Wellbeing 101: Imbolc

26.01.21

As we write this, our breath hangs in the air, and snow has lain on the ground for days; thoughts of Spring feel very far away. Yet, just around the corner, Imbolc awaits us, the Celtic festival that marks Spring’s arrival.

The 1st of February welcomes the beginning of the next season to us here in the Northern Hemisphere. Imbolc (pronounced ‘im’olk’ also known as Oimelc) is the official start of Spring. The word originates from ‘in the belly’ – referring to how the Earth is pregnant and awaiting the birth of nature; expecting buds to bloom, lambs to arrive and shoots to start to peak from the soil. This is the ‘quickening of the year’.

Imbolc lands halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, it is the day that recognises the sun’s power returning and is, like many Celtic festivals, centred around fire. Flames for this day were seen as imperative, as this is also the day of Brigid. Known as the Goddess of healing, poetry and fire, ruling over both sun and hearth, Brigid was celebrated to bring fertility to both the land and them.

Imbolc

As we move forward with our lives, we believe it is more important than ever that our human actions reflect nature. Hence, as the Earth slowly starts to spring back to action, then let this rhythm lead us, although COVID-19 is far from over, let us gently use this time to begin to think of our very own next steps. After months of hibernation, of turning inwards and rest, life is starting to stir again.

Imbolc is a time to let go of the past, the darkness of winter, and start looking to the future and the light returning. This is the perfect time to clear out the old and make both outer and inner space welcome new beginnings.

Here we have gathered some of our favourite rituals to honour this new beginning, we hope they offer you a way to connect back to yourself and start afresh.

Reconnecting to nature

Reconnecting to nature

In ancient times, Imbolc was a time to purify and bring fertility to our dreams by visiting water; a spring or well. An ancient ritual of carrying hope and healing messages is to dip a piece of ribbon or thread into the water and then hang from a nearby tree (those near water are especially sacred). During this offer your thanks to your guides and ancestors (even if you are not sure who they are!).

Remember to thank the spirits of the place you visit and to pick any rubbish up as an act of gratitude to the land.

This is a time to literally plant seeds! Whether you would like to start a windowsill herb box or have some space in a garden, think of the little plant supporters and protectors you would like to grow to support you. This article is a great starting point.

These next two rituals are taken from The Seasonal Soul, a fantastic resource for honouring and paying thanks to the seasons.

The Ritual Bath

The Ritual Bath

The purpose of this part of the ritual is to cleanse your body and your mind & soul. It’s a chance to meditate & reflect upon the things you’d like to rinse away.

  • Set the mood by lighting candles & turning off the harsh overhead light. Light some incense or diffuse essential oils with a scent you find soothing or inspiring. Play some music, if you find that relaxing. (I have the perfect playlist here.)
  • As you run the bath, add some Epsom salt & any herbs you find relaxing (the best way to do this is to tie herbs into a muslin cloth or bag, and hang it on the faucet the warm bathwater runs through it into the tub).
  • Herbs associated with cleansing include sage, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon balm, sandalwood, lavender, rosemary, peppermint.
  • Once you’ve filled the bath with warm water, immerse yourself in the tub. Spend several minutes, allowing yourself to just relax completely. Let your mind clear. Focus on the warmth enveloping you. Close your eyes & become attuned to your body.
  • Spend several minutes visualising all the negative energy in your body. As you focus, imagine the negativity being swept out of your body, one particle at a time, through your pores. See any negativity being released from your body. Think about how rejuvenating the bath is. See your body, spirit, and soul being cleansed & purified by the herbs & the water.
  • When you feel ready, stand up and get out of the tub. After you’ve gotten out of the water, release the plug so that the negativity absorbed by the water can drain away.

NB – A Ginger tea to accompany you as you bathe is the perfect way to revitalise and stimulate the ‘fire within’. It helps alignment with the rise of Kundalini serpent energy at this time of year.

Imbolc Candle Ritual

Imbolc Candle Ritual

This ritual is adapted from a ritual written by Patti Wigington
You will need 4 tea candles & something to light them with.

Light the first candle & say, to yourself or out loud, in whatever words come to you:
“Even though we’re still in winter, there is new life stirring in the darkness.”

Light the second candle & say:
“I call in the light & the fire of the growing sun. I call on its power to spark new life deep in the dark.”

Light the third candle & say:
“Like fire, wisdom, inspiration & new life will always grow — just like the first spring flowers stirring in the dark.”

Finally, light the last candle. As you do, visualise the four flames coming together as one. As the light builds, see the energy growing in a purifying glow:
“I call on these flames to cleanse & purify me as I move into the time of new life coming manifest. Fire of the hearth, blaze of the sun, fill me in your shining light.”

Take a few moments and meditate on the light of your candles. Think about this sacred day, a time of healing & inspiration & purification.

Do you have something damaged that needs to be healed?
Are you feeling stagnant, for lack of inspiration?
Is there some part of your life that feels toxic or tainted?

Visualise the light as a warm, enveloping energy that wraps itself around you, healing your ailments, igniting the spark of creativity, and purifying that which is damaged.

Spend a few minutes afterwards, writing your thoughts & reflections in your journal.

Our shamanic journeys are the perfect way to call in your fresh start.

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