Celebrate the ancient pagan holiday of Imbolc with one of these energy cleansing rituals.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the ancient Gaelic holiday known as Imbolc begins at sunset on February 1st and continues throughout the following day. About halfway between Yule and Ostara (the spring equinox), it’s celebrated as the earliest dawn of spring, when the days begin to noticeably lengthen and the snow begins to melt. A fire festival aligned with the fiery-haired Celtic goddess Brigid (and a day later devoted to her Catholic incarnation Saint Brigid), Imbolc lends itself to magical work related to purification, as well as protection, creativity, fertility, healing, and miracles.
To align with the powerful energy of this magical time, here are five ways you can purify your energy this Imbolc.
For a simple Imbolc fire purification, light a fire in your fireplace, create an outdoor fire, or just light a red pillar candle on your altar. Then meditate. As you gaze at the flame, merge your awareness with that of the fire. Breathe deeply and let the fire burn away negativity or stuck energy while awakening your spirit and enlivening your soul.
Imbolc is an excellent opportunity to put your half-burned candles to good use: place them around your home, and then safely light every single one of them at sunset on February 1st. Then take a moment to ritually welcome the goddess Brigid into your space, along with her Imbolc blessings of purification, miracles, and healing. Keep them burning as long as you can safely attend to them, and then extinguish. When it’s convenient and desirable, repeat this process periodically until the Equinox, or until the candles are burned all the way down.
3. Add epsom salt, sea salt, and baking soda to your bathwater, and burn a candle as you bathe.
The ancient shrine of the Goddess Bridgid in Kildare, Ireland featured a constantly burning flame. When it was transformed into a fire temple dedicated to St. Brigid, nuns continued to tend to that flame for some time. The goddess/saint also has a sacred well nearby, which is believed to have healing properties. This Imbolc, draw upon Brigid’s allies of water and fire: invoke her with a heartfelt prayer before lighting a red candle and soaking in a purifying salt bath.
4. Hang a Brigid’s Cross over or on your front door.
This classic Imbolc craft will purify and protect your home. Using dried rushes or a similar dried plant material, craft a Brigid’s cross (here’s how), and hang it over or on your front door. On next year’s Imbolc, throw the cross (safely) on a fire, and craft a new one to refresh its power.
5. Tie tiny bells to your broom and sweep the floor.
Brooms are powerful things! Simply sweeping with intention is a beautiful way to clear out old energy and make room for the new. And when you tie tiny bells to your broom this Imbolc, you’ll also sprinkle magical blessings of early spring throughout your space.
Which of these Imbolc purification rituals did you try? And how did it go?