Imbolc is one of my favorite celebrations of the year. As with most things lovely, there is always a bit of post celebration let-down. You want to keep that feeling going, so how can you do that?
Being a devoted follower of Brigid, I celebrate her all year, so it’s not too much of a stretch to keep the spirit of Imbolc in my heart, no matter the season. Yet the year whirls on, and we get distracted by other things, events, and people. Here are a few suggestions to keep that spirit of Imbolc going:
Spring Clean: If you haven’t already, clean! Clean your space of clutter, refresh your altar, clear off your desk, tidy your workplace. Part of the beauty of Imbolc is the promise of Spring, with that clean, clear scent in the air. Devote yourself to an hour or two here and there, and notice the energy shift. If you haven’t already dedicated altar space to Brigid, it’s not too late to do so now. Add some new candles, a bit of incense, some fresh flowers and a wee glass of Irish whiskey to honor her. Step back, and see how you feel afterwards It may inspire you to tackle other areas of your life.
Tend a fire: Brigid’s eternal flame in Kildare is tended to by priestesses, so try recreating that at home. Get a 7 day candle, decorate it with words, photos, or nature items, and set an intention. Devote yourself for a certain amount of time each day in lighting the candle and spending some time in meditation and focus. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace or fire pit, you can do the same with either. Directing your energy towards an intention can be very personally satisfying, and honoring the work of Brigid’s followers as well.
Research: Personally, I never tire of reading about Brigid. Find books, You Tube videos, blogs, and articles about her. Research Kildare. Start a notebook of all the research you find, and perhaps that will lead you to an interest you didn’t realize you have. After all, Brigid is the goddess of smithing, poetry, beer, and more. Drink beer, and explore your local brewery. Watch a smithing demonstration, learn more about midwifery. Read different poets and discovery poetry. Write your own poems. Which leads me to…
Write: I love to write, so this one keeps me going. I dedicate a whole week of writing to Brigid. Poems, streams of consciousness, haiku, prose, entreaties. Don’t like to write? Try it. Write the way you speak, and see how it flows. Pen or laptop, it doesn’t matter. Meditate, and write down any words or thoughts that come from that time. See if you can fashion it into something you like. Read about Brigid and write down your thoughts about what you’ve discovered. Write a ritual for next Imbolc. Write a list of Brigid’s qualities that you would like to emulate. The list is endless.Get outside: Get out in nature, even if it’s a local park. Find a tree, hug it, sit under it, spend some time walking in a forest. Breathe in that scent. Find a grove you can feel the stillness and calmness away from this harried world. Set up a little natural altar to Brigid, and tend to it. Visit it often, and use it as a focal point for your meditation.
Jewelry: Find a piece of jewelry that reminds you of Brigid and wear it daily. It can be the Brigid’s wheel or anything that reminds you of Brigid: a flame, a beer bottle, a book charm, a leaf. If you can craft jewelry yourself, do so. Make some as gifts, if you are so inclined. Take a piece of muslin, and create a cloutie (an Irish prayer tie). Set an intention on that piece of cloth, and wear it or tie it to something that you see every day. I have one tied to my rear view mirror in my car, to remind me of my first Imbolc, where I began my devotion to Brigid. Tie it to a plant in your home, to a lamp by your bedside. Use it to comfort you, to remind you of Brigid, or as a symbol of Imbolc.
Oil: Create an oil specifically for Imbolc and Brigid. Use a base such as almond oil, and add any of the herbs associated with Imbolc to it (Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and any white or yellow flowers). Or experiment and make your own. What reminds you of Brigid? A smoky scent to remind you of fire? A woodsy scent to remind you of the outdoors? Make it a group project with friends and create a scent you all can wear in honor of her.
Plan a trip: Plan a trip to Kildare to visit Brigid’s sacred flame. If overseas travel is out of your budget, research and find local places that honor Brigid. If you have a local spring or water area that is nearby, you can create your own little shrine to Brigid and tend to it (be sure it is not on private property and leave items that are biodegradable to honor the land).
As with all things, do what feels right and natural to you. Although I am devoted to Brigid, sometimes other deities step in and tell me “Hey, it’s MY turn now!” and I usually find there is a reason. Some deities step in to help with other areas of my life, and they help immensely. Underneath it all, Brigid comes first, and I remain devoted to her. Your journey is your own, and who knows? Celebrating Brigid can lead you down other paths, interests and deities. Enjoy the journey. It is certainly worth it.