If we were to liken the wheel of the year to the phases of the moon, Imbolc would be that first sliver of light of the waxing moon. Winter time as we have been speaking about in our posts is a time of deep rest, quiet and reflection, much like the dark to new moon phase of the lunar cycle. At Imbolc, we celebrate the very first inklings of Spring. If you look outside you may notice little green shoots and beautiful snowdrops, if you listen, you'll notice the birds are a bit louder and the days are starting to feel a little longer. As with all things in nature, these are gentle and subtle changes, it's important to remember that February can still be a cold and harsh month, with the threat of snow, fog and frosts, so we mustn't get ahead of ourselves but Spring is definitely on it's way.
The word Imbolc comes from old Irish meaning "in the belly" which refers to pregnant ewes and is associated with the onset of lambing season. If we think of winter as like being in the womb of mother nature, resting and being nourished, now is the time to think about birthing our ideas and goals out into the world. Turning from inward to outward as we make our way towards the Spring and Summer months. All the ideas you've been keeping warm, all the things you've been dreaming about, how might you begin to manifest these? Gently, and patiently like nursing seedlings, journal about your intentions and goals for the year and how you're going to take care of the growth of these seedlings. How are you going to share your growing light with the world?
Imbolc has long been a time associated with hope and gratitude, when the winters were harsher, surviving the winter was something to indeed be thankful for as well as the return of light and growth which we start to see at this time of year. Imbolc demonstrates that light always follows dark, that the wheel once again turns and brighter, warmer days are once again upon us.
In your journal, write a gratitude list of all things you've been grateful for over the winter, things that we maybe take for granted like being warm and well fed. Even though we know now, that the seasons will continue to turn, spend some time thinking about what it would have been like for people not knowing if the light would return each year, if they'd be able to grow crops and how precious these first stirrings of Spring would have felt. In our current environmental situation, it's important to not take our seasons for granted, and to also be grateful for new growth. Imbolc is a wonderful time to pledge ourselves in service of mother earth, after she has felt absent over the winter months, seeing her return can make us feel closer to her, wanting her to stay by our side. What ways can you make small changes to help reduce your effect on the environment? These can be small steps, like taking up composting, or having a go at growing your own veg.
Words associated with Imbolc:
Awakening, stirring, quickening, hope, light, budding.
Journaling prompts for Imbolc
- What would you like to breathe new life into at the moment?
- What ideas, plans, wishes and intentions are stirring in you at the moment?
- What have you learned about yourself this winter?
- What are you excited about?
- Is there anything in your life at the moment that feels like it's hampering new growth? How could you address this?
- Declutter your mind - are there any old stories that are stuck on repeat in your mind? How could you let these go in order to create space for new things?
Cleanse your home
Imbolc takes place on the 1st-2nd Feb and by taking part in a few simple rituals, you can celebrate this magical celtic festival in your own home. Imbolc combined with being in Aquarius season (Aquarius being an air sign) is like a breath of fresh air as we begin to let go of the heaviness of winter. Homes can get so stuffy over the winter, we rarely have the doors and windows open and have central heating on constantly. If we find winter a tough time of year and particularly the pressures and sometimes emotional strain of Christmas, it's likely there's also a lot of negative and stagnant energy in the home. A lovely simple ritual to do on Imbolc is to open all the windows in your house and take some deep, long breaths in. Imagine that you're breathing fresh air in on behalf of your home and as you breathe out, imagine that you're breathing out anything heavy, anything negative and anything that no longer serves you. Focus on this leaving your house. Have a good clean and declutter of the house, remember your pledge to mother earth and make considerate choices about how you get rid of things and what products you use to clean with. You can even make your own essential oil cleaners using oils such as Pine, Tea Tree, Lemon and Eucalyptus. Wash the curtains, plump the cushions, shake out the rugs and put fresh sheets on the bed.
