The beginning of February marks the festival of Imbolc, an ancient Celtic celebration to welcome back the return of the Sun and Spring. It is one of the eight festivals that pagans celebrate the cycles and seasons of the year with. Four of the festivals have Celtic origins, these are Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain, and are known as the fire festivals. The other four are associated with points on the solar calendar, the Spring and Autumn Equinox, (when day and night are equal) and the Summer and Winter Solstices (the longest and shortest days of the year). I will be following these cycles through the year on my blog, and the traditions and customs that are associated with them. We have lost touch with our ancient roots, which keep us connected with the earth and the cycles of nature…. when we reconnect and deepen this connection it can have profound positive effects within us.
What Is The Festival Of Imbolc?
Imbolc was one of the most important times in the Celtic farming calendar, as the Winter stores would be getting low. The days are getting longer, new life is returning. Imbolc translates as “ewe’s milk” or “in the belly”, because this is the time that the sheep are pregnant and lambs are on the way. The cold harsh days of winter are nearly behind us. Even though the days are still bleak and frosty, the energy differs from the deep reflection and withdrawal that Yule and the Winter Solstice brings us…here at Imbolc there is a sense that within the earth things are beginning to wake from their slumber. Imbolc celebrations entered around the lighting of fires to welcome in the return of the Sun, and for cleansing. It is also associated with the Goddess Brigid, or Saint Brigit, (this time is also known in the Christian calendar as Candlemas) who is a Goddess of fire, healing and fertility. She is also associated with birthing and midwives, wells, poetry and blacksmiths.
As we move through this time, we begin to see new life emerging all around us in the natural world, buds on the trees, the first snowdrops begin poking their heads up through the soil.
Rituals and Activities
Rituals and activities might include the making of candles, Spring cleaning and getting rid of clutter! Planting seeds or spring flowers, and bringing these into the home, reading poetry and telling stories, gather around the fire with friends and family and share your stories and ideas… toast some marshmallows and celebrate the return of the Sun!
Healing Treatments To Try During Imbolc
During the festival of Imbolc, there are particular holistic treatments that are perfect for promoting comfort, healing and reflectiveness within the body.
Reflexology is also known as an ‘alternative medicine’ as it applies gentle pressure to different points on the feet and hands. Each point corresponds to areas of the body, ultimately helping to re-balance the body and encourage the natural healing process. Those who suffer from pain, anxiety and lack of sleep would all particularly benefit from Reflexology.
Reflexology works really well with Reiki. Reiki is a Japanese term which relates to the phrase ‘universal life energy’ and helps to heal the body physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Opting to book a reflexology and reiki split treatment is incredibly beneficial in delivering ultimate relaxation and healing.
This Imbolc, 2019, also coincides with the New Moon in Aquarius, which intensifies the energies. The new moon at this time calls for us to not just focus on our own personal hopes and dreams, but to also look externally at how we can be of service in the world, which is going through massive changes also. There is an invitation to connect more deeply with others, to come together and help in the wider community, by supporting good causes, volunteering, helping in our environment. Open your mind to collaboration, create something sustainable and inclusive.
Now is the time to bring new ideas and projects into the light, for growing what we have been reflecting on over the Winter months. It is time to plant your seeds of intention. What are you dreaming and planning for the year? 💜🌱