It’s February 2nd, and aside from it being Grounhog’s Day, it’s also Imbolc, or “Imbolg Brigantina” also known as St. Brigit’s Day. Brighid is known as the Goddess of the Forge, and on her day, she awakens the sleeping earth with her power of creative fire. She’s known as the inspirer of poets and writers, artisans of all kinds. The church adopted her and changed the holiday to St. Brigit’s Day because it was easier to do that than to get the Pagans to give up their Goddess. The mass celebrated on this day is called Candlemas, and St. Brigit is depicted with a crown of glowing candles. A temple to Brighid that existed in Kildare, with 9 priestesses in charge of tending an eternal flame, was converted to the church. There are now 9 nuns there tending that same fire, and they wear red nail polish as did the priestesses of Brighid before them. (By the way, the correct pronunciation depends on who you ask, many say “Breed” and others “Bride” but natives of the Celtic lands say, “Bree-yah.”)
This is one of the High Holy Days in the ancient Wheel of the Year, which includes 8 Holidays. Winter and Summer Solstice, Spring and Autumn Equinox, and the four days that fall exactly halfway in between each of those. The “in-between” days are known as the High Holy Days, because they are times of change, and in the mystic traditions, things “in-between” are always considered more powerful. (Doorways, wells, dawn and dusk, midnight and midday, swamps which aren’t quite land, but not quite water, you get the idea.)
This is a beautiful time to renew those New Year’s Resolutions. It’s also a traditional time to cleanse and bless our homes with the new energy of the coming spring.
An Imbolc Ritual
You’ll need: A flameproof dish or cauldron
Several small pieces of paper
A Red Pen
9 Red Candles, any size, shape or type
Form a circle of the red candles on your workspace or altar, placing your cauldron or burning dish in the center. Light the candles and gaze into the flames, thinking of the symbolism of the smithy’s forge, where raw metal is heated and shaped.
Sit in quiet meditation, gazing into the flame for at least ten minutes before you begin. Try to feel the sparks of inspiration deep inside you. Breathe them brighter, and let them whisper in your mind until you know what they are.
Write each idea, project or goal that came to you, on one of the pieces of paper, just one at a time. As you do, visualize it clearly and brightly, as if it is already real. See it forming, growing, expanding. See yourself at the Forge, hammering the metal of this inspiration into the shape of your new reality. Imagine yourself in the place where it is manifest, and feel the emotions you’ll feel as it comes to fruition. Feel it as if it’s happening now.
When you feel ready, really at one with the feeling of it being already complete, touch the paper to the candle’s flame, and then drop it into your cauldron and watch it burn. Know that this act is heating your raw materials and helping them soften so that you can more easily shape them in the coming seasons.
Repeat with each idea, inspiration or goal that came during your meditation.
Reaffirm in your mind that each of these things is already done. Your job now is to shift yourself into knowing that and raising your vibration to match the goal, so that you can bask in it as your new reality. Close by remembering each blessing you have in your life right now, that began as a raw idea in your mind, and give thanks for them and bask in them (and mean it.)
It is done.
Here’s a song I just love that you can play during this ritual if you like. (Find it on Youtube and hit the “replay” button so it can keep going while you work.) It’s by artist Lisa Thiel, one of my all time favorite recording artists. Enjoy.