Welcome welcome, sweet world as we celebrate the coming of a new month and Imbolc; the first stirring of plant life underground, and an ancient sacred time of reflection and renewal! This year, with the first full moon of the season just passed and so much alignment and transformation happening, it's simply a perfect time to start again.
February comes from the Latin word februa which means to cleanse or purify. This is the perfect month to enter into a healing or transformation process. We could say the stars have aligned for us to do so with Venus leaving pragmatic Capricorn, to align in flowing Aquarius.
January this year seemed to move as "slow as molasses in January" for many of us, often feeling tired and restless at once. The days lagged on, but little seemed to get done. The lists were there, or at the very least being created, but barely being checked off in any consistent manner.
Happily, we know to call them intentions instead of resolutions, so we didn't punish ourselves this year. If you did, please, stop right now and pat yourself on the back for even just getting through another month in these wild times! If rest was needed, that was the right remedy and prevention. Our higher selves had our back, in making sure we started this one on the down low.
That's magic, right there.
For us "Happiness Navigators"- those seeking light and ways of sharing it; these are the days to really fly a new flight path in our neural pathways... and be our own best cheering squad on the ground too.
So here we are on Imbolc, February 1-2, the beginning of spring, in this sacred holding of space between. Space between the earth and the air, where the seed must lie in wait to burst forth when the time is right. As are we, such seeds, readying ourselves in the right way and timing for each unique plant to finally hit the light and grow in strides!
Imbolc is a pagan holiday celebrated from February 1 through sundown February 2. It represents a hopeful moment as the seasons begin to turn from darkest winter to the promise of spring: new life — fertility — renewal, and the return of the warming sun. Based on a Celtic tradition, Imbolc was meant to mark the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland. Good weather on Imbolc means more winter to come.
As with modern Groundhog Day which is February 2, the weather on Imbolc foretells the future: An Imbolc with nasty weather signifies a great summer on the way. This may seem backwards at first glance, but here's a wee mystical take to tell how it works.
It all has to do with the heating needs of the forest hag Cailleach, the goddess of winter. She really has the last say! If winter is to go on for a while, Cailleach needs more firewood. She thus spends Imbolc searching the forests for it. Since she prefers to be out in the woods on a sunny and dry day, that's what the day provides for this "witch of winter". Bad weather, on the other hand, is good news: It means that Cailleach has no need for wood. She has decided that spring is just around the corner, so she has stayed in to snooze a bit more.
Candlemas is a Christian holiday celebrated on February 2 that has aspects in common with Imbolc. Its celebration can be traced to 4th century Greece as a purification holiday and a celebration of the return of light. Candles have traditionally been used in its observance. It’s possible that Candlemas is a Christian adaptation of the Roman holiday Februalia.
Imbolc celebrations took the form of a festival in honor of the pagan goddess Brigid, Brigit or Bhrigid, who was evoked in fertility rites and oversaw poetry, crafts and prophecy. Brigid was worshipped by the Filid, a class of poets and historians among the Celts of ancient Ireland and Britain. She was known for looking after healers, magicians, poets, and bards, and was gifted at divination and prophecy.
The green brat Bhride, or Bhrigid's mantle is a magical item that has a story of origin: an offer of property made to the young Bhrigid/Brigid for an abbey she wished to build. The king told her she could have as much property as she could cover with her cloak. Using magic, she increased the size of the cloak until it was so massive it covered all the land she needed.
Today, some make their own Brigid's mantles of green cloth for wrapping around their shoulders, and it's believed that leaving such a mantle on the hearth allows Brigid to visit and bless it on Imbolc each year. Making the mantle more and more imbued with her magic with each passing Imbolc!
As with any good festival, Imbolc involves feasting, particularly of home-and-hearth edibles stored over the winter, such as breads, grains, onions, and potatoes. The more gratitude the better, this where the alchemy of abundance truly lies! With the planting of new fields ahead, what better time to revel in the reverence of what we have been given and what lies in wait!
In keeping with the (eventual) return of the sun, fire is a big part of Imbolc. Beyond spectacular public displays of fire, candles are lit all around celebrants' houses. In earlier times, hearths would burn through the Imbolc night, and if possible, multiple fires were lit.
People visit wells on Imbolc, particularly holy wells, circling them in the same direction of the sun and praying for a good year ahead. Afterward, coins and pieces of cloth called "clooties" may be left as offerings.
Simple Imbolc Ritual
In this same way, we Happiness Navigators can make our own customized ritual and circle a tree or fire, or even just make a chalk or visualized circle in our home, and walk around it while giving gratitude, hope and heartlight out. While reviewing what we are releasing and why and what we are bringing in and how. We can light candles and write our intentions for what's ahead and gratitude for what lessons we take with us from what we're leaving behind. We can be as specific as possible and write it like a script of what we see growing for our future! That writing can be kept in a book for new moon and full moon rituals of similiar nature, or burnt or buried as you see fit. Whatever feels right for you! We can also leave a little treasure out for someone to find somewhere, or in nature for the wildlings and wee things and The Universe, as a token for our appreciation. It's most important to make our magic our own and come from an intuitive place, that is where the gold is! Intuition and intention are so closely linked and so powerful. By amplifying those with gratitude, abundance and prosperity in all endeavors, is embodied.
As you can see, it certainly is a time of reverence and celebration, and I invite you to create your own rituals, feasts and customs as we begin again! The magic of change is that it's always giving us new endings and that means new beginnings. That's the wizard's way of looking at work~ "In progress, IS perfection". That's comforting, isn't it?