Ready for Spring?!
Your ancestors also felt how you feel!! It must be time for Imbolc…
When is Imbolc?
At the cross point between Yule (Winter Solstice) and the Spring Equinox, nestles the ancient feast day of Imbolc. Falling on February 1st (though the exact astrological cross-quarter can change year to year) you may also hear this festival spoken of, as Candlemass, or Brigid’s Day.
Bring her to mind, and you may see flaming red hair, dewy skin, and a sense of the maiden. She brings the Spring. Youthful, creative, skilled… She is the ancient Irish Goddess of Healing, Poetry, Silversmithing, and Midwifery. Also known as Brigit and Brighid, She remains such a potent deity that she was canonized by the Christians, being adopted as Saint Brigid and honoured with Candlemas day in the Church calendar.
Brigid holds the flame
She is keeper of both the initiating spark and the sustaining warmth of the hearth. It’s not difficult to see why the ancients of these Celtic lands (which is where I live) connected to her and called her close.
After a long winter, even though, yes, the nights are getting shorter and the days are growing in length, Spring still takes her merry time! The quickening below the surface of the soil does not deliver straightaway…
Yet the Goddess Brigid is a beacon of possibility.
It’s important to understand that Brigid wasn’t (and isn’t) just a symbol. She was considered one of the most powerful Celtic gods in the Celtic pantheon – as the daughter of the oldest God: Dagda, One of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
She was living, breathing, listening, watching, and present. Her attention and intention could be felt. And could mean the difference between life and death. This hasn’t changed… we have. But She hasn’t.
So here, at Imbolc, at the dawn of the calendar month of February, Brigid and her sacred flame can still be honored and celebrated. Want to know how?
Here are 5 simple ways to call in the Goddess Brigid for your Imbolc celebration…
1. Light a Lamp
Traditionally at sunset on Imbolc, each lamp in the house would be lit.
But instead of switching on the electric lights, light candles as the sun goes down on February 1st. As each wick is met with a flame, call in Brigid. Ask for her blessings. Ask for her warmth, and her creativity.
The elemental alchemy that occurs when you mix ingredients (flour = earth, water/milk = water, the rise = air, heat = fire) carries an elemental, almost primal quality.
Take it back to these basics, and intention becomes a significant influence in what you create.
Try stirring in words, wishes, incantations. Call on the Goddess as you mix and concoct, create and alchemize. Allow your small, kitchen table creations will serve as a kind of effigy, a symbolic representation of the greater creations of your life for the coming year.
3. Spring Clean
Brigit is one of the Goddesses whose domain spills into the domestic spaces: she hangs out in hearth and home.
It is a highly honouring act, to keep these spaces clean, tidy, and in order.
The Spirits notice.
And let’s be honest, when things are spit-spot on the home front, it leaves more time, energy, and emotional bandwidth to get on with the things in life you REALLY want to do. Play. Socialising. Creativity. Sacred practice. The good stuff.
4. Write Poetry
Brigid is the patroness of poets. She flows with inspiration, and sparks words and meaning. Amongst a handful of the creative arts, poetry is her jam. Devote some to her today.
5. Hold a Self-Purification Ritual
As the mistress of fire, Brigid has an immense amount of power over this element, particularly its power to cleanse and purify, in preparation for the budding new life that Spring will bring.
Try this simple rite to clear away the debris of the winter months, and let the light shine in.
YOU WILL NEED:
A candle (and something to light it with)
A small amount of sea salt
A small bowl of water (melted snow would be amazing if you can get it!)
THE RITUAL METHOD:
- Find a quiet space to work. Sit, and center yourself, taking a few deep breaths to come into your body.
- Invite Brigid into your ritual space. Feel her presence.
- Light a candle to represent fire, and ask Brigit to purify the will of your life force.
- Take some salt to represent the Earth, and sprinkle it onto your skin, asking Brigit to cleanse your body.
- Light some incense to represent Air, and ask Brigit to cleanse your mind.
- Finally, take a small dish of water, sprinkle drops of this onto, and around your body and ask Brigit to cleanse and purify your emotions.
- When you feel complete, offer the Goddess your heartfelt thanks, blow out the candle and carry on with your day.
Now tell me… do you have a favourite Imbolc ritual?
Or do you connect to Brigid in your own practice? How does she show up in your life?
Imbolc Blessings to you