Imbolc: Embrace the gifts of spring

Awakening with Imbolc: Embrace the gifts of Brigid and the tender stirring of Spring

Can you feel the subtle shift, as the frost of winter begins to thaw? We stand at the turning point on the Celtic Wheel – Imbolc, an ancient Celtic festival is deeply connected with the Celtic Goddess Brigid. It marks not only the awakening of spring but also the rekindling of our vibrant inner flame.

Learn how to harness the energy of new beginnings and tap into Brigid’s wisdom for creativity, protection, and renewal through ritual, journal prompts and simple ways to mark Imbolc.

Discover how this ancient Celtic festival offers not just a seasonal transition, but an opportunity for personal reflection and transformation. Each turning point on the Celtic Wheel connects invites you to pause and consider how the medicine of this time, Imbolc, guide you in your own life and also support to align more deeply with nature’s rhythms.

Let’s journey into the heart of this threshold and uncover the potent insights and inspirations of Imbolc.

Early spring landscape with a gentle mix of thawing snow and emerging snowdrop reflecting the spirit of renewal at Imbolc

Winter’s gift: Embrace rest and prepare for spring's rebirth

Winter’s gift is rest, regeneration, the dreamtime, renewal, and going within. When we nurture ourselves during the winter, we have the energy and fuel we need to sustain us for the remainder of the year.

Do you feel you’ve taken the time over winter to renew and nourish your inner well?

If you haven’t, take the next few weeks before Imbolc to tend to your inner needs, rest, and restore before moving into the call of spring.

Imbolc’s promise: The coming of spring

Although we can still feel the wintery weather, the sun is getting stronger and the days are getting longer! The stretch may only be noticeable for a few minutes, but it gets longer and longer as the days go on. It is said that from the Winter Solstice, we gain 1 minute of light each day. The land and the life force are growing and getting stronger.

We are open to hope and the promise of the coming spring. The anticipation of what is yet to come can be felt as we begin to tap into the early energy of spring which brings freshness, aliveness, awakening and the stirring of life beneath the surface.

Like all the points on the wheel of the year, Imbolc (also spelt Imbolg) is a transition, an initiation, a gateway, and a celebration. It is the midway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is traditionally honoured around these dates:

1st February: Imbolc (coincides with Brigid’s Day)

4th February, ‘true’ date for 2024

It is the first sign of spring, and we feel the ‘ stirring’ of spring within and without. The name ‘Imbolc’ means ‘put the sheep on to suckle’, ‘ewe’s milk’, or ‘in the belly’ because it was the time when the first sheep were born and when we saw the quickening of new life.

Play Video about Brigids Fire Procession

Imbolc: It’s time for gentle beginnings

Imbolc is a time of new beginnings, so it’s very easy to rush ahead into the brighter surroundings. Yet if we look around, Imbolc reminds us that these are tender seeds we hold in our hands or have planted in the soil of our being. The little snopdrop with its beautiful white petals whispers to us, ‘It’s a time for gentle awakenings’.

In new beginnings, there has to be an innocence where we embody elements of ‘the fool’ tarot card because if we knew what lay ahead, we may never step across the threshold. New beginnings can be full of apprehension as well as excitement! Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith. What new beginnings are you feeling within you and your life?

Beginnings are like tender shoots; we treat them with gentle hands. We also incubate them, giving them space and time to take root. Sometimes new beginnings are for you to hold and not share with the world until they are deeply rooted within.

We can look at the inner soil of ourselves and our lives to see where we will be planting these dream seeds. What needs tending to truly allow the richness of yourself to nurture these seeds?

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Honoring Goddess Brigid: A guiding light and protector

This festival is deeply connected to the Celtic goddess Brigid, symbolising protection, creativity, and new beginnings. Imbolc celebrates the transformation of winter to spring, death to rebirth, and from the crone into the maiden once again, as embodied by Goddess Brigid.

Brigid is the Celtic goddess associated with spring, protection, fertility, generousity, creativity, the forge (blacksmiths and smiths), and livestock. Many of the stories about her centre around these themes. She was born at dawn and on a threshold (both associated with the liminal) on the first day of spring. One of the most ancient forms of her name, “fiery arrow” or “bright arrow, comes from the Gaelic “Breo-Saighit’. You’ll also find her name shown as Brigid, Brid, Bhrighde, Bride, or Brigit.

She is present throughout Ireland—in the landscape, in the churches and schools dedicated to her, in her crosses hung in homes, and in her sacred wells.

She represents the balance of fire and water. She is a fire goddess (the eternal flame) and a water goddess (the healing wells).

We call on her to help light our inner flame within and to point her arrow in the direction we need to go to guide us closer to our goals. You can invoke Brigid for transformation, hope, inspiration, protection, action, inner healing, creativity, vital energy, and passion.

For me, Brigid represents and reminds me of the fire and light that burns within. When this light is nurtured and cared for, this inner flame and eternal light can continue to grow, support, restore vitality, and fire me up for life.

Making Brigid crosses was normal in our house or at school when we were younger, and they would be placed around the front door for protection. We used to have so many that there was really one for every room in the house!

Solas Bhride Candle Pilgrimage for Brigid's Eve

The eternal flame of Brigid: keeping the flame alive

It is said she kept an eternal flame burning in her temple at Kildare, which was extinguished around the time of the Reformation in the 16th century. However, in 1993, the flame was re-lit by the Brigidine sisters. Since then, the Brigidine Sisters in Kildare have tended the flame in their centre, Solas Bhride.

This flame symbolises our own inner light, urging us to keep it alive through self-reflection and care.

