Spring is Coming! Happy Imbolc!

Happy Imbolc! Imbolc is one of my favorite lesser sabbats, but I’ll be honest. It doesn’t hold the same kind of power for me living in San Diego like it did when I was growing up in the Northeast. The last time I lived in New England was from summer 2011 to the very end of December in 2012 and we hardly saw any snow. In the winter of 2005-2006, before I moved to California for the first time, we had a WICKED winter! It was beautiful and amazing. When Imbolc came and the first crocuses were poking up from the snow in my faery garden in my front yard, it was a powerful sight.

 

Winter 2005…the snow was still like what you would expect for early December in northeastern Connecticut.

 

Imbolc marks the midway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. From the moment that the Winter Solstice ends the light begins to grow. You don’t notice it but the days start to get longer from that point on. By the time Imbolc comes around we start to notice the change in the light ever so slightly but we also start to notice changes in the earth.

Imbolc {pronounced im-BOl-k} comes from the Irish “i mbolg” meaning “in the belly” and oimelc meaning “ewe’s milk”. At this time of year people were seeing the first signs of life waking up from the sleeping and frozen earth around them. The ewes, female sheep, becoming pregnant, had babies, and started lactating to feed their young. Nothing helps us to feel reconnected to the energy and essence of life itself during a barren winter than to see new life being born.

 

A little solo Imbolc ritual altar from 2010.

 

Imbolc is a celebration to that honors the Goddess Brigid {pronounced BREED}. She is the Celtic solar goddess of poetry, healing, midwifery, and smithing who’s name means “fiery arrow” or “bright arrow.” You’ll also find variations of her name like Brigid, Brid, Bhrighde, Bride, and eventually she becomes Saint Brigit.

During Imbolc Brigid is honored for her power of light and fire, her ability to ignite our inner flame and inspiration. She’s honored for her power of transformation and the power of awakening life. Spiritually this is a great time for working with the concepts of purification, awakening, inspiration, healing, and fertility.

 

 

There are a lot of beautiful ways to celebrate Imbolc. I wanted to share a small, simple ritual to honor Brigid that the whole family can participate in. I created this years ago when I was priestessing public Imbolc ritual. I knew there would be children present so I created this fun ritual that gives everyone a chance to be part of creating the energy for the ritual.

 


 

The Sacred Well Ritual for Imbolc

This can be done alone or as part of a larger celebration. For this you’ll need the following:

  • A large glass bowl
  • Red and White ribbons
  • Greenery, daffodils, snowdrops, or other white or yellow flowers
  • Blessed water to fill the bowl
  • Pennies
  • White pillar or taper candle
  • Brigid oil {see down below}

 

Charge and bless the candle, dressing with Brigid ritual oil. Place the bowl in the center of the altar or gathering space. Place the candle in the center of the bowl.

Bless your water ahead of time and have it in a container at your altar. You might want to use full moon water, or something I’ve done when it was snowy out, was have the kids go outside and bring in snow balls. I’d allow them to melt on the altar and then bless the water for the ritual. I like to add a few drops of the oil to the water as well. Pour the water gently into the bowl. You don’t have to fill the bowl but you should have around 3-4″ of water in the bowl, and obviously not covering the candle. Light the candle and ask Brigid to be present at the well.

Give everyone some ribbons, greenery, and flowers and have everyone participate in decorating the “well”. (Be careful working around the lit candle.) Do this with the intention of honoring Brigid. Place everything with intent and reverence to honor her. Call on her while you do this through chanting or singing, asking for her presence to bless this sacred well. There is a chant that you might like to use, it’s one that I enjoy that is perfect for this work. (To hear a version of this chant performed by the Assembly of The Sacred Wheel click here.)

 

Holy Well & Sacred Flame

Holy Well and Sacred Flame
Maiden, Mother, and Crone
Bright One be here,
Bright One be here.

 

When you’re finish with the decorating have everyone take a penny or two. Hold them and fill them with desires, wishes, and intentions. Ask for new life to be brought into areas of the life that need it. Take turns going around the circle placing your pennies into the well. You can do this silently while the rest of the circle chants (you can use the same one listed above or use another that you find fitting) or each person can speak their wishes aloud when they toss their penny into the well. If you do it this way everyone would lend energy to it by lending a powerful “SO MOTE IT BE!” when the penny is tossed into the well.

When everyone has dropped their pennies in the well whoever is taking the lead or standing in as the priest or priestess stands over the bowl directing energy through their hands into the blow and says:

 

Blessed Brigid
Bright and Shining One,
Bless these offerings
And light the inner flames
Of each soul here
So they may manifest their desires.
May we all be filled
With renewed life this Imbolc.
In your name
And in your honor,
So more it be!

 

When you are done leave the bowl and pennies and let the flame keep burning and let it go out on it’s own by reaching the water. At the end of your ritual, as part of clean up and completion, pour the water out on the earth in offering to the Goddess.

 


 

There are different things you can do with the pennies. If you’re doing this with your family or a spiritual group you work with regularly, like a coven, the pennies can be kept in a spell bag on the altar or in another sacred place to honor everyone’s wishes for the year. You can then use them in your fall spells and rituals once you have reaped all that you have planted during the year.

In the past people have asked if they could take their pennies with them at the end, especially in a public ritual. If you want to do that you’ll need to have people mark their pennies before the ritual or otherwise make them distinguishable so people get their own penny. Honestly, I don’t feel it matters if you get the same penny you threw in. All the pennies are blessed together in the holy well and contain the collective energy. So in truth no matter what penny you get they hold all the energy and intentions together.

 

Here’s a recipe for Brigid Oil
{you determine what a “part” represents; i.e. 1 part = 1 teaspoon}

  • 4 parts Dragons Blood oil
  • 2 parts Sage oil
  • 2 parts Bay oil
  • 2 parts Benzoin oil
  • 1 part Rosemary oil
  • 13 parts base oil

For a base oil you might want to try Sweet Almond or Jojoba Oil. You can substitute the Bay and Rosemary oil with 1 Bay leaf and a sprig of fresh Rosemary is you’d like. When I do this I like to warm the oil before using.

 

Have a wonderful and blessed Imbolc!

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  • Linda Ursin
    February 2, 2017 at 1:29 am

    Have a lovely celebration 🙂

  • Witch of Lupine Hollow
    February 2, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Love the well idea – wells have so much power in Ireland and Scotland. So beautiful.