Friday, February 1, 2013

The Spring Festivals of Imbolc

This entry is from Jose Prado, thank you Jose for another most interesting entry in the Paranormal Corner. Note even though this entry contains instruction for a spell The Paranormal Corner do not endorse uses of spells and are hear by not responsible for any effects or use of the instructions in this entry.

The ancient Celts (peoples of Scotland, Ireland, and even some parts of England and the Iberian Peninsula) believed the year and seasons (like all things) existed as a Circle. A Cycle of life and death with no end similar to to the Gnostic concept of the Ouroboros, the serpent who devours his own tail. The Celtic wheel of the year is symbolized by the eight armed sun cross, a symbol sacred to many cultures from Native Americans, Norse peoples, to Gypsies. In fact the Gypsy flag is an eight armed carriage wheel representing their caravans from times past when they (as well as other mystic nomads like the Irish Tinkers) used them for travel.

Currently we fall under Imbolc, the Celtic spring festival. Now, the day changes by year based on atmospheric conditions, but many modern Pagans who do not have time (or in my case, lack the skill) to determine the proper conditions for when to celebrate this feast choose the designated St. Brighid's day (February 1st). St. Brighid is the Christian name of the Goddess who's original names some say were Brigantia (the most high) and Briganti, an ancient Goddess worshipped by the Celts and Gauls (ancient French peoples) and eventually adopted by the Romans.

The word Imbolc is old Gaelic for "in the belly" the season when various animals including the Ewes became Pregnant. In our Cosmology, this is because the Horned Lord (the God force, creator of all) and his wife the Radient Lady (The Goddess, Creatrix of all) mate and upon Imbolc gives birth to Spring. Similar to the idea of the New Year being symbolized by a new born baby. This is where it comes from. Many have tried to synchronize the Horned Lord with Kerrunos or Pan, the Radiant One with Persephone or Brighid but in reality we don't know much about them.

Though future advances in Archaeology and Anthropology could yield fruit in the days to come. And if that fails we have no shortage of Re- constructionists who zealously attempt the recreation of the Old Religion. While Imbolc is popular among Celtic oriented Pagans, one can find various Spring holidays dedicated to many Deities other than Brighid.

The Norse Goddess, Idun and the Greco-Roman Goddess Persephone. Not to mention (we must not leave out) the male aspect to the season such as the Kemetan (ancient Egyptian) God Khepri who brings about renewal and rebirth , or Leshi the Slavic God of nature from the Ukraine. The Eastern European version of the Green Man. One needs both the male and female aspects of nature to understand and correctly channel the energies of this day.

This is also the time to say farewell to the dead as Samhain (sow-en) and Yule (the Winter Solstice) are now over and it is time for the dead to rest and return to their own realm for us to move on with our lives. It is because off this, that doing a little spiritual spring cleaning (as well as the physical variety) is in order. Remove all you find that you do not use and has no sentimental value to you. Which includes former ways of thinking and old energies you no longer need.

This is where spring cleaning comes from. So get out a trash bag and be sure to throw out anything that can not be used or recycled or donate it to charity. By doing so you are clearing yourself of old, unwanted energy. Just be sure to ring a bell nine times over it or pass it through incense smoke (if it's cloths, wash it) to loose the old energy up and make it nice and clean before giving it to someone else. You do not want to give someone bad or stale energy.

Once you've done that now is the time to clean your home which includes moping and sweeping the floors. In magical tradition, Pagans would use enchanted besom brooms and use them to clear out negative forces. The fact that they were once made with stalks of Lithe only made them stronger. After sweeping the negativity out of your home it's time to mop the floors with a consecrated liquid. In Hoodoo (the folk magick of Voodoo) we use a variety of different potions or plant extracts. The most used is called Chinese Floor Wash and will cleanse and bless the area. Another option is holy water mixed with sea salt, lavender, and white flower petals.

Then to purify the air one must light either a stick of Uncrossing incense or Frankincense-Myrrh to banish the old energy and bring in good energy. Now you are ready to perform your ritual for Spring. The following ritual can be applied to any religion. Mine (since I am Gnostic) combines Celtic religion with Vodoun religion. I see all faiths as one so I don't need some fanatic coming in to annoy me with their Gospel of what they were raised or taught to believe 'genuine' Celtic or Vodoun practices are. This also contains Witchcraft so you will be practicing magick from both religions.

If you are a male, use only female Deities because as a man one have the energy of Gods inside. But women doing this should only call on Gods since they have Goddess energy in them. You can either call on the Cailleach Bheur (old blue lady) or Maman Brigitte to send away the old energy. The Cailleach is the old Crone Goddess of Europe, Maman Brigette is the Goddess of Healing and Death. Wife of the Cemetery God, Baron Samedi (or Ghede). You can also either call on Brighid or Asherah (the Canaanite nature Goddess, feminine aspect of God) or whoever you like to work with in general.

Ingredients : Mortar & Pestle, Crossroads dirt, a white votive candle, Frankincense-Myrrh for the Cailleach and Rose scented incense for Brighid on a white oil burner.

Instructions : Write down what you want to manifest on a piece of paper and with Brighid's candle burn it and send it to the Universe to manifest. Ask the Cailleach Bheur to remove the old, unneeded things from your life while Brighid brings in the new.

Place Crossroads dirt in a Mortar to banish it. The Mortar will represent the womb of the Goddess and the Pestle laid across it the God, to seal it all away.The Crossroads dirt acts as a gateway to banish the old and seal the door closed (based on intent) so that nothing comes back, while the white candle ushers in the positive energy of that which is new to fill in the void.

An easier, less ceremonial way would be to write a letter to the Universe asking what you want it to manifest and what you want it to get rid of and burn it on midnight before Imbolc or at 1:11 am (111 in numerology carries the power to manifest). Plus the Archangel Metatron rules over Thursday and holds the power to manifest thoughts into reality so you can go ahead and ask him in prayer to help you out with this.

Have fun and although this is solitary ritual, you can easily use it for a larger gathering of Witches or even just to be with friends or make merry.



  1. Thanks for this info :)

  2. I love that the universe continues to answer my question about the mid point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Great article with more info than I'd previously come across. Thank you.