This week we reach the midpoint of winter, marked by the cross-quarter day of Imbolc. Traditionally, Imbolc begins at sundown on February 1st & continues through February 2nd.
Imbolc is an ancient Gaelic holiday celebrating the very first stirrings of new life–the earliest breaths of spring. Even though there may still be snow on the ground where you are, even if it’s freezing cold outside, we are beginning to feel the very earliest hints of spring rising in our spirits.
After months of turning inward, of hibernation & of rest, life is beginning to stir again.
Here are 2 sweet rituals you can perform to observe this sacred seasonal day. If you’re able, I recommend doing them both in the order listed.
Take a Cleansing Bath
The purpose of this part of the ritual is to cleanse, not only your body, but also your mind & soul. It’s a chance to meditate & reflect upon the things you’d like to rinse away.
✧ Set the mood by lighting candles & turning off harsh overhead light. Light some incense or diffuse essential oils with a scent you find soothing or inspiring. Play some music, if you find that relaxing. (I have the perfect playlist here.)
✧ As you run the bath, add some epsom salt & any herbs you find relaxing.
– The best way to do this is to tie herbs into a muslin cloth or bag, and hang it on the faucet so that the warm bathwater runs through it into the tub.
– Herbs associated with cleansing include: sage, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon balm, sandalwood, lavendar, rosemary, peppermint.
✧ Once you’ve filled the bath with warm water, immerse yourself in the tub. Spend several minutes allowing yourself to just relax completely. Let your mind clear. Focus on the warmth enveloping you. Close your eyes & become attuned to your body.
✧ Spend several minutes visualizing all the negative energy in your body. As you focus, imagine the negativity being swept out of your body, one particle at a time, through your pores. See any negativity being released from your body. Think about how rejuvenating the bath is. See your body, your spirit, and your soul being cleansed & purified by the herbs & the water.
✧ When you feel ready, stand up and get out of the tub. After you’ve gotten out of the water, release the plug so that all the negativity absorbed by the water can be drained away.
Imbolc Candle Ritual
This ritual is adapted from a ritual written by Patti Wigington
SUPPLIES: 4 tea candles & something to light them with
✧ Light the first candle & say:
Although it is now dark, I come seeking light.
In the chill of winter, I come seeking life.
✧ Light the second candle & say:
I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.
✧ Light the third candle & say:
Like fire, light and love will always grow.
Like fire, wisdom and inspiration will always grow.
✧ Finally, light the last candle. As you do so, visualize the four flames coming together as one. As the light builds, see the energy growing in a purifying glow.
Fire of the hearth, blaze of the sun,
cover me in your shining light.
I am awash in your glow, and tonight I am made pure.
✧ Take a few moments and meditate on the light of your candles. Think about this sacred day, a time of healing and inspiration and purification.
Do you have something damaged that needs to be healed? Are you feeling stagnant, for lack of inspiration? Is there some part of your life that feels toxic or tainted? Visualize the light as a warm, enveloping energy that wraps itself around you, healing your ailments, igniting the spark of creativity, and purifying that which is damaged.
✧ Spend a few minutes afterward writing your thoughts & reflections in your journal.