What is Imbolc?
Imbolc, the dawn of new beginnings and return of the light, is celebrated at the astronomical midpoint between the Winter solstice and Spring equinox, often during a full moon. Also known as Brigid’s day, the second sabbat of the year now occurs on February 1 or 2 for the northern hemisphere, and August 1 or 2 for the southern hemisphere, in 2021, Imbolc is on February 2.
The sabbat represents the coming end of winter and the return of the sun’s warmth. From its old Irish roots, Imbolc means “In the belly” and refers to the pregnancy of ewes, and also “To wash or cleanse oneself” referring to cleansing rituals.
At Witchry, we decided to embrace Imbolc’s renewal tradition by launching our brand new website and at the same time sharing with you 5 creative ways on how to celebrate Imbolc in 2021.
Cleanse and charge your altar
To purify your altar, you will need smudge or incense and a source of fire, a fireproof container, lemon or moon water, and a clean rag.
Start by taking everything off your altar and placing it nearby. Next, take your clean rag and water and start wiping down your altar using counterclockwise movements. During the entire process, visualize and repeat out loud that you are cleansing the negative energies from your space, renewing the energies, and allowing your altar for a new beginning. Then, repeat the same process, purifying the tools and supplies that you previously set aside and replacing them back on the altar.
The last step in the cleansing process is to light your smudge or incense on fire and gently blow the smokes on your tools, altar, and supplies. Use the purifying power of fire and visualize the smoke cleansing the negative energies.
Now comes the time to charge your altar and for this process, you may use any of your favorite charging rituals. If you are not sure which charging method to use, worry not, you may simply follow some of the ideas below.
Now would be a great time to light a white candle and place some high vibrating crystals like Amethyst for protection, Camelian for fertility and creativity, Moonstone for rebirth and renewal, or Malachite for healing and transformation on your altar. If you are attuned to Reiki, you may use it to imbue your tools or simply place your hand above your sacred space and visualize white positive energies flowing from your head, through your heart and arms, and into your altar.
Divination with fire scrying
Another ancient tradition was to scryer the ashes of a fire you made the night before for traces of the goddess passage. We also believe that there is no better time to scryer the flames for a divination ritual.
Wear some suitable clothes, go outside at a safe location near your house, and start a fire. Take this moment to relax, enjoy the warmth of flames, gasp at the night sky filled with stars and harness the energy of the moon. Clear your mind, gasp at the flames again, watch its movements, its changing shape, and allow yourself to go into a light trance.
Stay focused and be patient, do not rush your thoughts and images shall emerge from the flames. Do not try to interpret anything, just let the visions come to you and they will shape themselves.
When you feel ready, gently pull yourself out of the trance and safely extinguish the fire. You may write in your book of shadows or your divination journal anything that you perceived from this seance.
Simply clean your home
Imbolc is about renewal, cleansing, and purification, thus, making the sabbat a great time to blaze old energies with fire. Cleaning is a chore we don’t always feel like doing, but think back about our ancestors who couldn’t clean as often as they liked during winter, thus making this time of the year a “particular” moment for them.
Take this time to physically clean your house, and focus on any area that radiates bad vibes to you. Swipe the floor clean with your broom, strip sheets off the beds, turn the mattresses, dust every surface, and vacuum every floor. Sort through those piles of paper on your desk, and get rid of things you don't need to keep; file everything else.
Now comes the fun part, light white candles all around the house to represent the warmth of the sun coming back from the long and cold winter and the blooming new beginning of spring. Then light some smudge and go in each room around your house in a clockwise direction, and say it out loud; with the purifying power of fire, I cleanse this house. You may choose any incantation that feels good to you.
Finally, once you are done with the cleansing, you may go around the house, extinguishing the candles and you may now enjoy the serenity of your surroundings.
Watch for weather divination sign
Did you know that groundhog day actually originates from Imbolc? Back in ancient times, our ancestors used to watch for serpents or badgers to come out of their den and would use the sign as a divination ritual to know what weather was to come the following season.
Nowadays, a groundhog emerges from his burrow and looks around. Either it’s sunny and he sees his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter, or it’s cloudy and no shadow can be spied, which is a sign of an early spring.
Our ancestors used to be more aware of the signs provided by our surroundings, especially the sun’s movement across the sky since their planting and harvesting seasons depended on it.
The more we look into ancient traditions and the more we find similarities with our modern age. Grounding yourself is one of the most magical feelings you can experience and Imbolc is one of the many opportunities we have to connect with nature and the magickal realm that’s surrounding us, thus making this sabbat a great moment to give back to our mother nature.
A simple gesture, after feasting, pouring your remaining milk on the ground as a token of gratitude and thanking Brigid’s for blessing us could go a long way.
A final thought
We sincerely hope that you enjoyed this article and would like to thank you for taking the time to read it. We know our blog is very new and we don’t have much content yet, however, we intend to make Witchry not just a blog, but an awesome app for you to enjoy and refer to. By the way, if you didn’t know, you can actually install our app on your phone so it will work offline and give you access to witchcraft content anytime.
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