Imbolc is upon us! As a cross-quarter day, Imbolc is celebrated near the beginning of February. Some people may celebrate on the first day of the month, while others celebrate on the second. No matter what day you choose, it's time to remind ourselves that spring isn't far away, as we learned in the introduction to Imbolc. We've just had a massive snow storm here, so I'm definitely ready for spring to arrive!
Personal Imbolc Ritual
To prepare for your ritual, you may want to take a ritual bath. Slowing down and preparing for ritual in this way is one of my favourite parts of the process. It shows I've taken the time to get ready and that I'm in the right state of mind to make magick. Imbolc is the perfect Sabbat to start ritual bathing, because it's both a time of cleansing and of initiation. You can soak in your blackberry mineral milk bath and meditate on the ritual ahead.
When you are ready, lay out your altar. I've chosen to include doe antlers and a statue of Artemis, even though it is the goddess Brigid that is usually celebrated at Imbolc. Artemis is a maiden, and at this time of year we recognise that the maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess is returning as the crone aspect retreats. You can always include objects such as statues, gemstones, seashells, or any other object that speaks to your relationship with the gods and goddesses on your altar as you see fit. Remember that this is your practice, and it's meant to work for you!
Place your calendula and bay tealights on the altar, and set an amethyst gemstone from your trio next to each candle. These herbs and crystals are powerful symbols associated with Imbolc, the return of the sun and plants, and the Triple Goddess.
Set out a heat-proof container for your dragon's blood resin incense. I've used a small cast iron cauldron, but you can use a bowl filled with sand, Epsom salts, or even cat litter to dissipate the heat and allow you to burn your charcoal disc safely. To light the incense, put an edge of the disc into a flame. It will start to spark and pop as you place it in the heat proof container you've prepared. Let the sparks travel all the way across the disc so that the charcoal is burning evenly before you sprinkle some of your resin onto the disc.
If you are indulging in some Green Crack cannabis, have it prepared for your ritual. I usually store mine in my stash jar with a piece of amethyst, but for this ritual I've prepped my pipe and put some calendula petals in the jar instead!
When your altar is prepared, cast your circle if your tradition calls for one, or ground and center yourself to prepare for ritual. Light the first candle, and breathe in the scent of the incense. Say:
Though it is dark, I yearn for the light
The retreat of winter, the return of life
Light the second candle. Say:
I call upon the flames, to warm my hearth
I call upon the sun, to warm the earth
Light the third candle. Say:
The winter has been long, and icy cold
I call upon fire to burn away the old
Sprinkle more resin onto your charcoal disc and watch the smoke rise. If you have prepared cannabis for the ritual, smoke it now. Visualize the smoke of the incense and the cannabis carrying away the things from your past that no longer serve you. Let them go, into the past, as you move forward into the spring. See the shoots of plants that rise up through the snow, ready to take in the warmth and light of the spring sunshine. Know that this same energy is present in your life, and it is ready to burst forth in the coming weeks.
When you are ready, end the ritual. You can perform works of magick, or as I'll be doing, have a dance party to Vanessa's poptimist playlist while you clean out some stagnant energy!