Over the weekend we celebrated Imbolc and Candlemas, the former on the 1st February and the latter on the 2nd. We are neither Pagans nor Christians as such, however I love so much about both groups and their festivals that we like to celebrate both days. It's also a good excuse to have an extra festival day! I love this time of year. For me, it's all about hope, the return of the light and new beginnings.
Imbolc/Candlemas/St Brigid's is the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It's a powerful time as Mother Earth begins to journey up and expand outwards, well visibly to us humans anyhow. The snowdrop is one of the earliest signs of the return of life and growth. It always amazes me how something so delicate and beautiful can brave and survive the February weather in the northern hemisphere. Snowdrops give me hope. These dainty little flowers are messengers from Mother Earth/Nature that she is still alive and will return in due course.
These are the snowdrops under the huge chestnut trees on our village green.
We like to make candles. The children roll sheets of beeswax and decorate candles with modeling beeswax. This year they made pictures of lambs and snowdrops on the candles we planned to burn on Imbolc. I dip wick into hot beeswax to make 12 inch candles. I love them. They make our home smell wonderful. There are sheep in the fields surroundings us who are nourishing their lambs with milk and we are making rice pudding and yogurts to acknowledge this new life.
We go through our house and have a good clear out and spring clean after a long winter's rest. We light candles, burn incense, sing songs and share great food.
We also enjoy using herbs in various ways. We burn incense, diffuse essential oils and enjoy herb tea. We use those herbs connected to Imbolc, these include angelica, basil, bay, coltsfoot, myrrh, pine, tansy and violet. Oils we enjoy diffusing at this time include bay, cinnamon, myrrh and vanilla.
I use this time of year to make wishes. I make a rough plan at Christmas and then use this time to pencil in the details and get really clear about what I am going to achieve this year and how I am going to do it. I get excited as the seeds I planted during the Holy Nights get ready to sprout and grow. I don't talk about all of this with my children. I have a beautiful picture of a wishing tree on our nature table and like all the festivals, I let the deeper meaning live in me and know that this will automatically impress upon them and they will take from it what they need.
Imbolc is about the return of the light. It is really noticeable how much later it is now before it gets dark than it was at Christmas. Hoorah, spring and eventually summer are on their way. Many blessings, Carole