Imbolc marks the point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, and its traditions stem from Celtic celebrations of the very beginnings of spring. Here in Canada, we are still far from visible signs of spring, but the light is noticeably increasing and along with it, the hope and optimism of warmer days to come.
The Earth Mother is still resting but deep below, the potential of new life stirs. Within our creative cauldron, the seeds of this year’s harvest begin to awaken us to their potential.
Imbolc is said to be derived from old Irish, meaning ‘in the belly’ referring to pregnant ewes. The promise of new birth and the nourishment of ewe’s milk signify the hope and renewal this season symbolises. The Irish goddess Brighid- Goddess of healing, fertility, the hearth, smithcraft and poetry is also venerated at this time.
In Wales, this celebration is called Gwyl Mair, the feast of Mary, and it aligns with the Christian Candlemas and our Groundhog day, with overlapping themes of purification, light, divining the future and preparation for spring.
Similar to the ‘nesting’ instinct a pregnant mother experiences, we may start to feel the desire to prepare for new life coming in spring. We don’t really know what awaits us yet, we must follow our intuition and trust our instincts to lead us in the right direction. We may declutter our home, our psyche or cleanse our body in preparation for this mysterious new life to come. At some point in the coming weeks, we may begin to feel some clarity on a new desire, goal or vision for the year ahead and take our first baby steps towards it. We may feel drawn to make changes in our life to support the future self we are birthing.
Imbolc Oracle Spread
Imbolc is traditionally a time for divination. Groundhog Day is very similar to traditions in Europe where the habits of animals were seen as ways of predicting when winter will end. Even though the light is increasing, darkness continues to reign and therefore divination can really be a guiding light to help us forward.
I don’t personally wait for a special day to do divination, as it is part of my daily practice and lifestyle! But I tend to create new variations of spreads for the sabbats, just to change things up for myself. Here is my Imbolc one below…
Imbolc Spread: Seeds of New Life
Seeds: This position speaks to the potential incubating within. It may represent an idea, feeling, or the message regarding your seeds for the year.
Resistance: This position speaks to resistance or obstacles to clear in order for the seed to grow. Often around Imbolc we can be faced with challenges such as self-doubt, fear or insecurity. This card shows the nature of these challenges.
Light: This card is like the sunlight shining down on your seeds, pulling them towards growth. It speaks to the energy that brings you growth and renewal. It asks that rather than actively working on this energy, simply open and surrender to it.
Next Step: This card points you to the next baby step to take. It will help you clear the Resistance and/or embrace the Light card.
Try this spread with your favorite deck or book a reading with me!
Below is a reading for you, using the Goddess Power Oracle Deck by Colette Baron Reid.
Seeds- Danu- Assurance:
It’s been hard to feel a whole lot of hope these days. Endless pandemic burnout may be affecting you and your ability to believe in yourself and your ability to even dream or hope or create new life again. Danu, Celtic Mother goddess brings her assurance and steadfast strength to remind you that indeed you CAN create new life again, your dreams ARE valid, and you WILL be renewed!
She brings the assurance of the turning of the seasons, the warmth and growth of spring as guaranteed after this fallow period. As the Earth Mother, she reminds us of the importance of cycles and divine timing. Relax into the certainty of growth. She places her hands on your shoulders and asks you breathe in her assurance and trust all is manifesting in perfect timing, in the perfect way. Find the spark of confidence within. Whatever seed of desire you feel within, BELIEVE in its manifestation. It is promised.
Do you feel small or inexperienced? Do you feel imposter syndrome? Do you feel that your desire won’t manifest because you aren’t wise or powerful enough to make it so? Greek Goddess Metis reminds us wisdom comes with both knowledge and experience. We all have our unique wisdom to share.
Sometimes when we are faced with something new, we are afraid to take the first step because we won’t be good at it, we won’t be as good as someone else. We need to be willing to be a beginner sometimes, to make mistakes and learn from them. We must be willing to not be perfect.
We are all in a process of becoming. What lessons have you learned from last year? What wisdom have you gained? Is there deep wisdom within you need to recognise and share?
Our challenge is our willingness to embrace the wisdom we have and to keep walking our path towards greater wisdom.
How can you apply your experience and wisdom to the challenges you face now? Is there someone wise and knowledgeable you can reach out to?
The fierce Hindu goddess Kali shines upon your seeds of rebirth, asking you to surrender to the process of shedding old skins, past selves and others’ ideas of who you are in order to grow. She asks you to liberate yourself by being authentic and true to yourself. Let go of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘what will they think?’ thoughts in your mind. Let go of the roles that stifle and restrict you, you are done with them. Life may have been shining the light on some truths about yourself or your upbringing that aren’t serving you anymore and it is best to simply let those habits and roles fall away now.
Turn your face up towards the light of Kali, shining her truth, authenticity and liberation upon you. Let your natural instincts guide you towards what feels like freedom and liberation from the past and your desires will start to manifest. Take a moment to breathe the energy of liberation into your body. What would it feel like to break free? Feel yourself becoming lighter and brighter and you courageously allow yourself to take up a bit more space! Surrender to this process of lightening and letting go.
Next Step- Hera-Alliance:
Your next step is to connect with your allies. These can be people with whom you resonate and vibrate harmoniously with. They can also be spirit guides, plant or animal allies that support your inner strength, resilience, and growth.
Sometimes we feel we are all alone on our path. We may feel that no one understands us, or that we must bear our burdens alone. Greek goddess Hera reminds us that we don’t exist in a vacuum, we are interdependent beings, and strengthening our relationships serves to strengthen us as well.
Regarding the Resistance card message, we may wish to ally ourselves with those who are knowledgeable and wise, those we admire for their wisdom, who bring out our own wisdom or encourage us to keep learning and growing on our unique path.
Regarding the Light card message, it is important that our allies serve our authentic needs, growth and liberation from old patterns. We need to be discerning in our choice of friends, teachers, collaborators and partners. If a relationship forces us into an outworn role or story with no room for change and growth, then it might not be with someone we would consider an ally. The next step is to reach out to someone you feel you resonate with, who supports your authenticity and growth.
Take your time, be gentle as you incubate your precious new beginnings, my friend. May the Goddess support you on your path, assuring you that all will happen in divine timing.
“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”― Gabriel García Márquez
Are you interested in learning more about Imbolc and delving deeper into its energies? Join me for our online Imbolc Circle: Nacent Beginnings, this Friday, Feb 4th @7pm!
Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!
As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices, addressing cultural appropriation in pagan communities and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.