Here we are...almost at midwinter...the point in the Wheel of the Year that marks a time of renewal for many cultures around the world. Here in the Northern Hemisphere of the West, we are coming into the time when we begin to feel the first stirrings of green life in the earth. The pagan sabbat Imbolc (pronounced EE-MOLG, meaning "in the belly") is, like so many other festivals from nature-based spirituality: a rejoicing in the light/sun/flame that is so dear to us as a human species. It is also a time to celebrate this first emergence of the green things, the animal young, and the coming abundance of nature after a long, cold winter.
Just as it is with many plants and herbs, the cold and dark of winter invites us to go deep within ourselves and investigate our inner seed: our needs, dreams and thoughts; and also to allow what no longer serves us to die back. So when we finally make it to the time of Imbolc we feel ready and encouraged to nurture and grow those healthy seeds within and around ourselves.
In this busy modern time, it may seem like this is just one more thing to put on (and check off) our ever growing lists, but adding things or acts or projects is really not the point here. Moreso, we are looking to distill what is most meaningful to us in a loving way and allowing the transformative fire of intention and gentle action to allow those precious things to grow to their fullest potential.
So cleanse and reset those altars! Set your intention and your space and light the candles with gratitude and clear thought! Our colors for this time are white, yellow and pale green and mirror those brave seedlings and flowers like snowdrop and narcissus who greet us in the midwinter and remind us that spring will come soon enough! Herbs for this sabbat are cleansing and protective and include: Angelica, Basil, Coltsfoot, Myrrh, Violet, Tansy, Bay Laurel and all yellow flowers.
Whether or not one follows a pagan path, this is a beautiful time to set clear intentions, reconnect with nature, and make healthier choices in our emotional and physical bodies. This can be done through cleansing and purifying our homespace and ourselves, taking walks in the woods or by the ocean (or even just down the garden path!), planting our seedlings and caring for them until it is safe to put them in the earth, and using our gentlest hearts to share kindness and compassion with ourselves and those around us.
Chai-pourri Tea for Imbolc
1 part Puerh Tea (optional)
1/2 part Rose petals
1/4 part dried Orange Peel
1/8 part Cinnamon chips
1/8 part Nutmeg
1/16 part Clove buds
Star Anise to taste
1. Blend herbs in a bowl. 2. To infuse, steep in hot water for 5 - 10 minutes. 3. Enjoy on it's own or with honey and some lemon!
*Art Credit: We can't find the origin of this beautiful image, but we'd love to credit the artist, if possible. If you know please share in the comments below.