After you've done this, it might be nice to use sacred smoke to further cleanse every room in your house. You can make your own cleansing Imbolc incense with the following recipe:
Crushed dried juniper berries
& dried pine needles
Or you can use herb bundles such as sage and rosemary and go through each room smudging. If you don't want to use smoke, essential oils can work in the same way. Use Juniper essential oil mixed with Sage and Rosemary essential oil in a diffuser (not suitable in pregnancy or if you have epilepsy).
After you've cleansed your home in a way that suits you, light a new white candle in each room to represent bringing in positive new energy into your life and home. You can also combine this with making prayers to the Goddess Brigid who is associated with this time of year, think of the candles as offerings to her and ask her to bless your home and all who are in it. You can also decorate your home with fresh flowers, we love to get bunches of Gypsophila and other white flowers to represent the purity of this time of year and to also offer these to Brigid.
Move your body
It's not just your house that is likely to have stagnant energy post winter time, but your body too. We certainly aren't big fans of extreme detoxing or exercise routines but it can feel really good to move your body at this time of year, think of emulating the plants and animals that are waking up after hibernation - stretching, lengthening and unfurling your body. Try free flowing styles of yoga that invite expressive and natural movements, or gentle dance classes. Concentrate on the breath, and moving your body in lots of different ways, like a cat stretching after a nap. Booking in for a massage at this time of year can also be a really good way of getting blood and lymph moving round the body once again.
Take up bullet journaling
Bullet journaling is a fun and creative way to stay connected to your goals and intentions as well as things like tracking your health, wellbeing and self care practices. There are so many beautiful templates available for free online and you can spend many a happy hour browsing other people's journals on pinterest or Instagram. Follow the hashtag #bujo and enjoy lettering tutorials and drooling over pastel coloured stationery.
Lavender and honey milk
The smell of this drink provides a wonderful reminder that Spring is on it's way as well as it being wonderfully calming and stress reducing. Add your choice of milk to a saucepan and simmer on a low heat. Sprinkle in about half a teaspoon of organic dried lavender flowers and allow them to infuse in the milk for about 5-7 minutes. Strain the milk into a mug of your choice and then stir in a teaspoon of honey (this can be replaced for maple syrup if you're vegan). Find somewhere to sit and have a quiet moment whilst drinking this slowly and thinking about all your favourite things to do with Spring.
We really hope you've enjoyed our blog, wishing you a blessed Imbolc dear ones!
We are heading into the first new moon of 2020 this Friday and how wonderful to start the decade with a new moon in Aquarius who is so often referred to as the great humanitarian. With all that is going on in the world right now, environmentally and politically, there couldn't be a more potent time to pledge our self to the enhancement of not just ourselves but the collective too. If you're due an energetic upgrade...now is the time! Aquarius is an air sign ruled by the planets Uranus and Saturn. Uranus is associated with revolution, social change and awakening and Saturn is associated with structure, time and boundaries. Add these together with the transformational element of air and you get this powerful energy of change - the breaking down of structures that no longer serve us and no longer serve the collective. The Archetype of Aquarius is the protester, the inventor, the rebel, the revolutionary and the visionary. They are never scared to use their voice to inspire change and to dismantle oppressive structures.
During this new moon, ask yourself, what are the oppressive structures in your life at the moment, perhaps placed upon you by society, others or even yourself? How could you use the power of this new moon to begin to break these down? Saturn also governs boundaries, so it's another opportunity to check-in with your boundaries, this time particularly in relation to people/situations/places that are draining you and preventing you from serving the collective. If one person is always draining our energy and time and it's preventing us from doing the work we want to do in our community or family then this is out of balance. What could we put in place to protect our energy and time?
