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!