In searching the furthest reaches of ancient human history, you’ll learn that Imbolc, the great celebration of spring, is one of the oldest known events. As the ice of winter was replaced by the first greenery, and the sun returned to grace the lands, confidence grew and people start venturing outdoors once again. Great celebrations took place, with purification rituals being in the center.
A Celtic tradition, Imbolc marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. In modern times, we celebrate it on February 1st. The Goddess Brigid, one of the most powerful of all Celtic Goddesses, was the central figure of all Imbolc celebrations. She is the Goddess of spring, fertility, poetry, divination, inspiration, childbirth, pregnancy, healing. wisdom, blacksmithing and farm animals. Her following was so strong, that during the Christianization period of ancient Europe, the church created one of their many duality tales. As with so many other examples of churchwashing, they invented a tale, claiming Brigid was actually a living person, tied to the foundation of an ancient monastery. This imaginary woman was later elevated to sainthood, complete with a feast and all the trimmings. However, anyone with five minutes and an internet connection can see the similarities to the ancient Goddess are just too great.
This Imbolc ritual breaks from tradition, instead focusing entirely on a elemental-based purification ritual. The singular goal as we step into spring, is to do so with focus, intent, and being true to ourselves, no matter what that inner truth might be. There is no right or wrong in the higher spheres of consciousness, only individual truth.
Preparations for this Imbolc Purification Ritual
This ritual can be enjoyed in any setting, however understanding it is a celebration of spring, being outdoors is appropriate.
Quarter candles, if you wish, in yellow, red, green, and blue
A Large White Goddess Candle (a three wick one, if you want to enhance the maiden, mother, crone, aspect of the Goddess)
A Large Gold or Yellow Candle, to represent the returning sun
A goblet, cup, or ceremonial drinking vessel
Sacred Water, from a sacred well, moon water, blessed water, or from a significant water source
Sacred Soil, from a farm, garden, or other area where food or herbs have been grown
Sacred Ash, from a ritual circle, hearth fire, or yule log
Sacred Smoke, use white sage, Palo Santo wood, mullein, or your own herbal bundle
Casting Your Imbolc Circle – Invoking the Goddess
This circle round, from sky to ground, sacred night, sacred sight – I cast this space, our meeting place, all are welcome, all are safe. In each direction, our spiritual connections, come one, come all, now hear our call!
Air from the east! We call into the wind our message of welcome! Join us in our celebration of Spring and the rebirth of the land. Bring with you the whispers of hope and the words of the ancestors, to comfort and guide!
Fire from the south! We look through the flame, seeking your entrance! Come, gather amongst us as we welcome the return of the sun and the share in the rewards of the faithful!
Water from the west! We dive into the pools, cleansing our bodies! Take you place in this circle, bring forth the power of the mighty oceans and the calmness of a still pond, and the enduring strength they show!
Earth from the north! We plunge our tools into the rich soil, opening the portal! Emerge from your time of dormancy, give your protection to the new life which springs upward towards the light!
The Return of the Sun
With the sun, comes life itself. Of all things in the universe, both known and not yet understood, the sun is the great unifier. We are thankful for the heat, the light, and the comfort that we find in the golden rays. On this day of Imbolc, we celebrate it’s return. We light a symbolic candle of gold on our altar as a constant reminder of the importance the sun has in all aspects of our lives.
The Goddess Brigid
Blessed are the faithful. Blessed are those who honor the old ways. As we gather to celebrate Imbolc, we invoke the Goddess Brigid, to join us in a ritual of purification and sharing of blessings, stories, and magick. Although the snow still lingers on the frozen ground, the first indications of spring are already showing themselves. Birds are once again flying through the air. Tiny buds are swollen, ready to burst forth into a beautiful green. The days grow in length, and the deepest chill of winter has been banished for another year. The great hibernation of humankind is ending and across the land, people are preparing to once again coax life from the rich soil. On this night we take time to offer our appreciation to the Goddess for safeguarding us through the long winter and ask for continued protection as we venture into the spring.
Spring, like the rising sun, symbolizes a new beginning. A fresh start. It is why we celebrate Imbolc. to remind us that nothing is permanent. Yet, even with great intention, human beings are easily distracted. We all0w ourselves to slip into behaviors that aren’t in our best interest or do more harm than good. We get dirty and need to be cleansed.
Throughout history, humans have been pulled by an unseen force, to purify themselves. Pollution, whether in the form of physical soiling, or spiritual clutter, is everywhere. Despite our best efforts, we cannot escape from it’s grasp. Yet, we are eternally hopeful, and engage in cleansing rituals to free ourselves from the clutter. In the process, we also take time to self-reflect on out behaviors, our associations, our activities, and especially our feelings. Often, in the period immediately following purification, we have enhanced sensory experiences. We see things for what they are, and instead of allowing them to control us, we wrest control from them. Our vision becomes clear and we evaluate things based on their merits, rather than the false expectations of others. It is a real awakening, not a crusade nor a virtue signal, but a real unbiased ascension to a higher vibrational plain.
