Imbolc is just around the corner, and with it comes the first stirrings of Spring. The earth undergoes a quickening, enchanting dormant seeds and beings into the slow, delicious process of waking and unfurling. It’s a magickal time, indeed.
Imbolc is, for many witchy folk, considered the beginning of the new year. It is a time when the goddess returns to earth in her maiden form after her death at Yule, and subsequent suspension in the purgatory of the dreaming time that is Winter.
Imbolc is a time of beginnings. This is the time when initiations, invocations and purifications are practiced and celebrated. It is a time of remembering—deep in our bones and our sinew—that feeling of hope and promise that warmth and light have not forsaken us, but are returning once again to bless the land and all the creatures who are supported by it.
There are so many ways to honor this magickal earth festival. One of my favorites is through ritual purification with water. Water is healing on so many levels. It is a physical imperative for our human bodies. We are mostly composed of water. Our tissues crave it and contract uncomfortably without it. Water is also emotionally cleansing, being the element of emotions and wombic feeling/knowing/experiencing. Floating in water can rebalance us, resetting and recirculating our cerebrospinal fluid, blood and lymph.
As a gift to you, I am sharing a sacred ceremonial ritual I like to practice in honor of Imbolc. I call it Taking the Waters. May it serve you well.
TAKING THE WATERS: A CEREMONIAL RITUAL FOR IMBOLC
YOU WILL NEED:
for the tea:
1/2 cup dried peppermint
1/4 cup oat straw
1/4 cup dried alfalfa
1/4 cup dried sage
filtered water, boiled
for the bath blend:
8-16 oz. oat milk
1 cup ground oats
9 drops lavender essential oil
WHAT TO DO:
Begin by making your tea. Mix all herbs together. Place 4 Tablespoons of mixed herbs in a french press or other container with a lid. (Store remaining herbs in an airtight container to enjoy later.) Boil your water and pour over herbs. Let steep for 20 minutes.
While the tea is steeping, draw your bath. While the tub is filling, you can add some extra atmospheric magick by lighting candles around your bathing space, which are representative of Imbolc. Add the oats, oat milk and lavender oil to the bath. If, like me, you enjoy incantations with quaint rhyming couplets to speak aloud during your spellcraft, you can repeat the following as your tub is filling:
On this holy day of Imbolc
As the earth, again, begins to stir
I come to take the waters
That they may make me pure
You may want to do a full body dry skin brushing before entering the bath. This is a lovely bit of ceremony for Imbolc as it symbolizes the serpents—which are sacred to Brigid and to Imbolc—shedding their skins and emerging purified.
Strain your tea into your chalice of choice, and bring with you to the bath.
Lower yourself into the bath with full-sensory awareness. Offer a word or two of gratitude/praise/invocation to Brigid, Mama Earth, Universal Intelligence or whatever it is that resonates for you on this holy day.
Sit back, relax, sip your tea, and allow the waters to purify you inside and out. Rest here as long as you like. When you feel complete, release the plug and visualize any old aspects of yourself that aren’t serving you sliding away from you and down the drain to be reabsorbed by the earth and composted into something new and nourishing.
Take a moment to ground and center before standing and exiting the tub. This is for respect to the energies of the holy day, as well as your physical safety.
NOTE: This tea recipe was developed by yogi Walt Baptiste. It is a delicious blend that promotes nourishing and cleansing of the internal landscape.