Imbolc: Rituals, Rites and Activities

imbolc hellebore

I Think I See Spring!

Imbolc begins each year at sundown February 1 and ends at sundown February 2. It marks the halfway point between winter and spring and symbolizes new beginnings and change. Because it still falls on the tail end of the winter season, we have one last chance to utilize the powerful dark energy that comes with it. Since this holiday also represents life emerging from darkness, any manifesting spells or rituals would also be appropriate.

One way we can take advantage of Imbolc is by going inward and focusing on our Connection with Ourselves. This can be anything from checking in with your body to see what it needs, to doing work on a deeper level. Many practioners will choose to do shadow work during this time or focus on developing their psychic gifts. If you’re not feeling any of these things, you can still spend some time doing a little soul searching or personal journeying.

This holiday also celebrates the goddess Brigid who rules over smithcraft, the hearth fire and the flame of inspiration (for poets). She is described as having bright orange hair and being surrounded by flames. She is considered a solar deity, which makes sense as we need someone to light our way out of the dark months of winter. In addition to being linked to sacred places of healing, Brigid is also someone who watches over births and healings. This goddess is traditionally represented by blackberries which coincidentally are good for healing and prosperity spell work.

This holiday is a simple but beautiful one, full of powerful meanings. If you’d like to honor this Sabbat but aren’t sure where to start, I’ve totally got your covered. There are a bunch of things you can do for Imbolc – whether you consider yourself to be magickal or not.

Here’s some interesting ways you can celebrate Imbolc this year:

Use your tools:

This Sabbat is about looking inward during the last dark moments of winter. Which means you can dive deep into your Connection with Yourself to learn more about what you really need. The easiest way to do this is to work with your divination tools. (Tarot, pendulums, runes, automatic handwriting, scrying, etc.) All you need to do is ask Spirit to tell you what you need to know right now and be open to the information that’s being provided to you. Since we are working with dark winter energy, be prepared for it to bring up some things you were unaware of or that might be difficult to look at.

Meditate:

Take a moment out of your day to sit in a quiet place and mediate. The goal here is to get grounded and centered. Then, when you feel ready, start focusing your attention on yourself and see what sort of images or messages come to the surface. Make note of these and address or work with them as needed.

Shadow Work:

Winter is a great time to look inward and do some shadow work. The energy of winter is dark and resonates with the darker aspects of your shadow self. The alignment of energies makes this a powerful time to move and clear old beliefs and patterns. And to help you understand an clarify your current behaviors. Don’t miss out on this valuable time with your Shadow!

Candle blessings:

Imbolc is the perfect time to work some positive candle magick! In the Middle Ages, candles were blessed en masse by the church on February 2nd. Their purpose was to cleanse them of any negative energy and prepare them to be filled with a “holy purpose.” It was called a Candle Mass, which is where the old name for our pagan holiday, Candlemas, came from. It was later changed it to Imbolc because it was thought to be too close to Christian practices. Ironically, in a fun twist, the church eventually cancelled this practice because it felt too Pagan.

Weather Omens & Magick:

Where are my weather witches at!? If you’re into weather magick this is the Sabbat for YOU. With the seasons going from winter to spring, the transitional energy provides the opportune time to work with the weather. You can do anything from charms, to rituals to spells. And don’t forget to gather any snow you may need for your spell work to hold you over through the warmer months.

We also have the opportunity to look for omens in the weather by divining information from certain events or signs. A great example of this practice is Groundhog Day. The appearance (or omen) of a groundhog appearing means that the rest of the winter will be short and spring should be arriving soon. If he does not appear, then we can expect winter to linger well into the spring months.

Spiritual and Material Cleansing:

In preparation for the new life coming this spring, Imbolc is the perfect time to do some cleansing. Take a look around your home and get rid of anything you don’t need and organize that pesky junk drawer or your overpacked garage. Don’t forget to give your space a good old-fashioned deep clean while you’re at it. This will set you up with the clean slate you need to begin manifesting new things. You’ll also want to do an energetic cleansing too. This will also reset and rebalance the energy of your tools, your altar or your person as you prepare to move into the lighter days of spring.

Set Some Goals:

The energy of Imbolc makes it a good time to set goals or visualize your future. If you can spend some time getting clear on what you want and setting that intention, it gives the Universe enough time to manifest it when the cycle of spring starts bringing “new growth” into your life.  

There are many ways you can celebrate Imbolc, no matter what background you come from. Just pick one that sounds fun or interesting and try it out.

In Closing:

The plant in this blog photo is called Hellebore. It’s said to banish evil and reverse any kind of harmful or destructive magick. It is a toxic plant so if you chose to work with it, place it in a contained area like a sachet or jar and make sure you wash your hands well afterwards. If you prefer you can grow it in your garden to protect your home. Hellebore is associated with the goddess Brigid and Imbolc, making it a good choice for any special magickal workings on February 2nd.