The Stirring of Life & Spring Awakening at Imbolc
Winter’s medicine is about rest, recovery, renewal and going within. When we rest and nurture ourselves during 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 renewal and nourish your inner well? If you’ve haven’t, take the next few weeks before Imbolc (3rd Feb) to tend to your inner needs, to rest and restore before moving into the call of Spring.
Can you feel it?
Although we can still feel the wintery weather, the sun is getting stronger and the days are getting longer once more! This time of years bring a hope and promise of the coming spring.
You can feel the anticipation of that which is yet to come and yet to be experienced as we begin to tap into the early energy of Spring – the freshness, the aliveness, the awakening… the stirring of life beneath the surface.
Like all the points on the wheel of the year, Imbolc (also spelled Imbolg) is a transition, an initiation, a gateway and a celebration. It is the half way point between Winter Solstice, and the Spring Equinox.
It is the 1st sign of Spring and where 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 where the first sheep were born and it’s a time when we see the quickening of new life. You can see that the sun is starting to set a tiny bit later each day. It might only be noticeable by a few minutes, but it gets longer and longer as the days go on. It is said that from the Winter Solstice each day we gain 1 minute of light.
Imbolc & Brigid
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 smithing) and livestock. Many of the stories about her centre around these themes. Her name means “fiery arrow” or “bright arrow.” 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’ll also find her name shown as Brigid, Brid, Bhrighde, Bride or Brigit.
You can invoke Brigid for transformation, hope, inspiration, protection, action, inner healing, creativity, vital energy and passion.
For me, she represents and reminds me of the fire and light that burns within myself and how when I nurture and care for this inner flame and eternal light, it 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 about the front door for protection. We used to have that many that really there was one for every room in the house!
The Eternal Flame
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 which is really worth a visit.
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 into 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 to?
Imbolc is a time to:
- Welcome the rebirth of the sun.
- Still your mind and listen deeply to your desires, your yearning, your inner wisdom and true self to hear what is calling your forth, what is looking to come to you and through you
- Sow seeds (physically and metaphorically) accepting that they will take time to germinate
- Prepare your inner soil to hold these 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 space in order to create fertile soil for new beginnings, ideas and possibilities to enter for the new cycle
- Say farewell to the darkness and that which holds you back
- Create a fresh perspective and open mind
- Look for new beginnings, fresh starts and to 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
Journal Prompts for Imbolc
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, to be heard, to be felt or to be explored?
- What is the energy of the seed(s) you wish to cultivate?
- How can you nurture and nourish it / them?
- Does anything need to be ‘weeded’ out or healed so you can create fertile soil for it?
- What do you feel these seeds are bringing to you in your inner and outer world?
- Have you noticed any signs that are pointing you toward your path for the year ahead?
- What creative intentions are you honoring this Imbolc or how can you ignite the creative energy within you?
- How can you the honor the ending or transition that is leading to this new beginning.
Ways to honor Imbolc / Goddess Brigid
There are lots of ways to honor 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 is more important than what you are doing.
- Plant seeds in you garden or flower pot which hold your intentions for the coming season
- Make a Brigid’s Cross
- Light candles (or lamps) throughout your home to honor Brigid and welcome the sun back
- Make your own invocation to Goddess Brigid for protection of the household, your igniting your inner flame, 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 and clutter.
- Plan your garden
- Have a magical purifying bath cleanse with rosemary, francinene or myrrg
- 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?
- Cleanse your tools, crystals etc
- 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 weeded out to create space for new wishes?
- Cleanse your altar 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.