How good are you at speaking your truth and sticking up for what you believe in? If this is a real struggle for you, journal about what it is that holds you back? Is it a fear of what others might think? Fear of repercussions? How could you claim back some of your power and stand in your truth more? Think of someone outspoken that you really admire. What qualities do you see in them that you would like to emulate? On the flip side, do you dominate with you truth and take up too much space with your opinions and views? If you feel like you're always poised for a revolt...how could you perhaps soften and come into your heart more? There is a beautiful practice in Buddhism called 'Accepting defeat and offering the victory' - it's about knowing when sometimes is more appropriate to be humble and back down out of love, compassion and wanting to protect peace. Other times we need to be wrathful and deliver harsh truths. Over time, we learn to be able to discern what is appropriate at which times. A good indicator is whether we're being governed by love or anger. Love will always serve peace whereas anger is destructive and destroys peace - even if the original intention was good, anger at the steering wheel can only cause harm.
Key themes associated with Aquarius:
New perspectives, social justice, social change, activism, enlightenment, awakening, new ideas, upgrading, truth, the greater good, the collective, the big picture, creativity, rebellion, community, trailblazing, innovation, human potential
In The Zodiac Oracle, Alice Ekrek says "The well-known image of the water-bearer associated with this sign represents the waters of rejuvenation that Aquarius pours out of it's vessel and onto the earth. Aquarius is an air sign, and rejuvenation is achieved through the ideas and innovations that it brings to the world."
Now is a wonderful time to think outside the box in ways that we can support and care for the environment. Aquarius is a community minded sign, why not host a clothing swap party and invite your friends round? Did you know that in 2018 350,000 tonnes of clothing was sent to landfill!? You could also pledge to not buy anything new for a whole month...maybe even two, maybe even a year!! Opt instead to support your local second hand shops and keep more clothing out of landfill.
February can be a gloomy month, with the continuation of dark days and what seems like constant uk drizzle, volunteering can be wonderful way to brighten up this month - there are so many amazing environmental charities that you can volunteer for, from things like tree planting to doing litter picking outings in your local area.
Aquarius is a fixed Air sign which can sometimes mean that it gets stuck in ways of thinking and very attached to their own point of view. It's worth using this shadow side of Aquarius to check-in with our own thought patterns and whether we too have got a bit stuck. Open your mind up to other people's opinions and ideas, be humble and curious. Strike up conversations with people who have different viewpoints to you and really try and listen to where they're coming from, it doesn't mean you have to agree with them but you might learn something new along the way.
The other shadow side of Aquarius is throwing themselves into new ventures, projects and humanitarian work at the cost of spending time with their loved ones or being emotionally unavailable. It can sometimes be their way of keeping people at a distance. This is a helpful question to ask ourselves in relation to our own job/projects/campaigns/goals - are we leaving anyone out? Are we neglecting our close personal relationships? How could we create more balance here? When you are spending time with your loved ones, how present are you? This can be another trait of an Aquarius...to be away with the fairies. Try and be more boundaried in regards to your time with others, if you're spending time with people, show up for them, be present, hold space for them, rather than letting yourself daydream or be distracted.
Working with the Air element
If you haven't attended a soundbath yet, we thoroughly recommend it. This is a wonderful way to connect to the Air element and the magic of sacred sound. Usually at a soundbath, you lie down on the floor snuggled up in blankets whilst the sound practitioner plays a range of instruments from chimes, crystal bowls, gongs and singing bowls. You drift off into a state between sleeping and waking as your mind is transported by the soundwaves. Some people see colours or images, other people mention a feeling of mental clarity or have gained insights into particular situations in their life. It's incredibly soothing for the nervous system and healing for the body. Many yoga studios offer soundbaths, so search for your local studio or holistic centre and enquire :)
Simply smelling essential oils or using them in an air diffuser is a delightful way to connect to the element of air as the smell is carried on the air itself. Essential oils are gifts from nature and help us to connect to the elemental realms and the magic of mother earth. Isn't it incredible that essentials can help us with so many ailments as well as soothe our emotions and elevate our consciousness? There is an abundance of magic in the natural world, just waiting for us to slow down and appreciate it!
