The Wheel of the Year continues to turn. We are beginning to see the sun shine brighter and the light of days lengthen. Spring is right around the corner, with its promises of warm, breezy days and fragrant blooming flowers. Imbolc, or Brigid’s Day, is here ~ it is a sacred time of year, the point between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara). The Sabbat of Imbolc is aligned with the first day of Spring and growth and rebirth, and honors the powerful Celtic Goddess, Brigid. The name Imbolc originates from ‘i mbolg’, which translates to ‘in the belly’, referencing the beginning of the breeding season for livestock, particularly the pregnancy of ewes. Imbolc dates back to the pre-Christian era and celebrates the end of Winter, welcoming the approach of the lighter half of the year. The hardest part of the year is behind us ~ adverse weather, freezing temperatures, and the stresses of the season will soon be in the past. Farmers are getting ready to go back to work and preparing animals for breeding, as we all anticipate the warmth of Spring.
At the core spirit of Imbolc, is Brigid ~ the much-revered Triple Goddess of the Hearth. Brigid is often called upon to help keep your home safe and harmonious. She also presides over healers, poets, smiths, childbirth, and inspiration. She is widely celebrated in Pagan culture, particularly in Wicca. Brigid was such a prominent and worshipped deity, that she was actually adopted into the Catholic Church as St. Brigid and is even one of Ireland’s three patron saints. There are so many beautiful traditions and rituals dedicated to this inspiring goddess, including the fascinating Perpetual Flame. In the 12th century, nuns in Kildare, Ireland, tended a fire built in St. Brigid’s honor, the Perpetual Flame. It was maintained exclusively by women. The flame was uninterrupted for several hundred years, but the fire is thought to have been extinguished at one point during the sixteenth century. The Perpetual Flame tradition was revitalized by the Brigidine Sisters in 1993. The flame was ceremoniously rekindled and continues to be tended by the Sisters, its guardians.
Four Ways to Celebrate Brigid’s Day at Home
~ Make a Brigid’s Cross. Brigid’s Crosses are an ancient Imbolc tradition, dating back thousands of years. The meaning behind St. Brigid’s Cross is multilayered. It has a presence in both Pagan and Christian traditions, acting as a protective talisman. The main purpose of Brigid’s Crosses is to protect the home and drive away evil, fire, and hunger. In addition, the crosses represent peace and harmony, attracting positive energy for the upcoming year. Brigid’s Crosses are traditionally displayed on the front door, but they can also be displayed on the back of the door or over doorways. Need help creating your Brigid Cross? Rhianna will be creating a how-to video during her weekly Rhi-view on Wednesday, January 27th. Tune in at 12pm on Facebook Live or reference the video later!
~ Take part in an age old tradition. Imbolc, like most Sabbats, is a time for celebration and feasting. Festive foods that are symbolic to Imbolc include dairy products (remember the animals are ‘in milk’), as well as seeds and nuts; all representative of rebirth, and the start of the growing/livestock season. These protein-rich foods provided lasting nourishment in ancient times when food was rationed during the cold months. Since Imbolc honors Brigid, creating dairy dishes is a delicious way to honor this Goddess. A fun, hands-on Imbolc tradition that honors Brigid, is making homemade butter. You will need a few simple materials: one clean glass jar with a lid, heavy cream, salt, and warm water. Create your workspace and say a small blessing to honor Brigid and request Her blessing upon your physical home and heart(h). Pour the cream into your jar, filling it about two thirds to three quarters full. Vigorously shake the jar imagining everything you want to manifest this Spring, letting yourself find a rhythm. It will take anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes, depending how full your jar is. After your butter forms, rinse it in a strainer or bowl under warm water to remove the whey. You can add salt, if desired. Incorporating the butter into your meal is a simple, yet beautiful ritual to honor the Goddess.
~ Take a Ritual Bath. Set aside time to soak in a healing and rejuvenating ritual bath. You can incorporate candles and herbs, including Lavender, Rosemary or Chamomile to connect with the Imbolc spirit and enhance the energy by using crystals associated with Imbolc ~ Carnelian, Amethyst, and Garnet are all good. (We recommend placing your herbs in a muslin bag, to make clean up easier.) As you soak, visualize your problems being swept away with the water, washing away the stress and dreariness of winter and replacing your troubles with a beautiful, pure white light that radiates within and around you. Hold onto this peaceful feeling, as your troubles spin down the drain, the water having cleansed you of any negative or stagnant energy. As you emerge, know that you are ready to welcome new growth in your life with the start of Spring.
~ Work with the Element of Fire. Since Imbolc is deeply tied to fire, creativity, smithcraft and the hearth, it is an opportune time to work with fire ~ candles being one of the simplest tools to use. The light of Brigid’s Flame represents warmth and purification, guiding us out of the cold and the dark. Protection spells too, are especially potent on Imbolc, and it is fitting to call upon Brigid on Imbolc to help protect your home. Begin by Cleansing your space with your favorite cleansing herbs or blessed moon water before you light your candle. Next, Carry the candle from room to room expressing gratitude for all you have been given and all that is yet to come. Remember to show reverence and gratitude for Brigid before asking Her – or any deity – to assist you. If you prefer to keep your flame on your altar, we have a Brigid, Wood Finished Candle holder that is perfect for your Imbolc celebrations.
We honor Brigid and the warmth in our hearts and homes, as our inner fire awakens. May you feel this energy weaving its magic into the simplest of tasks as you enjoy the rest of the season. Imbolc Blessings to you and your loved ones!
Love & Blessings,
~ Dreaming Goddess
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