Imbolc is the halfway point between fall and spring. Historically it was the coldest part of winter, but these recent years, it seems that the seasons have lost some of their fabled characteristics. Winter is no longer a frigid experience in the mid-latitudes. There are days of cold, don’t get me wrong, but the winters we read about in history books and that I heard stories about from my great-grandmother are missing from my life-experience. Today’s seasons are less and less like the fabled seasons we embrace as we turn the wheel. Discussion of an afterlife in the Summerlands of plenty is not jiving with my life-experience of hell-hot summers. How can a witch make peace with the wheel of the year while experiencing increasingly mild winters, increasingly erratic spring and fall storms, and really freaking hot summers?
Maybe it’s time for seasonal celebrations that return the wheel to the track of healthy seasons. For me, in this part of the world, that means really cold winters, really warm summers, and healthy shifts in the spring and fall. For you and your part of the world, healthy seasons may look different.
For our animal friends, Imbolc is a time of waking. It’s time for the first movements that lead them out of hibernation. Astrological Imbolc is just a few days away so S and I discussed some rituals that are not seeking a blazing hot sun, but instead, a slow and smooth shift back toward the light and the warmth.
Imbolc Windchimes Craft
Procure a windchime with an even number of chimes. Hand sand each chime with 100 grit or finer sandpaper. Paint the chimes in magical colors. Hang in a sunny spot and enjoy it.
Pick colors that resonate with your magic. Color correspondences can help you chose.
Magical Correspondence List – It’s a page here on Historical Witchcraft.
Although I didn’t list all the colors on the color correspondences, tertiary colors are a mix of their ingredients. Vermillion has the correspondences of orange and red, while Aquamarine has the correspondences of green and blue.
S opted for gold (the sun) and brown (the earth). The gold celebrates the return of life, and the brown represents the earth that holds life.
Imbolc Candle Ritual
Imbolc sunshine is vibrant but not strong. In an effort to appreciate the sun in this less-powerful state, S suggested sticking with tiny flames like birthday candles and tea-lights. I am all about a bonfire, but I see the importance of not casting for giant fires in a world where continents are engulfed in flame. As a fire-witch, I am well aware of the destructive nature of fire and want to manifest a healing sun and gentle warmth. I do not want to bring forth further destruction.
On Imbolc, I will light a small candle anointed with a single drop of my mother’s sandalwood oil. Sandalwood’s magical properties include the ability to cool, soothe, calm, purify, consecrate, relax, open, sedate, and invoke peace. It is also an anti-inflammatory which makes it perfect to turn-down-the-heat while honoring the big fire-ball in the sky. Oral histories from India speak of heavenly Sandalwood and earthly Sandalwood, so this tree connects above and below. In that capacity, it serves as a pleasing offering to deities. I will definitely offer up some sandalwood as payment for some chill vibes.
The combination of flame and innate Sandalwood chill will help me manifest a chill-fire influence. Warming without burning, heat without tumult. Growth without growing pains.
Sandlewood is a slow-growing, semi-parasitic, desert tree native to SE Asia and India. There are other varieties of Sandlewood grown in Australia and Hawaii. The tree was so coveted it was driven to the edge of extinction and the export was altogether banned in India. The wildfire devastation in Australia further endangers the species, leaving only the Hawaiian variant. If I did not have this oil already, I would not buy it. Instead, I would anoint an Imbolc candle with, or make an offering of Chamomile, Basil, or Lavander.
If neither of these rituals feels right to you that is okay. To craft your own ritual, it might be helpful to know a little about the most popular Imbolc Goddess.
Brigid is the most well-known Imbolc diety. She’s Irish and pre-Christian but pulled enough rank to be canonized as Saint Brigid within the Catholic church. Some of her traditions remain active in Ireland and the wider Celtic world. Brigid is a triple goddess and patron of sacred flames, holy wells, and domestic animals. Talking to Brigid may be just the thing. A simple introduction and hello and happy holiday is enough to get the ball rolling.
Linguistically “Brigid” has Proto-Indo-European roots and similar goddesses exist in Hindu faiths with the same meaning. Brigid means high one, as in exalted one. Her Sanskrit name literally means high goddess.
As far as magic goes, it is a personal craft and there is no dogma attached. You have to find your own way. We’re here to help, but not to dictate. As H said, “We’re kind of in that nestled in” time of year and at Imbolc, it is “time to start stretching and wriggling.” So stretch your magical muscles and see what happens.