Imbolc is a time of celebration and ritual, often honoring Brighid, the goddess of the hearth. This is also a time of new beginnings and of purification. Celebrate the Imbolc season by performing rites and rituals that honor the themes of the end of winter.
*Place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house, beginning at sundown *on Candlemas Eve (February 1) , allowing them to continue burning until sunrise.
*Hold a candle-making party and then bless all the candles you'll be using for the whole year.
*This is one of the traditional times for initiations and rededications into the Craft.
*Take a hike and Search for Signs of Spring.
*Decorate a plough and place on your doorstep.
*Perform rites of spiritual cleansing and purification.
*Weave "Brigit's crosses" from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection.
*Make a potpourri for Imbolc by taking a piece of fabric, filling with dried leaves, pine cones, and fruit peels. Tie with a ribbon.
*Research Fire Deities of your Tradition or pantheon.
*Private Meditation and/or Ritual
*Read stories about Groundhog's day, Fire, or even try reading some poetry.
Imbolc Circle Notes:
*Use a brown altar cloth to symbolize the Earth, and decorate with narcissus, daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, or other seasonal flowering bulbs.
*Anoint white candles with musk oil and place them in ivy-covered candle rings. *Burn Imbolc incense.
*After casting the Circle with the wand, use the besom to sweep the perimeter. As you sweep, say: "With this besom filled with power, Sweep away the old and sour. Sweep away the chill of death, As winter draws its last cold breath. Round, round, round about, Sweep the old and useless out!"
*After libation, bless the candles for the coming months saying: "I bless thee creatures of wax and light, and cast out negativity. Serve your purpose, flaming bright, infused with magick, you shall be. Instruments of light and strength, wic and wax though you may be, I give you life of needed length. To aid in creativity!"
*Continue circle in the normal manner.
Imbolc Celebration Ideas:
*Tie three small ears of corn together with a white satin ribbon, then wrap the bundle in a white doily to represent Brid. Use a clear quartz crystal point to represent the Young Lord. As you place them in the basket, say: "The Maid and Lord now bring us light, The winter dies, and all is bright! And as They lie in bed so near, The frozen ground does disappear - For Their love brings fertility, To the Earth again; so mote it be!"
*Burn all evergreen decorations from the Yule ritual. This ensures good luck in the coming year.
*Tie small bundles of straw together with pieces of black ribbon. Name each bundle for something you want to remove from your life, then burn it in the cauldron.
*After libation, walk outdoors for a few moments. Remember the warmth of spring. Then trace the male and female symbols (the symbols for Mars and Venus) on the ground and enclose them in a circle, say: "Encased in Sun, Your light shall shine, And guide the spring toward greening time. And as your hearts both melt in love, To light grows stronger from above."
Warm blessings to you all! The Light has been reborn and is growing in strength to warm us all. 'Imbolc' is a term which means "ewes milk"; this is the time of year that pregnant sheep begin to lactate, a sure sign that spring is coming. It is a season of faith and hope that the sun will once again warm us all and bring new life.
This is a season of staying indoors, and to our ancestors it was the time of busy hands. After the rush of making and buying Solstice gifts and cookies, sending cards, and visiting with family and friends, our ancestors were often indoors in the cold winter months until the planting could begin again in the spring. 'Tis the season for handicrafts of all sorts! Interior home repair, woodworking, needlework of all varieties. This is the time of year candles were made, baskets woven, and wool spun into thread and yarn to make clothing and household items. All of these activities helped decorate the home and kept everyone busy. It is also a perfect time of year for developing psychic ability and creating a new meditation practice.
Brigit, a Celtic Fire Goddess, is remembered this time of year as she keeps the hearth fires burning, keeping everyone warm. Hopefully firewood and food stores will hold out until warmer weather comes again. We gather around the fire with our various projects, telling stories and enjoying the companionship of those present, and planning the months to come. What seeds will be planted at the Equinox..... what goals do each of us have for the coming year, what projects will be completed?
Learn a new handicraft to keep your hands busy in front of the fire or chatting with friends and family; take up a needlecraft, woodworking, scrapbooking.
Call a local food shelter and ask what items they need this week. Often, though they are inundated at Solstice, their storage areas are empty by February.
AN IMBOLC RECIPE:
Dairy foods are appropriate for this time of year, as is anything that reminds you of the sun - spicy foods, colorful foods. February can be a time of scarcity. Here's a good clean-out-the-fridge recipe for a hearty soup. All you need to add is a piece of crusty bread for a warming meal.
Imbolc Vegetable Soup
A third to a half head of cabbage, chopped
1 can tomatoes, diced
a can of beans, whatever you have or like
green beans, carrots, potatoes, celery, onion, corn - whatever you can find; fresh, canned or frozen
Here's the fun part - you can flavor it to suit your mood. Leave it as is to enjoy the flavors of the vegetables. Spice it up with cumin & cayenne. Or add coriander and turmeric for an Indian effect. Make it thicker, like a stew, and add raisins. Experiment and Enjoy!