But first, some background information…
It’s important to remember the origins and to have a deep understanding of these ancient rituals before you start.
In the year that it takes for our Earth to make its journey around the Sun we experience changes according to the seasonal shifts, not only in the external world but also within us. Like many other living beings on this planet we are affected by changes in the weather, the light, the heat, the radiation, and the magnetic shifts. They influence us on many levels.
Ancient astrologers looked up into the star-filled sky and found astrological points in the patterns of the stars and planets which corresponded with the seasonal shifts. The most obvious shifts are the summer and winter solstices – the longest and the shortest days of the year. These mark the middle of summer and the middle of winter. The equinoxes mark the middle of spring and autumn, where the days and nights are of equal length. The cross-quarter festivals, as they are known, are often called by the old English/Pagan names of: Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain, and they signal the beginning of each season.
Pre-Christian people would engage in festivals during each of these eight points of the year. The celebrations were reminders to prepare for the new season and to be grateful for the last. Without electric lights and heating, and without the ease of imported fruit and vegetables, as the seasons shifted, work, life, and activities had to change also. People not only recognised the changing seasons in nature, but they also recognised how this yearly cycle affected them on a personal level.
The Imbolc Ritual – Inspire
As the Sun moves ever higher in the sky, the land becomes warmer which initiates the beginnings of spring. Imbolc comes from an old Celtic word meaning ‘ewe’s’ milk’ or ‘in the womb’. This suggests an idea of things being almost ready to materialise. Traditionally candles or fires are used in this festival to represent the growing power of the Sun and the increasing light, hence the co-opted Christian ‘Candlemas’.
Find some appropriate music – something that you associate with the season (my favourite piece is on the YouTube link below).
Create an altar – a focal point with chosen items which represent the season for you. Light a candle or night-light and place it on your altar with your items.
Turn off the phone and the lights.
Now, when everything is prepared, close your eyes and take some breaths.
Visualise a circle of light around you.
Prepare your mind with a meditation
Choose your own meditation or use the meditation audio that I offer when you sign up to the newsletter. You’ll find the sign up form on this page.
State your intention:
“Tonight I will revitalise and connect with my light-filled power.”
As the images begin to fade you find yourself inside a cave. You can feel the cold stone beneath you.
There is no daylight here but, even so, the stone around you has a gentle yellow glow giving you a feeling of warmth, and a little light to see the inner walls of the cave. Breathe deeply into the space and feel the energy of the Earth here.
Begin to visualise yourself as a snake coiled up against the ground. The snake begins to stretch as if from a long winter sleep. As you connect with this Earth-snake, notice the sensation of this serpent energy at the base of your spine. Breathe deeply and watch yourself as the Earth-snake begins to uncoil, rising up and pushing through the earth above. Allow your physical body to reflect the snake’s movements. Allow your sexual energy to ignite and sparkle with power as your body begins to vibrate. Continue to push up through the Earth until you break through and out into the daylight above. Feel yourself as the snake touching both the light and the deep dark inner Earth.
Experience the feeling of stretching and growing as you emerge from the cool darkness into the warmth of daylight. Experience the difference between these two worlds. Allow this feeling to fill your being. Allow images to come.
Light a candle and look into the flame. What does the growing light mean? What does this time of year represent for you? Does it inspire something in you? Do you have memories of early spring? Meditate on this for a while.
Speak and Dance
Next, stand up and allow any words, sounds, and movement to come. If your body needs to express something, let this happen. Dance your Imbolc dance.
The music below is my favourite for this ritual, but you could also choose your own.
Visualise the circle of light dissipating out into the atmosphere. Hold a sense of love and gratitude in your heart. Breathe it in and breathe it out into the world.
Write or draw/paint about your experience.
This is a great time of year to spring-clean your house. Clear out anything that is gathering dust, and anything you don’t use. Pay particular attention to the corners. Clear them of clutter and clean them thoroughly, making space for new growth.
Over the next few weeks keep hold of this sense of growing light and growing life. Notice the length of the days, the movement through the winter and towards the spring, and notice the changes that happen in your body.
If you want more of this kind of thing, this blog is an excerpt from my book, which is full of information about of Magick, meditation, and inner journeying.
If you want support to start your own magickal group with step by step guidance and training from me. Consider joining the Withcrites web-coven here.
With love at Imbolc, Lilith x