If you follow the Wheel of the Year, then you know right around the corner (this coming Friday, to be exact – February 1) is a magical holiday called Imbolc. It’s a lesser sabbat or lower holiday, but nonetheless we celebrate the significance of this midway point between winter and spring. Now, the days begin to grow longer and barren trees stir with new life. In a few short weeks, we’ll see all forms of new life emerge. We don’t have much more darkness and cold to bear.
But Winter is a season of purpose – as are all seasons. Winter’s medicine is about rest, recovery, and going within. When we rest enough during winter, we have the energy we need to sustain us for the remainder of the year. In native traditions, this concept is known as Bear Medicine. Can we learn from bear and hibernate sufficiently to restore ourselves ahead of the busy, waking seasons?
Imbolc is a last call for bear medicine. If you haven’t rested enough, take the next few weeks to honor the cycle. Being one of the “wise” requires nothing more than taking nature’s messages to heart. If you have rested and are feeling anxious to move into spring, Imbolc is also an invitation to get your shit together, energetically speaking of course. Many magical practitioners take Imbolc off from their day jobs to stay home and clean, organize bills, rearrange the home, and prioritize personal projects. The besom or broom is one of the symbols of Imbolc because it’s figuratively a time of sweeping out old patterns to usher in what is new, fresh, and productive. Pagans honor the Celtic goddess Brigid during Imbolc, who reigns over hearth and home and is known as the Keeper of the Sacred Flame. Tending to your home on Imbolc honors her legacy. This ancient holiday was later interpreted as a day to feast in honor of the purification of the Virgin Mary (who supplanted Brigid as the figurehead), and candles blessed during “Candle Mass” in honor of Mary’s purification were through to have protective powers. Hence the other name of this day in modern-day Christian traditions, Candlemas.
I’m posting an awesome video on the history and practices surrounding Imbolc over in my Ars Magica virtual library. If you’d like access to Ars, you can visit this page:
I’ll be holding live ritual for Imbolc on Friday, 2/1 at 6 p.m. for everyone enrolled my Magical Sabbatical course. Registration for Spring is now open so if you’re interested and have been waiting to join us, head over here and enroll so you can enjoy Imbolc ritual with a sisterhood of like minds. We’d love to have you join us: https://www.sagegoddess.com/magical-sabbatical/
I created a custom Imbolc candle in the shop, wrapped with a special springtime oil blend and citrine, peridot, and clear quartz gems. You can find that here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/120373296/imbolc-candlemas-mid-winter-celebration
Enjoy Imbolc, dear ones. Sweep out what isn’t serving you. And get ready to welcome Spring with a spirit that is energized from winter rest.
So it is.