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.
Because this Imbolc happens to fall during a waning moon, it’s particularly suited to energetic purification. So without further ado, here are five ways you can purify your energy this Imbolc.
1. Meditate in front of a fire or flame. Light a fire in your fireplace, create an outdoor fire, or just light a red pillar candle on your altar, and meditate. Merge your awareness with that of the fire and let it burn away negativity or stuck energy, while awakening your spirit and enlivening your soul.
2. Light every single one of your partly-burned candles at sunset. If you have a bunch of half-burned candles, here’s an opportunity to put them 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 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 had 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. Draw upon the healing energy of Brigid’s healing waters and fire by calling on her before lighting a red candle and soaking in a purifying salt bath.
4. Hang a Brigid’s Cross over your front door. Using dried rushes or a similar dried plant material, craft a Brigid’s cross (here’s how), and hang it over your front door to protect and purify your home. At Imbolc next year, throw it (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 by tying tiny bells to your broom, you add the benefit of sprinkling the magical blessings of early spring throughout your space.