Take a moment, close your eyes, and let your breath connect with the inner flame held within you—your sacred flame, your inner divine spark. After a few moments, feel where this inner spark is within your body. What size is it? How is it burning? Is it alive and vibrant, or does it look like it needs more love and tending?

As you feel deep into your sacred flame, allow the answers to come forth.

  • What does your inner flame need to grow?
  • How can you help it expand?
  • What dampens your sacred flame? Are there any places, people, or situations where your flame is dimmed?
  • What prevents you from shining your flame to its full brightness?
  • Write down your insights and see what action or steps you can take to grow your flame.

I remember the first Brigid Day celebration I attended at Solas Bhride – the air was still crisp with winter’s touch, but there was an undeniable warmth in the gathering of people. As part of a candlelight pilgrimage and ritual we walked to Brigid’s Well surrounded by fire light, sang songs and connected to our own intentions. I also was part of the fire procession for Brigid 1500 celebration in 2023, it was a gift to walk with women from all over Ireland carrying in our heart Brigids fiery power. During these event, I felt a deep connection to the legacy of Brigid’s inspiration.

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Imbolc is a time to:

  • Still your mind and listen deeply to your desires, your yearning, your inner wisdom, and your true self to hear what is calling you forth and what is looking to come to you and through you.
  • Consider where you want to point your fiery arrow – your intention and attention
  • Sow seeds (physically and metaphorically), accepting that they will take time to germinate.
  • Prepare your inner soil to hold your dream seeds.
  • Stoke your heart fire as you begin to feel the warmer earth beneath your feet and the fire within you begin to hum with life.
  • Be creative and open to inspiration as ideas, projects, and creations that you can nurture come spring.
  • Cleanse and purify both the outer and inner spaces in order to create fertile soil for new beginnings, ideas, and possibilities to enter the new cycle.
  • Say farewell to the darkness and that which holds you back, keeps your stuck or frozen in certain patterns
  • Create a fresh perspective and an open mind.
  • Look for new beginnings and fresh starts, and see what is sprouting in your life (internally and externally).
  • Make commitments to the next steps on one’s life path as you integrate the dreaming from winter.
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Journal prompts for personal reflection at Imbolc

As we welcome the rebirth of the sun, it’s a time to sow seeds of intention.

Identify an area of your life in which you are seeking or going through a big change or the beginning of something new.

  • What did you learn from your last growth period or from the stirrings of spring last year to the end of the cycle? How can you use this to approach this cycle differently?
  • What is awakening within you?
  • What is emerging from within you—the insights or energies that want to be seen, heard, felt, or explored?
  • What is the energy of the seed(s) you wish to cultivate?
  • How can you nurture and nourish them?
  • Does anything need to be ‘weeded’ out or healed so you can create fertile soil for it?
  • What are these seeds bringing to you in your inner and outer world?
  • What creative intentions are you honouring this Imbolc, or how can you ignite the creative energy within you?
  • How can you honour the ending or transition that is leading to this new beginning?

Honouring Imbolc: Simple Rituals

Celebrate Imbolc by engaging in simple yet meaningful rituals, as these acts connect us to the cycle of nature and the spirit of rejuvenation.

There are lots of ways to honour Imbolc and Brigid’s Day. Choose one (or more) of the below or come up with your own way. Your intention and the energy you bring to it are more important than what you are doing.

  • Plant seeds in your garden or flower pot that hold your intentions for the coming season.
  • Make a Brigid’s Cross, weaving your blessings into it
  • Light candles throughout your home to honour Brigid and welcome the sun back.
  • Create a personal blessing to Goddess Brigid for the protection of your household, for igniting your inner flame, and for her guiding arrow to show you the way forward.
  • Make room for new beginnings in your life, e.g. clear out the cupboard, recycle old papers
  • Have a magical purifying bath cleansed with sea salts mixed with rosemary, frankincense, or myrrh.
  • Fire scrying: light a fire and look into the flames as it burns. How do they speak to you? What do you see dancing within the flames?
  • Review your intentions for the year and see if they inspire you, fill you with passion, and ignite your creativity. If not, do some of them need to be weeded out to create space for new wishes?
  • Cleanse your sacred space for the new season and add images, statues, crystals, food, oils, or herbs to it that represent Imbolc, Spring, your new beginnings, and Goddess Brigid.

Conclusion

Let’s carry with us the spirit of awakening and tending our inner flame that defines this point on the Celtic Wheel. Imbolc is about the promise of quiet beginnings and nurturing hope whilst also tending to uncovered potential.

Whether you’re planting seeds of new beginnings, making a Brigid’s Cross or taking a few quiet moments to reflect on where you need hope in your life, may you feel more connected to the turning of the celtic wheel and nature and be open to transformation.

May Brigid and her fiery arrows guide you towards your goals and may her loving mantle embrace you and remind you of the strength and light within. 

May we step forward into spring with hope, creativity, and renewed energy, ready to reclaim ourselves and our aliveness. 

Tend to you Creative Fire

Join me for an intimate alchemical ceremony to rekindle your creative fire at Imbolc. Together we’ll draw upon the gentle spirit of Goddess Brigid and the medicine of our plant guardian snowdrop. We will open to the healing energies of fire and water so we can tend our inner fire and emerge as the creative, passionate, and powerful beings we are. Join us and let the flames of inspiration rise within you.

Would you like to take time to honor the turning of the seasons?

Take some time out to contemplate what the turning point on the celtic wheel is reflecting to you in your life

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A woman in a floral dress standing in the woods.

I'm Roseleen

Your guide to navigating those life shaping moments.

All of my work is shaped by the beauty and wisdom held within nature. We grow by learning to be relationship with ourselves and nature so you can be your most present, aligned and embodied self.

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