Posted Under Paganism & Witchcraft

Ritual: An Imbolc Celebration

Candles on an altar

As the warming rays of the sun thaw the frozen earth, the time arrives for each of us to release old wounds in order to create fertile soil for new ideas and possibilities. By reclaiming our connection to the divine, we accept our role in our own destinies, reaffirming our belief that the power of change rests in each and every one of us. Imbolc is a great time to feel your own power bubbling forth, especially with the help and assistance of the strong and forceful fire goddess Brigid.

Things you will need:

  • One large candle (your choice of color)
  • four small candles (one each ofyellow, red, blue, and green)
  • candle holders for the four candles
  • a lighter or matches
  • two bowls of dirt
  • a small watering can filled with water
  • one packet of flower, herb, or vegetable seeds (choose seeds that represent a goal or ideal that you'd like to bring into your life—consult Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham for information on the magical uses of herbs and flowers).
  • freshl-made bread
  • butter
  • a cup of milk
  • a libation bowl
  • a small hand towel

Place the large candle, lighter, two bowls of dirt, watering can, and seeds in the center of your sacred space. If you are performing the celebration inside, be sure to cleanse your area with sage or Florida Water ahead of time. Put the four small candles at the edges of your sacred space: yellow in the east, red in the south, blue in the west, and green in the north. Sitting facing the east, ground and center yourself, taking as much time as you need.

Once you feel relaxed and connected to the four elements, stand and walk to the east. Hold your hands up above your head and say:

Hail to the Guardian of the East,
The simple Cherry Tree.
Beautiful and gentle, pure and willing sacrfice,
You understand the cycle of life and death and rebirth.
Bring to me the peace to acknowledge the inevitable

And to welcome my growth.
Cherry Tree, Spirit of Air, I welcome you!

When you feel the presence of the east enter your sacred space, walk to the south, raise your hands, and say:

Hail to the Guardian of the South,
The quickening Rowan Tree.

Fiery and nourishing, physical and spiritual healer,
Your berries support life while your bark soars with spirit.
Bring to me the knowledge of the ancient ways
And the strength to use it well.
Rowan Tree, Spirit of Fire, I welcome you!

Feel the energy of the south enter your sacred space. Then, walk to the west, hold your hands above your head, and say:

Hail to the Guardian of the West,
The giving Apple Tree.
Loving and opening, emotional and otherworldly center,
You know the heart is the key to happiness.
Bring to me the acceptance of my inner truth
And the generosity to share it with the world.
Apple Tree, Spirit of Water, I welcome You!

Once you feel the calming presence of the west in your circle, walk to the north. Hold your hands above your head and say:

Hail to the Guardian of the North,
The enduring Holly Tree.
Bright and gay, protective and compassionate partner,
You shift with the currents of change, adjusting to seasons and spirituality.
Bring to me the courage to alter my perceptions
And the ability to persevere through trials.

Holly Tree, Spirit of Earth, I welcome you!

Be sure to light each candle after you have requested the presence of each elemental tree. Having called for the aid and guidance of the four directions, return to the center of your sacred space and sit down. Think of the goddess Brigid in all her many guises: powerful smith, watery healer, illuminating muse, preserved saint, forgotten goddess, fire, sun, land divine. When you feel her nearby, place your hands over your heart and say:

Most blessed Brigid,
Bright Arrow,
Arousing, swirling, teaching,
Direct my words and
Focus my art
To resonate your will
Beneath the sky, beneath the sea.
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
You inspire.

Most sacred Brigid,
Sudden flame,

Shaping, melding, purifying,
Forge my hands and
Guide my heart
To do your bidding
Beneath the sky, beneath the sea.
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
You transform.

Most honored Brigid,
Living light,
Calming, soothing, restoring,
Mend my wounds and
Allow your love
To shine through me
Beneath the sky, beneath the sea.
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
You heal.

Most blessed Brigid,
Living light,
Bright Arrow
Sudden flame,
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
Arise like a shining sun
And join me in my circle!

Brigid, goddess immortal, most blessed,
I light this candle
In fiery offering to you.

