Updated: Mar 1
Today, 1st February 2022, is a real cornerstone date this year: It is New Moon, Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, and the festivals of Imbolc (Pagan), St Brigid's Day (Gaelic) and the eve of the Christian celebration of Candlemas. There is so much going on, that we wanted to give you a few ways to mark the time.
Cosmologically, we are at the second New Moon after Winter Solstice, which is marked as Lunar New Year, and the half-way point between Solstice and Spring Equinox. It is a gentle turning point on the way towards Spring. In our menstrual cycle, this would be represented around day 3 or 4. We are still deep in Winter, but can feel slight energy shift. Imbolc marks the mid-point of Winter and the first whispers of Spring rising. Even though we are still very much in the darkness, light is slowly returning and we can see snowdrops peeking through.
IMAGE: Wendy Andrews
After months of hibernation and rest , deep down the life is beginning to stir again. It is still winter, and the call is still to rest, but we have the promise of Spring in the coming weeks.
It can feel a conflicting time of year, as the yearning to rest may be strong still, or perhaps the Spring energy is pulling you forward into productivity. As with all thresholds, the challenge is to stay slow and step through it consciously. We have plenty of time to hang out in the safe container of winter and just peek out to see what’s next.
It’s natural to resist leaving warm, comfortable space in order to stretch into who we are becoming. But this is a time to feel into doing just that. Just as nature is beginning to awaken from its winter sleep, so too will your spirit begin to reawaken with dreams and vision for the year to come.
Change and evolution are not always comfortable, even if they are wanted and needed! Be gentle with yourself, there is no rush….
We have put together some lovely suggestions of how to celebrate this turning towards the light.
How would you like to grow more fully into yourself?
What gold are you capturing from your Winter sleep?
Where are you being called forwards?
Imbolc Gratitude Ritual
3 things you are grateful for
3 blessings that have come your way this Winter
3 opportunities that you are looking forward to this coming Spring
Imbolc Cake Recipe
Goddess Brigid is honoured as the bringer of Spring. Legend has it that sun and fire goddess Brigid returned to earth bringing green to the land. Imbolc was the occasion of a great “Feast of Light” or “Feast of Fire” and all kinds of magical cakes were made in Brigid’s honour. She sounds like my sort of gal!
Brigid was believed to be a teacher of herbcraft and so many plants and flowers sacred to her were often featured in Imbolc foods. Each came with their own magical purpose. Sun herbs for example brought their powers of purification, protection and prosperity, which were ritual themes throughout all Imbolc celebrations. As the new sun goddess, all forms of light, heat and illumination were sacred to her so Imbolc was marked with bonfires in the fields and blazing hearths and candles at home. These fires strengthened Brigid’s powers and were purification rites burning off the old to make way for the new growth to come.
To celebrate Liz has created this Lemon, Rosemary and Poppy Seed Cake. Rosemary is a herb of the sun and magically associated with purification, cleansing, protection and prosperity, and poppy seeds symbolize new growth, all of which are so ritually important at this time of new beginnings. Plus they taste pretty awesome.
An Imbolc Ritual Bath (by Erin Bruce)
The purpose of this part of the ritual is to cleanse, not only your body, but also your mind & soul.
It’s a chance to meditate & reflect upon the things you’d like to rinse away.
✧ Set the mood by lighting candles & turning off harsh overhead light. Light some incense or diffuse essential oils with a scent you find soothing or inspiring. Play some music, if you find that relaxing. You can find Susanna's playlist here.
✧ As you run the bath, add some epsom salt & any herbs you find relaxing.
– The best way to do this is to tie herbs into a muslin cloth or bag, and hang it on the tap so that the warm bathwater runs through it into the tub.
– Herbs associated with cleansing include: sage, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon balm, sandalwood, lavender, rosemary, peppermint. Make sure you use the real stuff, - your body knows the difference. So go for organic essential oils, 100% certified natural products, or the plant itself for the best benefits.
✧ Once you’ve filled the bath with warm water, immerse yourself in the tub. Spend several minutes allowing yourself to just relax completely. Let your mind clear. Focus on the warmth enveloping you. Close your eyes & become attuned to your body.
✧ Spend several minutes visualizing all the negative energy in your body. As you focus, imagine the negativity being swept out of your body, one particle at a time, through your pores. See any negativity being released from your body. Think about how rejuvenating the bath is. See your body, your spirit, and your soul being cleansed & purified by the herbs & the water.
✧ When you feel ready, stand up and get out of the tub. After you’ve gotten out of the water, release the plug so that all the negativity absorbed by the water can be drained away.
Take time for a yoga nidra with Susanna
Liz and Susanna's Winter read
A beautiful book. Wintering is a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves. Katherine May thoughtfully shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers are the ebb and flow of life.