Imbolc for the Family
Imbolc | Lughnasadh | Charming of the Plow
The halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Imbolc for the Family
Imbolc is a day to re-connect with nature, celebrate the spring to come, and begin to prepare crops for the upcoming season. It is celebrated with a festival, feast, crafting and bonfires. Worshippers honor the Celtic goddess (and patron saint) Brigid. Celtic traditions hold Imbolc from February 1 until sundown on February 2; but some celebrate it on the first new moon of February instead. Imbolc is found on the Wheel of the Year. It is celebrated by Celtic pagans, Wicca followers and new age Norse pagans; however, Imbolc does not have any attestation in historic Heathen manuscripts.
The pre-Christian origins of Imbolc are found in 10th century Irish literature that relates ewe's milk to purification, spring and rebirth. The Celts celebrate by honouring the Celtic goddess Brigid by creating straw figures of her from oats and rushes, placing it in a dress, and laying the figurine in a basket overnight with offerings. The next day, people celebrate by burning lamps and lighting bonfires as tribute to their goddess. Eventually the church recognized her purity and kindness, and to honour her they recognized her as patron Saint Brigid (Bridget). Aligned with Imbolc, Sweden celebrates Disting/Disablot festivals which translates to 'Thing of the Goddess' (Remember: Thing means 'community assembly place'); and Denmark celebrates with a 'Feast of New Beginnings' where ploughs and churns are charmed for a blessed growing season.
IMBOLC ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY:
(I save the best for last)
1. Get your garden ready (physically & spiritually)
Although it is too early to plant seeds in most of the northern hemisphere, this is a great opportunity to plan your garden and begin seeding indoor plant nurseries.
2. Charm the plough
Most of us do not have ploughs anymore, but we do have gardens and gardening tools. Set your intention for the year ahead on your garden and your tools. If you don't have any, now is a good time to start ordering items you will need.
3. Chase away lingering Yule spirits
Pack up your Yule decorations to chase the lingering spirits away before they get bored and start playing tricks on you and your home! 4. Have a special feast
Symbolically this feast will include offerings to your gods/goddesses. Traditional food of the Celts are made of cow dairy. Other traditional foods for this time include lamb or cow/bull. This offering requires true effort and intention. Once offered to your deity the other members of your table can begin enjoying the food.
5. Hold an offering
Create your own straw dolls of the goddess Brigid, and put it in a basket overnight with meaningful items you wish to offer her.
6. Light a bonfire and/or candles Fires are lit to symbolize the coming of the light, help chase away the darkness, and show gratitude for the warmth your deity is soon to bring. 7. Meditate and reflect
Mediation and reflection can be held anywhere. You can do this outside with nature, inside where you can find peace, and even in a herbal milk bath where you can soak in the essence of nature.
8. Do some spring cleaning (physical and spiritual)
Out with the old and in with the new. It is time to purify and renew!
9. Print off some free Brigid colouring pages
If you have some kids you need to keep busy, we have a new featured artist this month who has gifted a beautiful Imbolc colouring page of the goddess Brigid holding a lamb and wearing straw Imbolc cross earrings. Click here to get to your free printable colouring page from Run Wild Earth Child.
10. Craft Imbolc herbal ice lanterns
This brilliant craft idea came from another pagan mom, and it is a beautiful idea the whole family can enjoy (Thanks Rachel Marks, Texas, USA). All you need are: a plastic container, water, a rock, a freezer, a candle, and herbs or flowers. Here are the directions: Step 1) Get a flexible plastic container
Step 2) Put a candle-sized rock in the middle of it Step 3) Fill the container with water (but don't cover the rock!) and freeze for a day Step 4) The next day, take the ice out of the freezer and remove the rock Step 5) Place herbs and flowers along the top icy rim Step 6) Place in a safe location outside and light a candle in the middle of it When the ice melts, the herbal ice lanterns leave a ring of herbs and flowers to represent spring's first blooms growing or poking through the snow. (I will add a picture of my own ice lantern to this article and my Pagan Kids pages soon!)
I hope you all enjoyed 'Imbolc for the Family'. I know the read was longer than normal, but there was a lot of history and clarification behind this one. If you found inspiration from this post and you follow through the the crafts, please tag me in your pictures. I would love to see your masterpiece(s)!
Sincerely, Jennifer Hartman Pagan Kids
Sources: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/imbolc https://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/pagans-celebrate-coming-of-spring-with-imbolc-festival https://www.theasatrucommunity.org/holidays https://www.learnreligions.com/guide-to-celebrating-imbolc-2562102