I landed myself at the urgent care on January 1st this year, a fine way to bring in the New Year (Sarcasm) only to recover and end up hurting my back and neck a few weeks later. Needless to say I have spent most of January in bed. I had good intentions to start 2017 in a wonderful and healthy way but that got derailed very quickly.
When Imbolc finally rolled around I was still weak, but doing better than I had all January. I was able to finally take walks around my garden in search of the tiny snow drops peeking out of the soil and the tips of the grape hyacinth growing in thick patches. There are no snow drops yet, though I suspect with all the snow we have had this year they are not quite ready to peek through the surface. Snowdrops are one of the first flowers to peek through the soil and hint at all the beautiful flowers that are about to burst forth and color the landscape once more.
Like the harsh winter, my body has been cold and harsh to me; screaming, protesting and dragging. So I knew that if I was going to be able to do an Imbolc rite it was going to have to be low key. Usually I would celebrate Imbolc with Triskele Rose and our Circle in a beautiful intricate rite. However, since I left Arizona I have been solitary and I have taken much time to settle down and have yet to start officially working with students and witchling’s here in Oregon. Knowing that this Sabbat was going to be low key, I decided to plan a ritual cleansing and purification bath focusing on the energies of Imbolc and Water.
As a Water Witch sacred bathing is a BIG part of my practice. I work with many forms of water including water spirits, local water bodies, and with tools that are associated with water. However, this time my bath would focus on the water aspect, solar aspect, purification and of course healing. Imbolc is most often associated with Brigid and so she was honored along with Sulis and the Hazel tree. First I selected candles to adorn the bath and the mini shrine I has set up in the small corner of the bath tub. Then I used a left handed whelk I got from another magical practitioner that was calling me to use it. I filled this with several hazel nuts and placed the Brigid’s cross upon it.
I wanted to work with the Hazel tree for its association with Wisdom and to ask the spirit of the plant for wisdom concerning my health and how to live a healthier lifestyle. I added a floating rose candle to represent the flame but also the Goddesses’ I would be working with during my water rite. Hyssop is one of my current favorite plants for the creation of Holy Water. I have been playing with it for several months now and do notice its unique and subtle vibrations especially when it comes to ritual purification. Hyssop when added to water and prayers and incantations recited over it can create a wonderful holy water. I decided to use this idea for the bath water. Often times I add flowers, salts stones etc., but this time I wanted it to be simple, significant and lasting. So I focused on the one ingredient and created a huge bath tub vessel of sacred water to bath in. Once I was ready, I cleansed the bathroom with ritual smoke, lit the candles and sunk into the bath.Here I took myself on a vision journey across the water and into the other world. I first visited Brigid and saw her surrounded by all the flames lit in her honor today, thousands of white dripping candles and 4 arm crosses. I did not ask for anything rather I took a single candle from my pocket and lit if from the flame that burns within my heart. A simple offering, but not something I give often. I then journeyed to Sulis’ temple where she was also sounded by candles and flames. While it wasn’t nearly as many as Brigid, it was delightful to see that others in the world were worshiping this obscure goddess and had given her offerings and lit flames in her honor on this same day.
Sulis while very different that Brigid can technically fall in the same category or archetype. I am a firm believer that Brigid and Sulis are separate entities, however they share similar attributes, they are both associated with water and sacred wells. They also both have a solar or fire aspects as well. Sulis being connected with the sun, and her sacred water temple produces warm mineral waters. Brighid being connected with fire, the eternal flame and her sacred spring.
I then journeyed to the Hazel Grove and lit a flame from my heart center and gave it to the spirit of Hazel. It was here that I spoke to Brigid and Sulis asking for healing and to cleanse and purify me so that I can move forward into 2017 stronger and healthier. When I was finished I drained the water and moved the offerings, candles and shell to the altar where the flames continue to burn.
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