Imbolc or St Brigid’s Day is a time from February 1st through sundown February 2nd, to celebrate the increasing light born at the Winter Solstice. Based on a Celtic tradition, Imbolc was meant to mark the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox. Imbolc is a celebration of the awakening natural world, it signals the beginning of Spring and the stirrings of new life, poking through the soil and the buds on trees. Imbolc is a time for bringing new ideas and projects into the growing light and a time of cleansing.
The original word Imbolg means ‘in the belly’, the Earths womb is pregnant and expectant. It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. We welcome the growth of the returning light and rebirth.
It is time to clear out the old, and let go of the past and to welcome in the new cycle. A time to release old energy to make way for new fresh energy in. This can be done in numerous ways, from spring cleaning your home to clearing the mind and heart to allow inspiration to enter for the new cycle. It’s a good time for intention setting and setting goals for the year ahead.
St Bridget is a Goddess of healing and poetry. She is a Goddess of Fire, of the Sun and of the Hearth. She brings fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and new-born babies. She is the Triple Goddess, but at Imbolc she is in her Maiden aspect.
Here are some ways to honour Imbolc:
Spring clean your home: Get rid of clutter up and clear stagnant energy with sage or palo santo. Open all the windows and let some refreshing clean air flow through your home.
Cleanse your body:
Winter is not the best time to do a heavy cleanse, it is best to wait till spring when it is a bit warmer. However, you can eat healthily, cut out alcohol and drink lemon water and other herbal teas with cleansing herbs like dandelion.
Work with cleansing crystals:
Black Tourmaline, Black Obsidian, Selenite and Smokey quartz are good cleansing crystals.
Visit a stream, river or well. Traditionally, Imbolc was a time for visiting holy water; a spring or a well, to both purify us and bring fertility to our dreams. If the water’s clean, splash some over yourself as you set your intention to cleanse and purify. Glennie Kindred suggests dipping a piece of ribbon in the water and then hanging it from a nearby tree (trees near water are especially sacred) to carry messages of hope and healing. Alternatively, take your cleansing ritual home and have a nice long bath with salts, herbs and essential oils.
Light a white candle:
A flame is the traditional symbol of Imbolc, which is a ‘fire’ festival. Send your intenstions and prayers into the flame and gaze into the flame to centre yourself.
Read or write some poetry:
February 1st is Brigid’s day, the Celtic Goddess of, among other things, poetry. Read poetry or write some poetry.
Set out goals for the year:
As Imbolc occurs at the start of the Gregorian year, it is a great time to clarify what you want to achieve over the coming months. Write a list and speak each one out loud to give it feeling.
Create an alter:
An alter is a great way to create a physical reminder of your intentions. Candles, flowers, crystals, Goddess statues, feathers and sacred water are all beautiful things to decorate your alter with.
Embrace the light, embrace gratitude for the lessons of the last year and take time to notice the Earth stirring. Sending you Imbolc blessings.