Some activities that I do to celebrate the entire season of Imbolic!
This would also be a good time to have a candle-dipping party to make the candles for the rest of the semester. (If you’re ambitious, you can try to make candles to last your group until next Imbolc!) In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Then put empty soup cans into the water for a makeshift double-boiler. Melt wax (leftover candle wax, paraffin wax, crayons, etc.) in the soup cans. Add herbs or essential oils if you wish to make candles for specific purposes. (Research in a good book like Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Herbs or Book of Incenses, Oils, and Brews for appropriate correspondences and mixtures.) Take turns dipping wicking into the melted wax to make taper candles, and state the purpose of the candle each time you dip it.
If making tapers seems like it will take too long, pour melted wax into cylinders (small paper cups for votives, larger paper cups or empty frozen orange juice cans for pillars, etc.) for quicker candle-making. Be sure to save some wax to top off your candles, because they become concave in the center as they cool. Make layered candles of different colors, or even look for molds if you can. Use your imagination!
Imbolc is usually held on February 2nd–Groundhog’s Day in the United States. Lore states that if the groundhog see his shadow, he hides back in his hole for the next 6 weeks, meaning there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, he stays out of his hole and Spring is on its way. Go outside and see if you can do some weather predictions. Write down your group’s answers and see who is right over the next few weeks.
Even if there will be an extra six weeks of winter, now is a good time to start planning out and beginning a group herb garden. Get large planters, soil, fertilizer, and seeds. Find a local nursery to help you on your way. Also look in almanacks for the best times to plant. If you begin now, you should have a good set of sprouts when Spring arrives. Have a member take care of it through the summer, and you should have a good harvest come Fall.
- Burn the Yule greens to send winter on its way.
- Make the Bride’s Bed using the Corn or Wheat Doll made the previous Lughnassadh. Dress the doll in white or blue with a necklace that represents the seasons. Lay it in a long basket adorned with ribbons; light white candles on either side of the basket, and say:
Welcome the bride both maiden and mother;
rest and prepare for the time of the seed;
cleansed and refreshed from labors behind her;
with the promise of spring she lays before me.
Next morning, remove the dress and scatter the wheat outdoors (or if you use corn, hang it up in a tree for the squirrels and birds). this can be seen in terms of the Lady’s recovery from the birthing bed and readiness to begin the turning of the seasons anew.
The Imbolc Corn Doll represents the mother nurturing her son, who will grow and become her husband. This is the earth and the sun, which is still weak but gaining in strength.
- On Imbolc Eve, leave buttered bread in a bowl indoors for the faeries who travel with the Lady of Greenwood. Next day, dispose of it as the “essence” will have been removed.
- Place three ears of corn on the door as a symbol of the Triple Goddess and leave until Ostara.
- Light a white candle and burn sandalwood incense.
- Cleanse the area where you do card readings or scrying with a censor burning rosemary or vervain, and say:
By the power of this smoke I wash away the negative
influences that this place be cleansed for the Lady and her babe.
- Cleanse the altar and equipment, do a self-purification rite with the elemental tools representing earth (salt) for body, air (incense) for thoughts; fire (candle flame) for will; and water (water) for emotions.
- Make dream pillows for everyone in the family.
- Create a Solar Cross from palm fronds, make enough to place one in each room of the house. Place a red pillar-style candle center to the front door; with palm crosses in hand, light the candle and open the door and say:
We welcome in the Goddess and seek the turning
of the wheel away from winter and into spring.
Close door; take up the candle and go to each room of the house and say:
Great Lady enter with the sun and watch over this room!
Leave a Solar Cross in the room and proceed thusly throughout the house. This is great for the kids as you can divide up the tasks for each to do – one can hold the palms, another can open doors, another can carry the candle, and so forth. The last room should be the kitchen and here you say:
Mother of the earth and sun,
Keep us safe and keep us warm,
As over our home you extend your blessings.
Just a list!
- Candle Lighting
- Stone Gatherings
- Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring
- Making of Brideo’gas and Bride’s Beds
- Making Priapic Wands
- Decorating Ploughs
- Bon Fires
- creative inspiration (arts & crafts, poetry, writing, anything creative)
- purification (spring cleaning)
- candle work
- house & temple blessings