Merry meet brothers and sisters.
Happy Imbolc! The light is returning and the cold is beginning to loosen it’s hold. I hope you’ve done your spring cleaning, if not, it’s time to start. Take down any remaining holiday greenery and, provided it’s not plastic, burn it to purify the home….Please dear Goddess, do not try to burn the plastic. I am NOT recommending that anyone burn an artificial holiday wreath in the yard. You’re eyes will burn, your nose will bleed, and it will not be a happy Imbolc. Plus that smell never goes away.
If you have a fireplace, start a fire. If you have a cauldron or a fire pit, start a fire in that. If, like me, you are bereft of cast iron or chimney, feel free to cover your altar with tea lights. When the sun sets tonight, walk a candle through your home, focusing on welcoming the return of the light. I like to cover my altar room with candles….up high though. Again with the puffy cat’s tail that frequently catches fire. I wouldn’t recommend this with toddlers or pyromaniacal children either. I was one and I recall gathering several household items and using candles to light various possessions on fire, including a large chunk of my little sister’s hair which I liberated from her head during a nap. Another smell that never goes away. Let’s be practical if you don’t wish to spend your ritual celebration ripping flaming curtains off your windows….the neighbors might stare.
It’s traditional to honor Brigid during Imbolc. She’s commonly depicted as the Celtic goddess of fire, so if you’re interested in performing a working in addition to celebration tonight, consider utilizing the element of fire. Brigid is associated with healing, childbirth, midwives, the hearth, poetry, intelligence, and craftsmanship. Many midwives and traditional healers use Imbolc as an opportunity to charge something called a Bratach Bree. Take a large piece of cloth, a blanket or a shawl, and lay it on a window sill or drape it over porch railing. Leave it overnight so Brigid can pass by and touch it, infusing it with her power and blessing. Set this cloth aside for healing purposes only. Lay it over birthing women or animals, over sick children, over weak babies. Keep it and recharge it every year at Imbolc and it will accumulate healing energies year after to year until it is a sacred family heirloom.
A simple craft you can try is creating a cross of Brigid. If you’re like me, you fancy yourself crafty and collect piles of DIY recipes and directions, but you lack the materials and honest skills to pull it off. So trust that if I can make this, you can. It’s a simple, soothing process that can be small and easy or large and ornate. Hang it in your home to protect from fires and lightning, or above your bed to guard you while you sleep throughout the year. If you made one last year, move it to the attic and hang it in the rafters to continue watching over your home.
Here’s a simple pattern for a Brigid’s Cross made of straw:
Or you can make a god’s eye, which serves the same purpose but looks a little different and can be made with two sticks and yarn:
While you’re making it, focus on honor Brigid and welcoming the return of the light.
The goddess Brigid was known by many names,
Breed, Brigit, and Bride–you are all one and the same.
On this Imbolc Sabbat, I call you by candlelight,
Bless me with creativity and purpose this night.
By light and magic, this spell is spun,
For the good of all, with harm to none.
(Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac, Llewellyn 2016)
Allow your candles to burn down through the night. Celebrate the light and hearth and home. Revel in the warmth of the fire and think of the warmth of the sun to come. Happy Imbolc Sabbat and Blessed Be.