Imbolc (im’-molk), is the grand sabbat celebrating High Winter, when we re-dedicate ourselves to the Great Work of Magick. The waxing tide leading up to Imbolc is the season of preparation, when we clear the air, sharpen the old tools, and create new tools to aid us in our new endeavors. This home cleansing ritual is a great place to start.
“At Imbolc we ask for inspiration and guidance for new plans and projects, and we give thought to the unseen mysteries unfolding in the dark. Just as the the dark earth gestates life that sprouts and flourishes in the spring, so we honor our own times of dark power, gestating the growth that will sustain us in the warm and sunny months of creativity to come.” (Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw, Page 8 )
Imbolc is celebrated when we hit 15 degrees of Aquarius, which is mid-point of an air sign, so this sabbat is about communication. Aquarius is also a fixed sign, which lends itself to the work we must do to maintain our progress.
“The Aquarius star sign begins when the winter is at its coldest, but the daylight is increasing, promising spring, although still distant. Aquarius is the horoscope Zodiac sign with the traits of the thoughtful philosopher, who contemplates life, the universe, and everything.” source
However, the period *before* Imbolc, is when we do the work to get ready for the Imbolc kickoff. After Yule, we first must journey through Capricorn – the cardinal earth sign, when we discover what we are to manifest in the coming year.
On the Witch’s Pyramid of Power, folks like to start magickal work with air’s projective lesson: “To Know.” However, that is where they forget the cyclical nature of the process. The cycle begins at the end, so we must first look to Earth’s receptive powers of resonance.
First we have to hold open the void of potential, seeking what will manifest next into our lives, and allow ourselves to become the fertile ground. We figure out what seeds to plant at Imbolc, so we may grow into this new thing. “Resonance” teaches us to shift our vibration to the frequency of the thing we want to manifest, so that it eventually gravitates toward us.
“The Capricorn Zodiac sign is the leading earth sign of the horoscope, and earth is mainly about the concrete and material. To any earth sign, talking or thinking is not enough. Without results in the real world, nothing has happened. The Capricorn horoscope sign is prepared to do the miles to make that come true.” source
So, the time after Yule, as winter waxes through Capricorn, I figure out what new focus to apply to my Work. I do this with divination, meditation, and prayer. Honestly, once I announce to the Universe that I’m open to guidance at Yule, that knowing just comes flooding in.
Then, as I enter Aquarius, which in 2018 will fall on January 20th, I can shift into “mental work” mode to get that party started. This begins with a literal clearing the air with a cleansing of my home, setting my new altar, and the preparing the tools I’ll need to dedicate to this new work on Imbolc.
For these techniques, I look once more to the zodiac and elemental correspondences among my plant and stone allies, to help me “tune in” to the Aquarius frequency of this Imbolc-tide.
Plants of Imbolc: for ritual baths, incense blends, anointing oils, and sachets
Aquarius: Heather, holly, pine, ivy, white willow, sage, nutmeg, almond, angelica, bay, basil, benzoin, grains and nuts.
Uranus: Blue Chamomile, Fennel, Lime, Neroli, Ginseng, Basil.
Air: Agrimony, dandelion, lavender, lemongrass, meadowsweet, slippery elm, sage, white pine, star anise.
Stones for Aquarius: To wear in jewelry, carry in a pouch, add to altars, baths and spells
Garnet grounding and protective, aids with melancholy and is a symbol of love and truth; balances air and the erratic influences of Uranus.
Amethyst helps assimilate new ideas; grounds and protects empathy; centering and thought-calming properties, heightens intuitive thought and wisdom; aids with sobriety.
Aquamarine aids communication and releasing long-held resentments; aids spiritual and creative illumination; fosters compassion and empathy; aids in humanitarian pursuits.
Amber is actually a fossilized resin with ancient memory; a powerful healer. Protects the psyche while clearing an overactive mind; promotes the release of baneful thoughts; warming, grounding, eases stress and fear.
Labradorite awakens and strengthens a strong connection to spirit; a visionary stone to govern spiritual exploration.
Moonstone aids with intuition, dreaming, relaxation, calming the mind, emotional balance; brings the conscious forth from the unconscious.
Home Cleansing Ritual for Imbolc
- Imbolc incense blend on a hot hookah charcoal, in a censer or heat-safe dish you can safely carry around the house.
- A wafting tool of some kind is helpful – a large feather, or a hand-held fan, for example.
- A red candle in a glass jar, like a votive, 50 hour or 7 days candle. This is safe to carry without spilling wax all over the floor.
- A bowl of Sea Salt
- A bowl of purified water
- Imbolc Anointing Oil
Imbolc Anointing Oil
- 1/2 oz. bottle.
