Ok! so lets start with the whats and the whys. What is Imbolc? Principally it is one of the key 8 seasonal points of the year. Why should we celebrate it? Well it is more of a rejoicing, as Imbolc marks the end of winter and the start of spring. Thus the life and energy returning to the land around us. As practitioners we are wise to have a deep awareness of what the energy of the world around us is doing, so that we are able to work with it rather than be hindered by it.
Seasonal Celebrations should always be kept simple. After all, you’re not expected to turn the wheel, or even raise the energy to, in this case, melt the snows, but we are encouraged to mark and signify what is happening .
Thus, we need to look at what the Seasonal Correspondences are. I often smile when I read the pages and pages of what stuff has been attributed to what meaning. At the end of the day, we can weave deep meaning into what ever has deep meaning for us. Which is why, with these Seasonal Rites, keeping it simple is so important. So let us focus on what we see.
At this time of year;
Plants that naturally flower. (Ergo the source for oils & herbs) Dutch Crocus, Green Hellebore, Hazel, Snowdrop, Spurge Laurel, Stinking Hellebore, Winter Aconite and Winter Cherry.
Animals key to this time of year: robins, sheep especially lambs, swans, wolves, hibernators just starting to awaken
What is the world doing right now? Waking up! Energy is starting to flow again, heat is pushing up from the ground beneath. The beat to the dance of life has just started to tap her feet, so it is time to feel the music and take to the dance floor, with or without a partner, or risk missing the season.
Be thankful for surviving the winter, but lets not dwell on the past. Now it time to look to the work that needs to be done. So, it is a potent time to bless your seeds for the coming year’s crops and consecrate your tools that you need to plant them. So now our intention is set, let’s start the ritual.
You will need with you;
gardens tools to be consecrated
seeds intending to be planted
snowdrops or even snowdrop oil or essence
Find a spot outside; a place directly on the ground that you intend to plant is the most perfect.
Build a small, but to become hot, fire. Don’t light it yet (a few lumps of coal always help raise the heat)
Rub a little snowdrop oil on your hands, neck and feet, or gaze at the snowdrops to attune with it’s essence.
Call to the spirits around you. This can be done by direction and elemental placement, or as you are already outside you can walk in a circle around your fire and call the names of those energies and spirits that you know and wish to have beside you.
e.g. As I walk upon the waking land. I invite all those that have helped me get here (name a few if you wish this includes Gods and Goddess) and I welcome all those who wish to attend with this *shared intention*
( **that bit is keep out the potential trouble makers).
Light the fire and say words along the line of ”as the heat returns to the ground beneath me, let this fire mark the ground with my intent” or with a chant or song of your choice.
Work the fire until it is nice and hot. Through the smoke and heat start to see and dream of what your ground will look like when fully planted. This may take a little time, all dependent on how well you built your fire.
When the fire is blazing, place your metal tools into the flames; and I mean get the metal right into the embers and let them sit there. If they have plastic handles then keep the plastic away from the fire and if your tools are all plastic or you are worried about damage to them, hold them over the heat for as long as you dare.
Once you have heated them all, either at at once or each of them one at a time. Plunge them in to the ground around you forming a circle. The metal of the tools should, if hot enough, let out a nice steamy hiss as the hot metal hits the cold moist soil. This process both consecrates the tools, marks them with your intention and further adds your energy to the ground that you intend to work.
Now, standing in a circle of your newly consecrated tools, lightly move your seeds through the smoke; either still in their packets or on trays. You can say words like ” We bless these seeds with cleansing smoke from the fire of our intention” Once they all have been smoked take a mixed handful of seeds and cast them into the fire. For a moment or two, breath in the smoke that they produce. This is your offering to the spirits for a kind spring.
Then gather up your tools, thank all the spirits that turned up and leave the space with the fire still burning. Allow the spirits of your land some undisturbed time by the fire of your intent. Giving them a chance to work a little of their own magic.
What are your Imbolc wishes and intentions?