Imbolc - Finding meaning and Ritual in this Pagan Tradition
This is the first in a series of blog posts based on the Wheel of the Year. The Wheel of The Year is a representation of the eight Pagan Holidays or Wiccan Sabbats. They are to honour and celebrate the seasons and cycles of life. The holidays or Sabbats are representations of the start of each season and mid way points between them.
Spring is coming! It’s hard to feel like it on those chilly wet days but there’s always a feeling that accompanies this time of year, when everyone starts to clean out their closets or you see those flowers peeking out of the soil, that it’s a new beginning. February 1st, known as Imbolc in the Wheel of the Year, is the midpoint between the Winter Solstice (December 21st) and the Spring Equinox (March 21st). Imbolc comes from an Irish word that was originally thought to mean 'in the belly' although many translate it as 'ewe's milk'. It was a celebration of the first signs of Spring.
Imbolc is also known as Brigid’s Day. Perhaps one of the most complex and contradictory Goddesses of the Celtic pantheon, Brigid is a powerful figure. She is the traditional patroness of Poetry, Healing, Smithcraft, Fertility and Midwifery. Brigid is a Triple Goddess – the maiden, the mother and the crone, and thus a female figure to whom all women can relate. Whether the power of the fertility goddess for you is related to birthing a child or symbolically creating a new version of yourself, this is a potent time to employ Brigid’s influence. Imbolc symbolizes the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden. The Crone months of Winter are departing and the promise of the Spring Maiden is around the corner.
I’ve been thinking of ways to mark Imbolc this year and I’ve been inspired by people around me. Friends of ours who have been cleaning out their closets (isn’t everyone thanks to Marie Kondo?!) are hosting a clothes swap on February 2nd - what a perfect marriage of ‘Spring cleaning’, gathering together and sharing. Other ways to mark this time include spending time outdoors (go for a walk and notice how things are changing), pull a Tarot or Oracle card to guide you through this time or, you could look ahead to Valentine’s Day and use Imbolc to start practicing some love magic!
Imbolc Self Care Ritual
What you’ll need:
Your favourite herbal tea (we love Vancouver local tea lani)
Your choice of herbs or essential oils
Chéile REVEAL Fruit Acid Exfoliate
Make a pot of your herbal tea. (Make enough if you decide to use it in your spa treatments too.)
While the tea is brewing prepare your REVEAL facemask by combining it with your choice of water, honey, coconut yoghurt (boosts the lactic acid and therefore the exfoliating power of this facemask) or, when your tea is ready you could use that. Choose whatever feels best for your skin today.
Prepare a facial steam by pouring some boiled water (or, if you have enough, use your tea) into a large bowl or sink. Add in your herbs or essential oils (you could use lavender: soothing and antibacterial, peppermint: refreshing and good for oily skin, lemon peel: detoxifying, rose: cleansing and toning). Cover your head with the towel and breathe in the warm herbal steam.
When you feel ready, apply your REVEAL and relax for 15-20 minutes. Gently clean off using a hot washcloth and apply your face oil or lotion.
Now, pour yourself a cup of your herbal tea and take a few minutes to breathe deeply. Take your journal and spend a few moments thinking about what you are grateful for, or excited about. Fill your heart with love for yourself and your world. The pressures of the New Year - to make resolutions or transform yourself - can often weigh heavily in January but I find that as the month passes the truth of what (or if) we want to make changes gets shaken out. See how you feel at this moment. Spring is on her way and this is the perfect time for you to begin to blossom.