- 6 drops Lavender Essential oil
- 3 drops Lemongrass Essential oil
- fill to top of bottle with sweet almond oil
- chips of any stones of Aquarius you have on hand.
- 1 T. Powdered White Pine, Air, Aquarius
- 1 T. Powdered Benzoin Resin, Aquarius
- 1 T. Lavender, Air, Venus, Goddess
- 1 t. Meadowsweet, Air
- 1 t. Bay Laurel: Purification, healing, protection, Aquarius
- 1 t. Willow bark: moon, Venus, healing, Aquarius
- I add stone chips to incense blends as well, to keep them charged. See above for suggestions.
Physically Clean the House:Thoroughly clean and organize your home. Now is a good time to cull things you no longer need for donation. Physically take out the garbage, before you try to metaphysically take out the garbage. Those donations that have been riding around in the trunk of your car since last year need to be delivered now, too. You know who you are. <cackle>
Clear the cobwebs from all the dusty corners. Strip the beds, and launder the curtains. Is it finally time to steam clean the carpets? All the big things you’ve been putting off…their time has come. Just do it and stop making excuses. <whipcrack>
Take a spiritual bath. I like to add some sea salt and Imbolc oil to the bath waters, and meditate as I visualize any emotional, mental and spiritual “garbage” I’m carrying around dissolving into the bathwater, and draining away. I’ll even add to the bathwater any stones of Aquarius I have, that will charge the waters, and aid me as I tune my frequency to the work ahead. I end with a proper shower and normal ablutions to shine up my physical body. I anoint myself in the oil, and dress in clean clothes before I begin.
Home Cleansing by Air:
Carry the burning incense and wafting tool to the front door. Open it up.
State: “Powers of Air! I greet you with Air, and ask that you blow free any banefulness from this home.” Visualize all harmful thoughts, obsessions, and communications, being blown out the door.
Repeating the phrase, “I consecrate this home by the powers of Air,” wafting the incense as you go, walk clockwise around the entire inside perimeter of your home. Wind up and down stairs and other floors, always flowing clockwise. When you come to openings, like windows and chimneys, waft a circle around them clockwise as well.
When you arrive back at the front door, State: This home is purified by the powers of Air! So Mote it Be!
Home Cleansing by Fire:
Carry the red candle to the front door.
State: “Powers of Fire! I greet you with Fire, and ask that you burn free any banefulness from this home.” Visualize all baneful actions and motivations being blown out the door.
Repeating the phrase, “I consecrate this home by the powers of fire,” carrying the candle as you go, walk clockwise around the same path as before. If you have a helper to bang a drum as you walk, all the better.
When you arrive back at the front door, State: “This home is purified by the powers of Fire! So Mote it Be!”
Home Cleansing by Water:
Carry the water to the front door.
State: “Powers of Water! I greet you with Water, and ask that you wash free any banefulness from this home.” Visualize all baneful emotions and addictions being blown out the door.
Repeating the phrase, “I consecrate this home by the powers of Water,” sprinkling the water with your fingers as you go, follow the same path.
When you arrive back at the front door, State: “This home is purified by the powers of Water! So Mote it Be!”
Home Cleansing by Earth
Carry the sea salt to the front door.
State: “Powers of Earth! I greet you with Earth, and ask that you ground free any banefulness from this home.” Visualize all baneful impediments, attachments, and illnesses being blown out the door.
Repeating the phrase, “I consecrate this home by the powers of Earth,” sprinkling the salt with your fingers as you go, follow the same path.
When you arrive back at the front door, State: “This home is purified by the powers of Earth! So Mote it Be!”
Setting an intention for your home:
Carry the Imbolc Anointing oil to the front door. Charge it with your intentions for the home and yourself over this season. Here is an example:
“This home is cleansed of all baneful influences, to become a sanctuary of clarity, peace, success, and good health. Only Love may enter in; only Love may emerge! For the highest Good of all involved, harming none. So Mote it Be!”
With the oil on your index finger, draw a symbol of protection on both sides of the front door. I use a pentagram, but you can choose the protection symbol of your own tradition. Close the door, seeing it sealed from all harm.
Now, walk through the house along the same path and draw the same symbol in oil over every window, door, mirror and exterior opening, Stating: “This home is protected from all harm.”
So mote it be!
When you are done, thank and release the elemental powers.
Stay tuned for more articles on the craftings and preparations for the Imbolc Season!
Preparing for Imbolc: Weaving a Brigid’s Cross – for disease prevention in the home – with step by step instructions, and new ideas to boost the oomph on this old tradition!
For an even more in-depth article on cleansing and warding a home for general spiritual protection, check out my article here.