Imbolc is fast approaching. This is the first holiday of the Wheel of the Year, the annual array of holidays based on Mother Nature’s journey through the year. The Wheel is mostly associated with the agricultural societies of the Celtic nations, but the wisdom of seasonal associations can be applied to any geographical location. And I say that Imbolc is the first holiday, because that is how I celebrate the Wheel. However, there are others who choose to recognize different starting points for the yearly cycle. I mean, it’s a circle, so an argument can be made for appointing any holiday at the beginning. Imbolc is when new seed growth begins stirring within the earth. It is sometimes called the quickening of the year. So, for me, it’s the first. It’s a time of initiation, of setting intentions, of recognizing potential energy and taking those first steps toward guiding it to physical manifestation.
This year’s Imbolc should be especially powerful, for it coincides with a 'super blue blood moon’. A blue moon is when a second full moon appears in a calendar month. There are typically thirteen full moons in a year, so, generally speaking, we get one blue moon every year. (This year is an exception when we get blue moons in January and March, but no full moon in February.) A super moon occurs when the moon is at its closest to the earth (its perigee), and, therefore, appears larger and brighter to the earthlings viewing it. And a blood moon is a total lunar eclipse that renders the appearance of the moon’s surface a reddish hue. This is caused by the illumination of the moon by ‘sunlight filtered and refracted by the earth’s atmosphere.’ (google.com) Each of these phenomena are pretty unique in their own right, but to have all three occurring in one moment in time is a rare and spectacular event. In fact, the last ‘super blue blood moon’ revealed herself 152 years ago on the evening of 31 March, 1866. (telegraph.co.uk)
So, like I mentioned, this year’s Imbolc should be especially powerful. This opens the door to a pretty dramatic grand entrance to a new year cycle. And I, for one, am really excited about it.
As with any holiday, there are infinite ways to celebrate Imbolc. A cursory scroll through Pinterest could give enough idea fodder to keep even the most high strung holiday reveler happy. So, feel free to find your own way(s) to celebrate this powerful holiday. But, in case you’d like a few more ideas, here are some of the ways I like to honor Imbolc.
10 OF MY FAVORITE WAYS TO CELEBRATE IMBOLC:
Imbolc is a time of welcoming back the Sun after the long season of darkness. The last holiday was Yule - the Winter Solstice - which is the longest night of the year. Now the Sun is growing stronger and giving us a little more light every day as he moves toward his apex on the Summer Solstice. This is great time for fire magick. I light to light candles in honor of the Sun - to welcome his return to power, and to encourage his reemergence.
An off-shoot of this reclamation of the Sun’s power is also a celebration of the return of the more masculine/yang aspects of energy. I find that my body is beginning to itch for more movement after the introspection and rest of the Winter. So, I like to incorporate physical movement in my Imbolc celebrations. Sometimes that is something simple like a walking meditation, and other times I might take a hike or treat myself to a particular vigorous yoga practice or dance. The activity really isn’t important. It’s more the act of moving the body.
Imbolc is a great time to plan gardens. These can be physical or metaphorical gardens … or both! Take some time to determine what seeds you want to plant for the coming growing season. How do you plan to nurture these seeds through their development? And what do you hope to do with the fruits of your labor?
I like to start re-setting my internal clock at Imbolc. So often I can get a little overwhelmed, overstretched, and discombobulated during the busyness of the winter holiday season and the turning of the calendar year that I find myself disconnected from the Natural cycles. Imbolc, for me, is the perfect time to reconnect to these sacred cycles. I like to watch the sun set on the 31st before putting myself to bed (yes, early!), then rising in time to watch the sun rise the morning of the 1st (again, yes, early!). This simple practice allows me to intentionally and consciously tune into the Natural World as she goes through her recurring routines. It reminds me that I am a part of these cycles and of this world. And reminds me that I am not exempt from Natures Laws despite what I might sometimes start to think.
As Imbolc is a time for new beginnings, it can feel really nice to clean house. Tidying and scrubbing the home is a time-honored tradition at this time. And if you aren’t the Martha Stewart type, you can do a ritualistic house cleaning by using a magickal besom (broom) to sweep any negativity or ineffectual habits from your environment (and, on the larger scale, your life), making way for new healthy and happy energy to enter.
For those of you who are crafty, you might consider making yourself (or someone else) a rosemary besom. As mentioned above, these can be used to ritualistically clean home space, ritual space, and life, in general. Plus, they’re pretty and they smell good. You can make it as simple or as fancy and embellished as you like. Just be sure to leave it under that ‘super blue blood moon’ for some extra powerful Imbolc charging!
Do a little stone magick. Citrine is a beautiful stone to work with during Imbolc. Yellow is a color associated with the holiday as many of the late winter/early spring flowers are yellow. And Citrine is a great stone for clearing unwanted old, stale energy. It has the power of removing these energies from person and place, with an added bonus: Citrine doesn’t hold on to any of that energy it clears, so there’s no accidental transference from the last thing cleansed to the next. So, clear yourself and your space by waving your Citrine around and envisioning any psychic gremlins being drawn into the stone and purged into the Universe to be recycled into something light and lovely.
Take a purification bath! Being the bath whore that I am, this is one of my favorites. Draw a nice warm bath (or nice hot bath, if you’re like me). Add the following: dried lemon peel, chamomile blossoms, epsom salts, sage leaves, coconut milk, calendula blossoms, and lemon verbena oil. Slink into the tub and soak, gloriously, until your heart’s content. Feel free to add relaxing, meditative music; hot tea; kombucha, candles, and whatever else tickles your fancy. Once finished, drain the water, and imagine any energetic crusties, unhealthy habits, thought patterns that aren’t serving you, etc. leaving your person and rolling down the drain with the bath water. Let the Universe take it and recycle it into love and light, leaving yourself open to more bliss.
Try a Persephone meditation. You can make up your own, find one you like in a book or online, or try the one I’ve created just for you here. Persephone is the goddess of the transition between the dark and the light, the Underworld where the Mysteries reside and the Middle World of our waking daily lives. Take some time to connect with her, and, perhaps, ask her for guidance into this new cycle of growth and development. Knowing Persephone is on my side, helping me navigate the path, gives me a greater sense of security when the transitions get a little slippery.
Imbolc is a wonderful time for initiations. In fact, many magickal traditions host their initiations on this sacred holiday. You might be seeing initiation into one of these. Or you might declare your own initiation to a year of personal study, healing, and growth. Or you may set initiations for yourself in the same way that others set New Year’s Resolutions on 1 January. Either way, it’s a good time to make declarative intentions for the things you would like to set into motion for the year. Boldly own and celebrate your beginnings! Then go forth and conquer (lovingly, of course)!