The old word Imbolg translates as 'in the belly’ when all of nature is pregnant and expectant, barely visible but holding the promise of renewal, of earth awakening, the stirring of life forces after the stillness of winter.
Imbolc is traditionally a fire festival but with the emphasis on light. It is the festival of Brighid (Bride, Brigit), St Bridget. It is Persephone returning to the surface world after her time in the underworld. It is the time of new beginnings after the long winter, time not just to spring clean our home but also our minds and hearts.
As the days begin to visibly lengthen we see the first signs of the returning spring. Bulbs begin to sprout shoots after their time spent dormant beneath the earth during the frozen months, ice begins to melt and lambs are born.
It is the time when the old woman of winter journeys to the magical isle in whose woods lies the miraculous well of youth. At the first glimmer of dawn she drinks the water that bubbles through a crevice in the rocks and is transformed into Brighid – the triple goddess in her maiden aspect as maid of spring; goddess of the hearth, of smith craft, of poetry, of healing.
Now is the time to begin to nourish the seeds of our hopes and dreams planted at the Winter Solstice that have lain incubating over winter. It is the time to quicken those forces that have lain dormant within us – time to call forth the best and brightest within each other.
In the tarot it is the time of the ancestor, acting as the primal voice of the totem beasts, both guardian and guide, who welcomes us with warmth and wisdom, helping any seeker who approaches with respect and an open heart, to find their way through the tangled forest landscape.
At the same point on the wheel in the outer level of consciousness the pole star remains fixed in the sky, a reminder for us to hold out true purpose and direction in our hearts, acting as a constant point on which to fix our compass, to anchor ourselves, to draw energy.
Mini Imbolc ritual – open fire, or candle, paper, something to write or draw with.
Take a few moments to become still, perhaps connecting to Brighid or simply allowing some deeper awareness of this time to make its self known to you in some way.
When you feel ready begin to focus on what you would like to bring forth in your own life now, or in the lives of others. Write or draw this on a piece of paper in words or symbols, visualizing as strongly as you can the desired outcome.
Sit with this image for a few minutes and when you feel ready cast your piece of paper into the fire or hold safely with tongs over a candle flame, allowing the fire to release its energy. Visualise the greening soul, (yours or another’s), as an unstoppable force enriching the entire universe with its unique talents and strengths.
Give thanks and blessings.
Other ways to celebrate are to plant some seeds, bake a seed cake, decorate your altar with snowdrops, swan feathers or a Brighid Cross. Whatever you do, have fun!