by Shannon Hamilton
Many years ago I would practice intricate rituals that would take days of planning and setup and then I had kids. Luckily, I found a group of other families who honored and celebrated the turning of the Wheel of the Year. They taught me to let go of my rigidity around these sacred rituals and gently go with the flow.
My children grew older and so I found more time and space to return to the more complex rituals and then Covid hit (which should have given me more time, yes?). Instead, I was faced with an ailing parent and having to travel 3-½ hours each direction to help care for my family. I found myself wanting to celebrate but feeling so worn out by the time I had a few minutes that I wasn’t able. I started creating tiny, mini rituals that I could easily do and today I offer you some ideas for honoring Imbolc.
What is Imbolc?
Imbolc, also known as Candlemass and St. Brigid’s Day, is celebrating the return of the light. This year it lands on February 2, 2022, (February 1-3), is the first festival and is considered a “cross-quarter point” in the Wheel of the Year as it marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is a holiday and celebration to honor the returning sun and the promise of spring. It represents a time of purification, growth, renewal, fertility and letting go of the old as we make way for the new, and planting new seeds.
Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of healing, purification, childbirth, fertility and smithcraft, is honored at Imbolc. Traditionally breads and cakes would be made in honor of Brigid and left outside as offerings to ensure health, fertility and prosperity the coming season.
What ideas have been floating around in your mind that you’re wanting to bring to fruition? What inspires you and brings your heart joy? These are the types of intentions you may want to be setting at Imbolc so that they are ready to be birthed and manifested at the Spring Equinox! Maybe you just trust that the cycle will continue and honor the Wheel of the Year to keep spinning.
A mini (choose your own) Imbolc Ritual
Ritual is a wonderful way to honor the cycles of growth, rebirth and transformation within nature and how it is mirrored within ourselves. Below are some simple ideas to inspire your own Imbolc ritual, you may light candles, meditate upon what you wish to birth this spring, or make a delicious feast for your loved ones to honor this day. Don’t have time for a feast, could you bring your conscious awareness to a few bites during your meal?
Set your Sacred Space
An altar, a breath, a minute (or a few) with your eyes closed, let one breath clear the way or take a full ritual cleansing bath, all while connecting to your heart. No matter what you are able to do, at least place your hands upon your heart, for your heart is a sacred space.
Take a breath, feeling your energy descend into the Earth. Connect to the quiet, calm and inwardly directed energy this time of year offers – even if it’s only for a few seconds. Doing this while in your bathroom, great! I’ve done this waiting in my car in at the drive thru pharmacy.
Time to Meditate? Visualize? Write Down your Intention? Light a Candle?
I once had so much going on that I had a hard time even focusing. I googled pictures of Imbolc, candles and Brigid’s cross. Light a candle, even if it’s a birthday candle, draw or visualize a candle. Honor the flame. Honor the flame within you. At a store? Walk by the garden section and take note of all the preparations that are starting for spring. I noticed Easter eggs were already on the shelves at my grocery store, preparing for what is to hatch. Write down your intentions if you are able to. Gaze at a representation of what you would like. Be specific and clear. Breath that vision into your hands and place your hands upon your heart.
To close your mini ritual, say thank you or send massive gratitude and blessings to our Earth who continues to support and nurture us through her ever changing cycles and rhythms.
I hope this has given you some ideas as to little ways to incorporate the honoring of Imbolc into your life.