Ten days until Imbolc! I am running a bit late on my celebration preparations. I’m especially behind this year because my work schedule has changed and I now work weekend shifts at the hospital. So this year I will celebrate early on January 31st. I truly love the celebration of Imbolc! For me it is the time in the Wheel of the Year for quiet reflection and cleaning out of dusty corners in both mind and environment. I’m often inspired by pictures of Scandinavian homes with clean, bright and “minimalist” decor. The sense of calm simplicity fits this time of year perfectly. I start with cleaning my home as a form of meditation focusing on the Mother Goddess. I pay special attention to cleaning my windows inside and outside. I leave the curtains and blinds wide open so the bright sunlight lifts my spirit and fights the winter blues. I also pay special attention to the doors. Folklore says St. Brighid was born in the doorway of her mother’s home, a space between worlds. So I scrub the doors, the door frames, and porch areas. Then I tighten screws on the latch plates and knobs and lubricate the hinges and key locks. I will bless the openings to my home during my celebration.
I also think this is a time to honor ourselves as women. It is so hard for us to remember that we have to take care of ourselves if we are to be able to care for others. So I like to draw a nice bath with herbs and flowers to scent the water and light beeswax candles to relax. I invest a little into plain beeswax candles because beeswax actually cleans the air whereas paraffin candles produce chemical pollutants as they burn. Soy wax might be an alternative but I haven’t researched those. Fresh flowers aren’t available in the middle of winter where I live so I use herbs I dried or purchased over the summer for the bath water. Even bagged tea such as chamomile, jasmine or rose hip will make a nice bath. Now, floating flower petals are very romantic but personally I think it ruins the romance when I have to scoop it all out of the tub afterward! I prefer to place plant material in cheesecloth or a mesh bag. And the plant material can be composted later! Essential oils or homemade bath salts are also lovely. A milk bath is especially appropriate since Imbolc means “ewe’s milk” referring to the birth of the first lambs. Milk is an excellent exfoliate and skin softener! I sometimes like to read during my bath and I’ll open random pages from Lunaea Weatherstone’s “Tending Brigid’s Flame“. I use several of her lovely prayers during my cleaning and blessing activities.
Some other ideas to celebrate Imbolc: explore Ord Brighideach International; keep a battery candle lit in the kitchen and offer a prayer to Brighid each morning; plan and/or prepare a garden bed; place potted flowers around the home such as snowdrops, pansy, viola, primrose, and camelias or use artificial flowers if real plants aren’t practical; commit to drinking plenty of fresh plain water every day; do a water fast to prepare for ceremony; learn a new skill or hobby sacred to Brighid such as make fresh butter, light and smoor a fire, make jewelry, explore blacksmithing, just to name a few; donate time to a local food kitchen; make and deliver meals to an elderly neighbor; learn how to make and use an herbal first aid kit. Remember this is a time of renewal, a wellspring for creativity and endless possibilities for honoring the Goddess in our every day lives. Keep it simple and joyful!
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