Today marks the energetic halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Called “Imbolc,” it’s a time of healing, and the tending of our inner light for the coming spring. On this day we celebrate the hearth & home, and feel the blessings of the Goddess Brigid.
The Goddess Brigid is known as a triple goddess, representing multiple aspects of the feminine divine. She was so popular that even when Christianity took over ancient Celtic lands, Brigid became a saint! Saint Brigid! Her sacred wells are still places of power for people of many different religions. Brigid is often called upon for wisdom, healing, inspiration, poetry, blacksmithing, protection, and more. This is a mentally alert time, and the cyclical time in which we tend to shake off hibernation for real planning and the coming spring season activities.
I found this old Irish poem that honors Brigid:
THE SHIELD OF BRIGID
Every day, every night that I praise the Goddess, I know I shall be safe: I shall not be chased, I shall not be caught, I shall not be harmed. Fire, sun, and moon cannot burn me. Not lake nor stream nor sea can drown me. Fairy arrow cannot pierce me. I am safe, safe, safe, singing her praises.
~ an Irish Prayer
As we welcome Imbolc, allow yourself to shake off any lingering winter blues, and open your eyes to the bright light of the late winter sun!
WORKING WITH THE ENERGY
Would you like to know how to work with the energy of this day? Keep reading!
What I love about this day is that here in February I can feel the slow thaw of Winter more than ever. I love the crisp air and bright sunlight. It’s a mentally alert time, and the cyclical time in which we tend to shake off hibernation for real planning and the coming spring season activities. I find the healing, warming, nurturing themes of Imbolc particularly relevant after a few years now of global communal stress due to viral pandemics. One of the essential ways in which we can heal ourselves, is to return to the basic truths of the land, and cycles of the earth. By resting, allowing old processes to die and new ones to be reborn, we can navigate our way through a changing landscape.
Although pagans and earth based practitioners from around the world have taken this time of year as our own, there are also multitude of cultural traditions connected to the Goddess Brigid, as well as the holiday of Imbolc itself grounded in Ireland and Scotland. I will not be covering the rich history and heritage of those traditions here (who knows, maybe in the future!). Rather, I want to invite you to find a quiet time on February 1st-2nd each year, to drop in with your own inner healing self.
DAY 1 "REFLECTION:" On the first day, do a little research about the history of Brigid, its traditions, and crafts! Yes my friend, this is a wonderful time for crafting, as the Goddess Brigid helps to awaken and direct our creativity. Friends often pour candles and offer them to each other as gifts of light. Another tradition revolves around baking bread. As you look up some of Brigid's stories and traditions, notice which ones resonate with you.
DAY 2 "RITUAL:" On the second day, create an altar or a sacred meditation space to reflect on your own creativity. Are you a writer? A lover? A warrior? A mystic? Light a candle as a focus, and take time to heal and honor any wounds that came up over the past year around your creativity. If you have felt too hurt or afraid to follow your path, write a letter to your past self, letting your past self know that it's okay to heal, and to look at the past situation in a different light.
Next, write a letter to your future self one year from now. Let your future self know what you intend to do this year. Take your time. Play soft music if needed, to slow down and get in the mood.
Read this second letter out loud in front of your candle, to the Goddess Brigid. Read it strong and clear, as your pledge.
Now channel healing energy into your writings, and your thoughts. Let yourself be filled with love and peace. Feel that your words have been accepted by your higher self, and by the Goddess.
Roll up the letters and tie them with a red ribbon. Keep them somewhere safe until next Imbolc! Eat some bread, milk, and cheese, and unwind in the energy embrace of the goddess.
Note: If you do feel called to release the love letter to your past self, you can do so on Valentine's day, by burning it, or by shredding and soaking it in a tray of water and pressing it into seed paper for planting in spring. I think Pinterest has lovely ways to make seed paper, and I've saved one on my Imbolc Board. Friend me there if you'd like, and review other celebratory ideas for the seasons.
As the season progresses, read the Shield of Brigid, or other poems if you need encouragement through the year. Let your favorite poetry move you. Remember that powerful loving energies are always with you, opening the way.
This magical time, the "quickening" towards spring, is truly a time that all of us can celebrate and enjoy, through our own healing and earthing practices whatever they may be.
IMBOLC / BRIGID ASSOCIATIONS
I love ceremonial talismans and amulets. I love physical items that help direct energy, and remind me visually of the changing seasons and intentions I may hold. Here's a quick list of items associated with this time. You can incorporate these items into your altar, your evening dinners, and even into family activities:
CRYSTALS: garnet (grounding, healing fear, inner trust), amethyst (mind and heart integration), bloodstone (blood healing and ancestry), turquoise (self knowledge, protection, self trust)
HERBS & FOODS: rosemary, basil, lavender, honey, bread (some years I make an apricot-rosemary bread... maybe it’s time to do that again!)
ACTIVITIES: creative writing (write a poem or story), journaling, spring cleaning, garden planning, weave a Brigid’s Cross, make a grain dolly, put some white flowers in your crown, practice sword play, or work with metals for jewelry or weapons (yes, Brigid really does it all!). You an also do a drum journey or guided meditation to visit the goddess Brigid. Come to our Monthly Reiki Share, the 1st Saturday of every month, to enjoy a healing meditation that resonates with these sacred themes!
Celebrating help replenish hormones and reduces somatic stress. This time of year, we have a ton of wonderful reasons to celebrate life. How will YOU celebrate this sacred turning of year? What is one thing you can do or experience this week that will bring a true smile from your heart to your lips? That thing is sacred, and your joy is a wonderful way to celebrate Brigid.
DAILEY LITTLE is a healing practitioner, transformational life coach, ordained Priestess, and teacher who founded Healing Heart Reiki to help others navigate life with joy. She offers private sessions, and teaches classes in healing and mindset from a magical peaceful corner of the world in Northern California. For more info see: www.SantaRosaReiki.com