Oils associated with Aquarius are: Cypress, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Neroli & Geranium.
Moon in Aquarius days can leave us feeling a little light headed and you may hear Aquarians talk about how they so often flit from one thing to the next - they're the zodiac equivalent of having a million tabs open in an internet browser. Freewriting can be a wonderful creative way to get what's in your head, down on paper to give you more mental space for other things. Dedicate some pages in your journal for this, it might be nice to centre yourself first with some breathing and meditation and then let your pen hit the page and just allow whatever comes in to your head to spill out into your journal. You can always burn the pages afterwards if you want to release what you've been writing.
If you haven't discovered the beauty in a regular mantra practice we really urge you to try this out. Not only does mantra recitation bless our mind and our inner energy channels, but when spoken or sung aloud it actually blesses the air that the mantra travels on. This can be a beautiful way to contribute to purifying our environment and can also aid in grounding that airy Aquarian energy by giving it one thing to focus on.
A simple mantra to start with is the mantra for compassion OM MANI PAME HUM- as you recite the mantra concentrate on it's meaning which is asking that all beings be happy, all being be peaceful and all beings become free from all types of suffering. Don't forget to include yourself in that prayer!
Aquarius and your body
Aquarius rules the lower leg, ankle and circulation. Circulation can be an issue during the winter months, here's a body oil to help:
Aquarius New Moon Body Oil
Use pure essential oils such as Cypress, Chamomile and Neroli. Add a few drops of each to a base oil of your choice and use upward brushing movements (working towards your heart) to gently massage the oil into your skin. Dry body brushing can also be a great way to improve circulation as can walking and yoga.
A lovely new moon treat is to spend some time with your legs up the wall (perhaps after applying your body oil), having your legs raised can do wonders for the lymphatic and circulatory system as well as aiding with sleep and helping to calm the nervous system.
We are wishing you a powerful New Moon in Aquarius dear ones. Don't forget to spend some time connecting to the Dark Moon energies as well, that all important liminal time between moon cycles. Dark moon time is a time to rest, release the last cycle and create space for all the new things you want to grow. New moon blessings to you all x
Dearest moonbeams, we are heading into a powerful full moon lunar eclipse in the sign of Cancer tomorrow. You may have already been feeling it's effects this week as the moon has been waxing. We're here for you with another lunar self care blog.
January's full moon is known as the Wolf Moon and this year we have a Appulse eclipse, meaning the moon is obscured by the Earth's shadow. Cancer is a feminine water sign ruled by the moon so expect to feel ALL the feelings. You may have already found yourself crying at the slightest thing this week and that's bound to increase as the moon reaches her fullness. Full moons always bring emotions up to the surface, this is heightened by both the fact that it's an eclipse and that the moon is in the deeply emotional and sensitive sign of Cancer. Self care, rest and nourishment couldn't be more important at this time.
Eclipses are always invitations to work with our shadow selves and full moons are a time of release, forgiveness and heightened power. New moon in Capricorn invited us to look at our soul purpose and balance between our spiritual life and daily life. The full moon in cancer can help us to see how much emotional baggage is standing in the way of us achieving our spiritual goals. Spend some time really sitting with your emotions and whatever is coming up for you during these full moon days, journal about your feelings. What patterns can you find within your emotions? What narratives can you see are on repeat? How much of this is your stuff or stuff that has been passed down to you? Can you cut the cords?
We can also ask ourselves if our attachment to safety and security is preventing us from moving forward and stepping into the unknown. Cancer is a very home orientated sign and the shadow side of this can be that this sign gets stuck out of fear.
A key theme associated with cancer is CARE - it's really important to achieve balance between the care that we give to others and then making sure we care for ourselves. How good are we at receiving care and support from others? How often do we let ourselves be vulnerable? Likewise, have we gotten in the habit of shutting ourselves off from others, feeling like we're unable to reach out and give care to others? In your journal write down your emotional needs. Are they being met? Think of ways that you could send love and care out into the world at the moment in a way that's not going to deplete you.
