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WAKEY WAKEY, SPRING IS SPRUNG



"Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn." - LEWIS GRIZZARD


Happy Imbolc lovely. The scent of spring is in the air at last (in the northern hemisphere) and I for one, am doing my little spring dance, because it's my New Year. Woohoo.


If you've read my previous blogs, (and if you haven't you really should, they're quite good, you know?), you will know that I spend the winter, well, wintering; repairing, nurturing, healing, gathering in and pretty much preparing for this....IMBOLC, spring on the Celtic calendar. I try to operate by this calendar rather than the western Gregorian calendar because, well, it works better for me. Why? Well, the Celtic calendar follows nature's pattern, her call and her example. After all, we are all part of nature, not apart from it and I think it's time we remembered to behave and live that way. I'm trying. I'm a working in progress and I'm a perpetual student, but I'm trying.


Imbolc, literally translated, means 'in the belly' and refers to the first born lambs of the season that mark the arrival of spring. Light arrives after darkness, the animals wake and life begins to spring forth. The ground thaws, days start to lengthen, the sun appears higher in the sky. Spring is full of possibility and promise. Imbolc, also known as Brigid Day (St Brigid) is the turning point of the year, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It’s the perfect time to set new intentions, to clear out, prepare for the new and to get ready to receive. It’s the perfect time to birth or rebirth, so if something has been stirring up in you, now is the time to bring it to life.


St Brigid is the patron saint of babies, midwives, farmers, fugitives etc. It's a long list. She's a busy saint lady. She is thought to wander the earth on Imbolc even and a lovely tradition that I really like the sound of, is that if you leave a scarf or piece of cloth on the hedge or wall outside your home, as Brigid passes, she will bless it and imbue it with protective energy so that you can use it to keep you and your loved ones safe. You should leave Brigid a gift in return though, preferable edible. Well, all that wandering and blessing makes a girl hungry you know.

Because I winter, by the time Imbolc arrives on 1st February, I'm feeling my energy levels rising, my creativity brewing and all the ideas and inspiration I've gathered, nurtured and grown over the short days and long evenings, are ready to begin to poke their little heads out from under the ground. I'm not full steam ahead yet though. Like the first crocus and the animals waking from their hibernation, I'm tentatively stepping out to gauge the temperature and test the energies. I usually begin with planting something that I watch grow over the coming months and begin my awakening rituals. I also start work with a small, intimate group of people to welcome spring and prepare for the abundance and high energy of summer.


Here are some ways you can mark Imbolc if you fancy. Remember, although you are more than welcome to do what I do, you should always aim to hone your own practice and do what feels aligned. Starting with emulating someone else's practice can build confidence though, so here you go...


WRITING RITUAL

• Make a 2 column list, marking column 1 'Release' and column 2 'Receive'. Write unconsciously and without constructing or contriving, as follows:

Column 1 = Habits, practices, thoughts, values and even people that no longer serve you that you are ready and willing to let go of.

Column 2 = New habits, practices, values, people, projects, ventures, dreams and desires that you are ready to make happen and to receive.

• Tear your paper in half so that you have your lists on 2 separate pieces of paper.

  1. Take your 'Release' list to a river, stream or body of water. Water is a powerful cleanser and symbol of spring and will also reflect back to you. Tear up the paper and release it to the water, sending it with love and compassion. Trust that the water will carry it where it needs to go.

  2. Take your 'Receive' list, read it over several times until you feel the desire deep in your heart, fold it up as small as you can and plant it in the earth. Trust that it will be taken and grown as appropriate. Splash a little water on your forehead to set the intention.


OTHER RITUALS/PRACTICES

  1. Make a Brigid's Cross and hang it above a door to your home. Here's a little video to show you how Make a Brigid's Cross

  2. Bake a simple caraway seed cake and while stirring, recite the following mantra or make up your own of course. Here's a cake recipe Imbolc Seed Cake

As I stir please hear my plea

Let spring and Brigid bring to me

All I can grow, all I can love

All I dream of 'neath the sky above

Let this recipe conjure up, Fill my heart and fill my cup


Hand out slices of the cake to those you care about, to your community and don't forget to give some back to Mama Nature - feed the birds maybe.


3. Light a candle for Brigid, look into the flame and tell her your dreams and desires for the year ahead for you and those you love.


TREE OF IMBOLC

Rowan: Closely associated with Brigid. The Rowan protects from evil so you can put a sprig of Rowan over or by your front door, much as with Brigid's Cross. Rowan berries have a tiny five-pointed star on the bottom thought to represent the pentagram.


HERBS OF IMBOLC

Blackberry: Prosperity and healing, Venus energy

Ginger: Revitalising and energising. Helps with getting the internal fire going and raising energy levels, creativity and passion.


Whatever you do to mark Imbolc my love, remember that it's all about new beginnings and about welcoming in spring so go outdoors, walk, notice what's around you, be grateful that you are a beautiful, crucial part of nature, not separate from it and that you and your gifts and energy are needed here. Much love and spring blessings lovely one. Michele xx



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