, we begin to notice the sun in sky shining longer and longer each day. Candles are lit to symbolize the returning daylight.
Any blessings or divinations involving fire are especially auspicious. Try blessing your candles for the rest of the year. Or keep with the spirit of cleansing by burning any leftover Yule greens.
The celtic deity Brighid, goddess of fire, fertility and the hearth, is commonly celebrated at Imbolc. Many traditional rituals and symbols of Imbolc stem from her worship.
A doll, often woven from wheat or corn husks and dressed in white, is created and invited into the home to feast and sleep; symbolically inviting the goddess into our lives.
And what is a holiday without feasting? For something traditional try baking your own bread, particularly seed breads.
In olden days, Imbolc was celebrated when the ewes dropped their lambs and fresh milk was readily available. Try warming up plain milk with honey and herbs for a special treat on a cold night.
Kitchen witchery is a potent form of magic. What is cooking except the pouring of labor and love into feeding ourselves and those we care for?
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