First off Imboc is the traditional time for Spring Cleaning! Thats right, break out your kerchiefs and baggy sweatpants and get cleaning! Weed out clothing, books. knickknacks, etc that you don't use anymore and donate them or put them aside in storage in preparation for a garage sale when it gets a bit warmer.Clean your grout, dust your ceilings, whitewash your fence (do people do that anymore?). Also don't forget to wash your mirrors and windows in a mixture of vinegar and mugwort. It not only physically cleans them but it also spiritually cleans and seals them so unwanted things cant use them as portals.
The next thing on your Imbolc spring cleaning list is to energetically clear out our house. Do a clearing and ward and bless all your rooms. One way of doing this is to cast a protective circle in each room and leave it up to soak into the walls. Also throw out any old, dusty charms that isn't salvageable.
Now your home is all squeaky clean and warded. The next thing to clean is yourself. So hop in the shower or bath and scrub yourself clean. Get all the crevices you may sometimes neglect like under your nails, in between your toes, and behind your ears. Also energetically cleans yourself while your in there. A great way of doing this is visualizing the water washing away all negative emotions and thoughts, illness and gunk in your chakras and energetic body and washing it all down the drain.
You can also add this simple bath scrub salt mix to your bath to aid in your cleansing:
Cleaning Bath Salt
Half a cup of sea salt
A table spoon of lavendar
A table spoon of vervain
(optional) 3 tablepoons of raw oats (helps to moisturize)
Now you and your home are clean what next? Well since Imbolc is sacred to the Goddess Brigid (and she is one of my patron goddesses) I plan to do a Brigid blessing for the household inspired by Yasmine Galenorns's festival of lights ritual:
Brigid Blessing Imbolc Ritual - to be done after sunset
Set up an Imbolc altar with a bowl of cream or milk in an offering bowl.
Turn off all the lights in your house.
Cast circle in your usual way and draw down Brigid into the acting priestess.
The woman representing Brigid should then stand outside with a lit candle. Everyone should wait inside the dark house.
The woman representing Brigid should knock on the door three times. Someone should open the door and say:
"Brigid has come! Brigid has come! Brigid has come!" and 'Brigid' steps inside.
A second person steps forward and says to her:
"May Brigid give blessing to the home that is here. Brigid the fair and tender! Bless our house, fiery maiden. Let health fill our walls, let success fill our careers and let love fill our hearts."
'Brigid' should then go through every room in the house, turning on all the lights with everyone following behind her, till every light in the house is on. She then says to everyone:
"The light has returned and the season of growth draws near. May health fill your walls, may you succeed and prosper may love encompass your lives. I am Brigid the fair, Brigid the wise, Brigid the fiery arrow of power and so I bless your home and family. Remember me and honour me on this night."
She should then place her candle on the altar and everyone should join hands and chant:
" Fire, fire growing higher, bring to us what we desire.
Fire, Fire glowing bright, welcome Brigid this Imbolc night!"
Repeat the chant until the power peaks and release it, focusing on the return of spring, the growth you want to accomplish and the projects you want to accomplish and/or start during this time.
At this time you may sit and drink wine and cakes as celebration while sharing stories, poetry, song, artwork, or crafts you have written/made in honour of Brigid as the goddess of inspiration and poetry.
To end the ritual take the bowl/pitcher of cream/milk off the altar and bring it outside and pour it as a libation into the earth saying:
"Lady Brigid, we honour you and return to you the cream that is life itself. We ask for your blessing in the coming season. Blessed be."
Close down the circle.
Other ritual ideas are stomping and dancing to wake up the earth. Lighting candles in a spiral dance do draw the sun and light the dark. Honouring the fay folk. I chose not to include a lot of candles in the ritual because my 3 year old would like to take part and I want to make it safe and fun for her and not exclude her at all.
Foods to be enjoyed during this time is traditionally dairy based foods and dishes, cream soups, bread, fruit preserves and seafood (esp salmon as it is seen as the fish of wisdom). I plan on eating much cheesecake, which is my favourite desert EVER.
Here are two really easy recipes I like doing:
1.5 cups milk/serving
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
I find mixing and serving it warm is best though it can be made cold.
Wise and Creamy Salmon Soup
1 kg cream cheese cut into cubes
1 cup of milk
2 tsp Dijon mustard (to bring wealth)
1.5 tsp chopped fresh dill/.5 tsp dried dill (protection of home & job)
2 green onions chopped
1 can of chicken broth
12 oz smoked salmon, flaked.
Heat cream cheese, milk, mustad, dill, onions and chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat
until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in salmon. Let simmer until done.
Making a corn dolly and Brigid's bed is also traditional at this time of year and a great craft do do with the kidlets!
So, enjoy your Imbolc and may it bring you inspiration and energy for the coming year! I am headed back to my spring cleaning!