Light the large candle and take some time to gaze undisturbed into its flame. Feel its warmth and envision the goddess Brigid welcoming you with open arms. When you feel relaxed and open, put the two bowls of dirt in front of you and concetrate on the holiday Imbolc. When you feel ready, say:

Imbolc is a time to plant my seeds, to begn anew, forging ahead to create my own destiny. The Goddess, as young mother, protects and nurtures the God, just as the earth protects and nurtures the warming seeds in the ground. May she protect and nurture my inner seed, my inner growth, so that I may flourish in the beauty and vastness of spring. We are all flowers waiting in the gentle arms of the Mother for the soothing warmth of the equinox sun. We are all burgeoning power, waiting for our time to bloom.

Plunge your hands into one of the bowls of dirt. Feel the dirt between your fingers, warm and dry or cool and moist. Close your eyes and empty your stress, anxiety, concerns, and worries into the soil. Feel your old hurts and old impressions of self seep out of your heart, making their way into your long fingers. They move slowly but deliberately into the very tips of your fingers, and when you are ready, they release into the soil, freeing you from their self-destructive grip. When you have emptied yourself of the negative in your life, in your spirit, and in your soul, shake the dirt from your fingers. Hold your hands over the first bowl of dirt and cleanse them with water from the watering can. (You will have to do one at a time unless you are performing the celebration with a group.) Wipe your hands on the towel.

Pour the seeds into your hands, holding them tightly. Concentrate on the goal or ideal that you would like to bring into your life. Your goal is like these seeds, burgeoning with possibility, not quite sprouted but filled with the life force of the goddess Brigid. With your mouth pressed up tightly to the seeds, say:

By Brigid, goddess of the forge and transformation, I name thee (your goal or ideal).
By Brigid, goddess of the hearth and healing, I name thee (your goal or ideal).
By Brigid, goddess of bardraft and creativity, I name thee (your goal or ideal).

Blow lightly on the seeds, placing your energy and essence onto them, melding the two energies into one. Then, plant the seeds in the second bowl of dirt and water them with the watering can. Hold your hands over the newly planted seeds, and send them love and support. Be the Goddess to these seeds just as the goddess Brigid nurtures the seeds of your dreams.

Place some bread and butter and milk into your libation bowl as a sacrifice for Brigid and the four elemental trees. While you do this, state:

I honor Brigid and the Cherry, Rowan, Apple, and Holly Trees for sanctifying and sharing in this ceremony with me. I give you this sacrifice of my hands and my heart as a symbol of my love and connection to you.

Then eat and drink as much bread and butter and milk as you would like. When you have cleaned up the food and drink, concentrate once again on the goddess Brigid. Hold you hands out to her and say:

I thank you, Brigid, for your presence here in my circle,
For giving me warmth of heart and hearth.
As the sisters of old, I have honored you
In the traditional way.
May my love for you be felt through time and space,
Across the universe, upon the earth, and under the sea.
Although the light of this candle goes out,
I carry your flame in my breast.

Most blessed Brigid,
Living light,
Bright Arrow

Sudden blaze,
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
I guard your flame.

Blessed be.

Quench the fire of the large candle and then say:

I thank the Holly, Apple, Rowan, and Cherry Trees for their presence in my circle. May I forever learn from their generous gifts and hidden, secret knowledge. May their trunks grow tall and sturdy, and may they be honored for their nurturing, mature wisdom. May their presence be remembered and enjoyed for all time.

Hail to the Holly Tree, tree of courage and change. (Blow out the green candle.)

Hail to the Apple Tree, tree of love and generosity. (Blow out the blue candle.)

Hail to the Rowan Tree, tree of inspiration and healing. (Blow out the red candle.)

Hail to the Cherry Tree, tree of beauty and sacrifice.
(Blow out the yellow candle.)

I honor you. Blessed Be.

Return to the center of your sacred space and say:

My rite is ended. May I go with the peace and love of the Goddess in my heart. Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again!

Excerpted from Goddess Alive!, by Michelle Skye

About Michelle Skye

Michelle Skye (Massachusetts) is a Pagan Priestess with over ten years' experience following the Path of the Wise. An active member of the Wiccan and Pagan communities, she teaches classes, leads workshops, and has founded ...

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