What is Imbolc?

Imbolc is one of my favorite sabbats in the Wheel of the Year. It falls on February 1 this year, and in the Northern Hemisphere, Imbolc marks the promise of spring. It’s a holiday of hope – the first signs that the icy momentum will soon change as life stirs deep within. I’m a lover of the sun and warm days. I know when Imbolc comes, blossoms are budding and my inner fire is about to burn again.

Who is Saint Brigid and why does she matter?

Imbolc is Brigid’s holiday – the great goddess of the Eternal Flame. She reminds us that life always stirs within even in the coldest of seasons, during the darkest of nights. I adore Brigid because she reminds me of my power, exalts my feminine virtues, and exudes feminine strength all at once. We all carry the energy of Brigid within us through the year, but at Imbolc we honor her, and acknowledge the lengthening of days that will carry us forward to spring, just around the corner at the vernal equinox.

What have you learned about yourself during winter rest? How can you sufficiently restore yourself ahead of the busy, waking seasons? Are you holding onto energetic residue? Do you need help igniting your inner fire? Here are 5 ways to invoke the fiery power of Saint Brigid, to help you sweep out old patterns to usher in what is new, fresh, and productive:

5 Ways to Invoke the Fiery Power of Saint Brigid

1) Treat yourself

Imbolc is a last call for bear medicine. If you haven’t rested enough, take the next few weeks to honor the cycle. Eat whole foods, take long walks, engage in deep meditation and relaxation. It’s important to treat yourself to alone time before spring arrives so you may greet it with renewed vigor. Indulge in unaccounted space to breathe and soak in warm baths surrounded by gentle candlelight.

2) Clean your energetic (and physical) home

On the flipside, if you have rested and are feeling anxious to move into spring, Imbolc is also an invitation to get your shit together, energetically speaking of course. Many magical practitioners take Imbolc off from their day jobs to stay home and clean, organize bills, rearrange the home, and prioritize personal projects. The besom or broom is one of the symbols of Imbolc because it’s figuratively a time of cleaning up your inner sanctuary. Doing this will sweep out old patterns and motivate you to think better, do better, and be better.

3) Light a fire

In the olden days in Europe, they would light fire in every form on Imbolc, creating huge blazes. That’s what Imbolc is to me – the fanning of my flame, the reminder of my inner fire, and a burst of energy to clear out and clean up. Build a bonfire (or a fire in your fireplace), casting into the flames what you’re ready to surrender. This is a time to detox and cleanse the spirit. What are you releasing right now? Write it down on a piece of paper, and watch it burn. Give anything that is ready to leave over to the flames. Remember: be smart, burn safely.

4) Set intentions with candle magic

Imbolc is also a time to work with candle magic! When you invoke the energy of the fire element, you illuminate your intentions with power. Think about blowing out the candles on your birthday cake! Candle magic takes nothing more than your chosen candle, a flame, and the power of your intention to invoke its power. Add a genuine mantra of gratitude to Brigid in front of the flame, and watch your intentions manifest throughout  the coming months.

5) Honor yourself

The best way to rekindle your fire is by acknowledging your many gifts and celebrating them. Honoring yourself in this way also allows you to see what isn’t working for you – including those negative thoughts that keep you from realizing your full potential. Celebrate by honoring your individuality! Have you ever purchased a unique outfit you would be self-conscious to wear in public? Put it on! Do you have a guilty pleasure movie you only watch in private? Invite your friends over to bask in the novelty of it. Do you have a hidden talent you were too afraid to express or nurture? Try it out. Imbolc is a time of releasing negativity and making way for the new. A way to rekindle your inner fire is by igniting your dormant, but very real qualities. Do whatever makes you unique and special and celebrate it. Honor the brilliance of your own spirit.

In closing

During Imbolc, embrace the warrioress within and explore the uncharted expanses of your heart without fear. Sweep out what isn’t serving you, and get ready to welcome the promise of spring with a spirit that is energized from winter rest. Express your gratitude to Brigid for the simplicity and beauty she brings to Earth – the green grass under your feet, the still waters, wide rivers, and flowering blossoms of new life.

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