Imbolc, celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days. It signals the very promise of the coming of Spring and the stirrings of new life.
It is the promise of renewal, and of the earth reawakening. There is hope. We welcome the return of the light.
It is time to look to the future, clearing out the old, and making way for fresh beginnings. It is a good time to spring clean both our homes and a time to inspire our minds and heart.
Imbolc is one of the four Fire festivals and is dedicated to Brigid Goddess of Fire, of the Sun and of the Hearth. She is the keeper of the fire and flame of life. She ensures we have warmth throughout the cold winter months. She is Goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing.
She is the Triple Goddess. Triple Goddesses guide us on our paths through our various aspects of life on Earth. At Imbolc she is in her Maiden aspect representing youth, growth and new beginnings.
She brings fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and childbirth.
Brigid is also connected to sheep and the lambing season, and well as cows. So dairy and milk products should be enjoyed.
Brigid’s Cross and Associated Beliefs
This traditional fire wheel symbol would have been hung over the hearth which would have been the source of warmth, cooking, light and hot water. Today in modern houses it is traditional to hang the cross near the cooker. It is a symbol of protecting the home from fire, lightning and storms as well as protecting the family from illness.
Brigid is said to have made the cross herself whilst attending a sickbed, she picked rushes from the floor and crafted them into a sacred cross. They are still made from reeds today but can be made from other alternatives as long as they are pliable. Willow is a good alternative. They can also be made from strips of paper.
Make a Bridey doll which can be included in your celebration and placed in ‘Bride’s Bed’ or near the hearth to bring fertility and good fortune to the home. These are very easy to make and can be a simple straw doll or rag doll. At this point I need to say that many people also make wonderful Bridey dolls!
Snowdrops are associated with Imbolc as they are quite often the first flowers to peep through the hard earth with the promise that the sun is returning once more.
It is a time to welcome the return of the light, so light lots of candles. It is the time to set intentions and dedications, a time to celebrate with our family and friends. Enjoy a meal, foods to honour Brigid are milk, cream, butter, bread and seeds. Bake a seeded loaf or cake. Seeds are full of promise and potential; plant some in pots indoors or a greenhouse in readiness for the coming year.
This is a time to bless your home, hearth and family. As part of your celebrations, bring in a branch of your yule tree (if it was a live one) to decorate your hearth or table, along with a sprigs of fresh Rosemary. Pine and Rosemary are particularly significant for Imbolc as they represent cleansing and purification, a letting go of the old and starting afresh once more.
Light a candle put on an essential oil burn. Set your intentions and dedications as you mix and bake your cake. It is not possible to gather at the moment with family and friends, however our intentions will still hold true. Maybe you can leave a cake with friends or neighbours to enjoy knowing that it was made with love, and positive thoughts.
A Powerful Blend for Imbolc
Pine oil is used for its cleansing, purification, to dispel negativity, protection, inner strength and healing properties and Rosemary oil is used for its properties to help with inner strength, clarity and focus (good for setting intentions and dedications), spiritual awareness and understanding.
Add 1 drop each of Rosemary and Pine essential oils to a bowl of warm water and use as a final rinse for your dishes and utensils after washing up. Or use up to 6 drops in an oil burner or room spray.
Here is a nice synergistic blend:
2 drops Lavender, 1 drop Rosemary, 1 drop Pine.
Of course the very best thing about using essential oils is that you can make your own synergistic blend to suit your own preferences.
We are nearly there; the earth is awakening, the signs are there for us to see. After a long rest through the shortest day and Yuletide season, Spring is just around the corner.