Boundaries are great to re-establish at the beginning of a new year. Reflect on your emotional boundaries at the moment, are they functioning? Do you need to assert new boundaries? Who and what is depleting your energy? Remember, if we want to achieve our soul purpose we need our energy to be directed in the most beneficial way.
The quiet moon
January's full moon is also referred to as the quiet moon in honour of it's season of winter. It's important to remember, in the midst of everyone posting about "new year, new you", detox plans and exercise goals that we are in the depths of winter. Yes, winter solstice on Dec 21st marks the increase in light but this is gradual and subtle. In the old celtic calendar, the first signs of Spring are celebrated with Imbolc on Feb 1st. This is some way off yet and we still have to get through frosts, fogs and potential snow. Over here in the Uk at the moment, the days are dark and gloomy, the trees are bare and the mornings are quiet. It gets dark at about 4pm and the weather is cold and damp. All the festive decorations have been taken down so everywhere feels stark and the energy slightly flat. Though we can't necessarily keep all our Christmas decorations up, it might be worth thinking about how to make your home more nurturing and comforting. Home is an important theme for cancer (crab shell), moon in cancer days invite us to look at how nurtured we feel. Think about home comforts that are going to keep you warm and nurtured over the coming winter months. Adorn your living space with fairy lights and candles, invest in soft and luxurious throws and blankets, snuggly socks and our favourite...loungewear!
Remember to breathe
Cancer rules the chest, lungs, stomach, liver and gall bladder. The cold, damp weather can leave us susceptible to coughs, colds and chest infections so again self-care is key. We need more rest in winter so make sure you're getting early nights and sleeping more. Gentle yoga practices like yin, restorative and yoga nidra are wonderful at this time of year as well as emphasising breathing practices to help your lungs. A depleted heart chakra can also lead to ill health in the chest so going back to what we were talking about before, looking at whether you are giving too much of yourself out into the world and how you could scale back to help your body rest. Padma mudra is a wonderful mudra to help bring prana (life force) energy back into the heart chakra.
Emotion soothing tea
Not only will this herbal tea help with relaxation and sleep but it will help to soothe our full moon emotions. Mix dried rose petals, dried chamomile and dried lavender and infuse in hot water, add honey to sweeten and enjoy! These herbs would also be wonderful in a bath with essential oils or Rose and Geranium.
Full Moon Herb bundle
If you have left over spruce from Christmas, this makes wonderful herb bundles that you can burn to cleanse your space. It's really important that the spruce is dried out before you burn it. Take a few sprigs of your spruce, you can mix it in with a cinnamon stick and some dried rosemary. Tie together with string, light it at the end and when it catches alight, blow it out so that it smoulders and creates smoke. Use a feather or your hands to go around your house cleansing your space with this sacred smoke.
Support yourself with Rose oil
Rose is like the mother of essential oils. She will support you, comfort you and help you to let go of painful emotions. You can work with Rose essential oil energetically by holding a bottle of rose essential oil whilst you meditate or you can apply topically. Rose is a very strong oil so just one drop in some carrier oil will be sufficient. Taking this across the heart space will help to soothe emotions and replenish your heart chakra.
Full Moon Rose Water
Full moons are the ideal time to create moon elixirs. Place a bowl of purified water somewhere where it can absorb the moonlight/energy of the full moon. Place some fresh rose petals and a piece of rose quartz in the bowl and leave overnight. The next day, pour your infused water into a spray bottle with a little bit of alcohol or rose water toner to preserve your moon mist. Place a drop or two of rose essential oil into your spray bottle and shake. You can then use this as a heart chakra aroma mist, spray around yourself and take deep breaths or use to cleanse your space. Store out of direct light and label and date your mist.
We hope you've enjoyed our blog, wishing you a blessed lunar eclipse dear ones xx
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