Imbolc or is a celebration of light and the first spark of spring. It is a whisper of warmer weather and an ember of hope in the darkness of winter. Crocus’ and perennial bulbs start to bloom and Hellebore, Snowdrops, Iris and Daffodils are often the first flowers of Spring to appear. It is a celebration of the Celtic Goddess Brigid, and many of the traditions of Imbolc are linked to her magic as Goddess of fire, blacksmiths, wells, healing waters, springs and poets. She is also linked to motherhood, fertility and abundance. Brigid crosses were made at this time of year and may be familiar if you had a country childhood. Another Imbolc tradition, as with many Celtic celebrations, is the lighting of fires. Fires celebrated not only the Fire Goddess Brigid, but also recognised the returning power of the sun.
Now is the perfect time for a good spring clean of your home, usually undertaken before Imbolc Eve. Get rid of anything that is cluttering up your home and stagnating the energy, and scrub all the surfaces down thoroughly. Start at the top and move to the bottom or start at the back and move to the front. If you’re not up to cleaning the whole house, pick one room and clean it the best you can. When you’re done, light a candle and celebrate your clean house! Traditionally, Imbolc was a time for visiting holy water; a spring or a well, to both purify us and bring fertility to our dreams. Why not set off on an adventure together as a family to find some water near your home: a river, stream, or well. If the water’s clean, splash some over yourself as you set your intention to cleanse and purify.
Imbolc is a time of magical energy related to the feminine aspect of the goddess, of new beginnings, and of fire. It’s also a good time to focus on divination and increasing your own magical gifts and abilities. Take advantage of these concepts, and plan your workings accordingly. Because of its proximity to Valentine’s Day, Imbolc also tends to be a time when people start exploring love magic. No Pagan celebration is really complete without a meal to go along with it. For Imbolc, celebrate with foods that honor the hearth and home, such as breads, grains, and vegetables stored from fall such as onions and potatoes, as well as dairy items.
Imbolc is the first of three Spring festivals on the Wheel of the Year, and nothing says “Spring!” like planting. Unless you live in Florida it’s probably too early to plant anything outdoors, but you can start planting flowers, herbs, and vegetables in pots and planters now. However you celebrate and whoever you do or don’t celebrate with, may your Imbolc be warm and bright.
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