Imbolc February 2nd

As the year begins we have the first pagan holiday of 2017 approaching. This holiday is Imbolc sometimes known as Candlemas. It marks the change of the Crone into the Maiden. It also marks the beginnings of Spring. Depending on your traditions you may bring in other aspects. The Gaelic Goddess Brigid is often associated with the holiday. Brigid was also chritianized into Saint Brigid and marks the patron of Saint Brigid Day (February 1st).

Traditional foods to be eaten at this time include dairy, breads, grains, and vegetables stored from fall such as onions and potatoes. Some may argue that spicy and full bodied foods are preferred.

In our family I prefer a nice stew or Shepard’s pie. Both seem to be adequate dishes to celebrate the season. That and I have a picky modern American family who doesn’t like to try new things like leek soup. Oh and pancakes! Their golden color and shape represent the sun returning it’s warmth for the spring.

As an undercover witch one of my favorite ways to celebrate is to light candles. White for the Goddess, Red or Yellow for the God, and Orange to symbolize the change to come.

Weather divination is also a part of Imbolc. Traditionally you would watch for serpents and badgers emerging from their dens which may explain the North American tradition of Groundhog’s Day.

In Gaelic tradition it is about when Cailleach the divine hag gathers her firewood for the remainder of winter. If winter was to last longer then the weather would be bright and sunny so that she could gather more firewood. If the weather was cloudy and foul it meant that spring was closer because she could not go out to gather more firewood.

In Greek mythology it is the story of Demeter searching for Persephone. It marked the bringing of Light (Persephone) back into the world.

Although traditionally many witches perform some sort of ritual on this day or on the nearest full moon, I prefer small celebrations with the family. I love making pancakes with the kids, lighting candles, burning incense , and cooking a hearty meal for the family.

Rituals aren’t a big part of my being a witch. It can be at times, but for me it’s about reaching mental clarity and with that I like to meditate on the meaning of the holiday and apply it to my life. Imbolc is about new beginnings and self cleansing. Out with the old so to speak. It’s a time to work on making changes for the new year and cleansing all the negativity out of your life.

Meditation

Meditation is an undercover witch’s best friend. It can be your gateway to your spirituality. You don’t need a ton of supplies to practice your craft. Sometimes you need a spiritual connection, but you are in a place you can’t just whip out your alter supplies and cast a spell or ritual.

My husband is a Christian, and although he is well aware of my religious path he prefers a head in the sand kind of approach. (His exact comparison) In other words he is okay with it as long as he doesn’t see it. So how do I do rituals and things when he’s around? I can simply tell him I’m in need of some quiet time, and request that I not be bothered for x amount of time. However, we have four children so I can’t always be sure that something won’t happen and be disturbed.

So in order to practice my craft without it being openly obvious I’ve determined that meditation is useful. during meditation you can usually go through your rituals and spells within your mind’s eye. You can open your circle, summon the four elements, and talk to the Lord and Lady. It works just like any other ritual or spell except you perform it within your mind through visualization instead of in the physical realm with all your supplies. Just like any other spell or ritual remember to close your circle and ground yourself before you leave.

If it helps to cleanse your mind for your ritual you can anoint yourself with a corresponding oil. I usually place in on my forehead. However you can also chose to take a ritual bath before or after as well. You could also perform your meditation ritual within the bath I suppose if you could without interruption. However, this is unfeasible for me most of the time because I have four children who think it’s prime time to yell “Mom…mom…mom…mom….MOM!” from behind the bathroom door. Mother’s everywhere will understand that small children and bathtime usually means you aren’t going to enjoy it peacefully.