Imbolc or Imbolg is also called (Saint) Brigid's Day or Candlemas. It's earliest known origins are Gaelic and it was a traditional festival to mark the beginning of spring and determined to be held about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. There is evidence in old texts that it has been an important festival since ancient times.
The Oak and Owl believes in observing and celebrating the cardinal and inter-cardinal directions of the calendar wheel. Imbolc is an inter-cardinal festival. All of life cycles and repeats, developmental orientation is easiest to see and manipulate against a cyclical backdrop. It facilitates predicable change and lays our personal lives, character, and accomplishments on top of one another for comparison.
Imbolc is a time to look forward and prepare for the coming months of productivity before another winter of contemplation. Just like the sap in the trees that begin to run fast at the excitement brought on by more sunlight and the contrasting freeze and thaw, so too does our metabolism and spirit begin to flow. It is this response to the season change that often and naturally inspires a desire to "Spring Clean", a desire to prepare for what is coming.
The Oak and Owl celebrates Midwinter with the following observances:
- Cleaning our homes/ spaces
- Smudging & sprinkling Cascarilla Powder around the borders of each room, but especially under windows and along doorways
- Decorating with both fresh flowers and dried grasses and foliage found outdoors. (The contrast reminding us of where we are on the Wheel of the Year.)
- Weaving Sun Crosses (modernly known as St. Brigid's Cross), Brídeógs. or....
- Making Brídeóg poppets with personal goal/ growth written on a slip of paper and sewn inside.
- Lighting Candles, Burning Fires, and if we are brave enough or the weather suitable enough Bonfires
- Journaling/ Goal Making
- Tapping our Sugar Maples
- Starting Seeds
- Feasting (of course!) below is my personal family Midwinter menu:
- Lavender, Chamomile, & Honey Hot Milk
- Pea Soup (Recipe in Blog)
- Honey Cake
- Soda Bread
- Herb butters
- Homemade cream cheese
- Oakcakes/ Oat Cookies
Let the returning warmth and light feed your inner fire and inspire your year going forward for your highest good.