If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, like me, then you know we are in the thick of winter. But come February 1st dreams of spring begin to infiltrate many a witch’s mind, for that day marks Imbolc and the coming of the equinox. For much of the planet spring 2020 brought with it the first lockdown. The world was grim and we felt plunged in darkness during a time known for its light. But 2021 is full of hope and with the coming of Brigid’s day perhaps we can see the illumination more clearly.
Imbolc is mentioned in early Irish mythology and is associated with the pre-Christian Goddess Brigid, whose name means exalted one. She is a goddess of spring, fertility, healing, and poetry. Christianity took many pagan traditions and made them theirs and Brigid is no exception as the Christian church turned her into Saint Brigid and kept her feast day on February 1st.
It is believed that on Imbolc eve the goddess will come to homes to bless them. Young, unmarried, women would make dolls in her image, in the hopes that she would help them find a mate. The women would show off their dolls to their community before giving them shelter in their homes. Big meals would be enjoyed by families and young men would go visit homes of unwed women in hopes of perhaps finding a bride. Food would be placed for the Goddess inside the homes while items such as blankets, hats and the like would be placed outside for Brigid to take and keep herself warm.
Another item associated with Brigid is her cross which women would make out of rushes. It is believed that the cross has pre-Christian origins as a representation of the Celtic Sun. People like to hang these over doors in a home to help keep evil, fire, and hunger away.
As someone who doesn’t care much for the shorter, darker days, I truly enjoy the promise of what Imbolc offers. Since I am not crafty enough to make a cross, I enjoy lighting my fireplace and imagining its warmth and light as the warmth brought in by the Goddess, reminding me that brighter days are ahead. I feel thankful to see another Sabbat in health, with my dearest ones around me.
As witches, we can use the energy of Imbolc and Brigid to be the light that others need right now. We can cast out hunger by helping our neighbors who might not be able to venture out by offering to get supplies, or food for them. We can offer healing both by doing magick and by being there for each other by lending an ear. The effects of this social distancing is an evil that will be felt throughout our society for some time but we can begin to heal by reaching out to others, even if it’s through virtual means.
Just like the women made dolls in hopes of helping themselves, might I suggest we too prioritize ourselves during Imbolc. We can’t care for others if we first don’t care for ourselves, therefore look to bring the light and healing into your home in a way that best soothes you. This can be a candlelit bubble bath or roasting marshmallows in a fire pit. Anything that makes you feel cozy and safe will do.
Here’s to the light of spring! May the Goddess bless you in her travels, and may the light of Imbolc safely guide you out of the darkness of winter.
This post has been authored by Nori Negrón, WDA Head Witch and teacher. She's got two courses in our platform readily available for you! You can listen to her podcast WitchSpace on iTunes, Spotify, Podbean and more!
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