As we take these critical steps throughout our spiritual growth, the pollution of life has less and less of an impact on us. We are able to dodge the slings and arrows that are constantly being hurled from the lower vibrational plains. Our focus is improved. Our vision clearer. And most importantly, our depth of thinking grows broader and we have time to focus on the complexities of life.
Throughout our lives, we learn the many lessons of the elements. We open and close our rituals, paying honor to the great spirits of air, fire, water, and earth. These are the four pillars of our existence. Without any one of them, the other three would not matter. They are separate, but unified in preserving life as we know it.
Cleansing Your Aura
For many centuries, sacred smoke has been used as a tool to rid the body of physical pollutants. In the modern day, the need is much greater than the past, for our environment has become toxic. The winds carry messages of hope and spirit away that which we choose to expunge from our lives. Yet, they also have become laden with the dust of destruction, negative and hurtful voices, and the cries of the persecuted. Before we cleanse our inner selves, we must purify the air around us. We must bathe in the sacred smoke and allow it to wash over our bodies, connecting with it, sharing our intention of renewal, as it wafts around our flesh.
Enter into the cleansing smoke. Reach for it, and pull it towards you. Lift your limbs, raise your chin and look skyward as it fills your space.
Surrender yourself to the healing intention of the smoke. Welcome the power of the great spirits of air into your aura, and invite them to remain at your side for all of your days. Release the negativity and allow the wind to whisk it into the great beyond.
Directing Your Inner Flame
Fire, the great icon of destruction, has been used as a tool for evil and and good throughout the existence of humankind. Those who understand the flames, understand the great duality that lives in each of us. Just as fire can burn away the things which no longer serve us, it can burn away the things that are the most dear to us. Our voice can sing words of love but also shout slogans of hatred. Our hands can build monuments, or tear down mountains. All things have two sides. One side light, the other dark. And yes, there is a middle, but very few find are able to stand upon that sharp point, before slipping to one side or the other.
Our inner flame is what compels us to choose a side. It does not give counsel to right or wrong, only to what serves our individual greater purpose and feeds the highest version of our existence.
The ash represents symbolically, what the eventual outcome of the test of fire will become. Whether we burn away negativity or burn to grow in power or influence, the outcome still produces ash. Now focus your intention on how you wish to direct your inner flame and mark yourself with the ash. The element of fire shall serve you as you wish it to. Burn away the obstacles blocking your path.
Purging With Power
Water has an endless cleansing energy. Even when still, it is constantly in motion. Water teaches us the great lessons of flexibility and adaptation. When something blocks it’s path, water goes around it, through it, or over it. All the while, continuously eroding it, until the blockage no longer exists. In winter it freezes, in great heat it becomes vapor, and when no extreme exists, it present s as a liquid. Despite its many physical faces, it remains unchanged structurally. Forever enduring, water symbolizes the truth we all hold within our souls.
Water connects us and binds the world together. It washes away darkness and negativity, but like water, can also wash away happiness and joy. It is our decision on how to use it. We charge it in the moonlight to add power to our spells. We source it from ancient wells and springs, as it carries mystical energies from deep within the earth. We say prayers over it, and deem it holy or sacred.
So much power, water is a willing conduit for anything and everything. Drink heartily, let your chosen water mingle with your very inner being, carrying away the things you wish to expunge, and strengthening the resolve of those things that give you purpose.
Purifying Your Intentions
Earth, our great home is best symbolized by soil. It is the building block of agriculture. It holds the nutrients necessary for plant life. It embodies fertility and new life. It is also symbiotic with humankind. When we take care of it, it in return takes care of us. Should we poison the soil, then our plants wither and our yields disappear. We give and we get, but if we take without giving, the source dries up. Our spiritual bodies are much the same. When we feed our soul with the things that help us grow, we are lifted upward. And consequently, when we pollute our mind with garbage, we are pulled down in a great and dark abyss.
We use soil to purify our intentions. Moreover, we use soil like currency, to pay it forward. With the right inputs in the spring, we see a bountiful harvest in the fall. When we focus on learning, understanding, and staying true to ourselves, we see true growth. It might not be an immediate growth, but as history tells us, all things of value, take time to gestate and grow.
We place soil beneath our feet to ground us, to connect us to the energy from within the earth, and to open the channel between our intention and the results we await. The soil does not make us dirty, it energizes us, it empowers us, and it connects us to the great cycle of existence.
Closing the Imbolc Circle
As we bring this ritual to a close, we leave ready to receive. The elements have provided us with a complete purification in all aspects. Now is the time for growth.
What is given freely will be rewarded in the future. Shared energy is a reward for both the giver and the receiver. The spirits of the Earth do not pick winners and losers, they serve those who honor them.
The truth of our inner being can be disguised, but never actually changes. No obstacle is forever. The spirits of water are not light or dark, they carry away the things we ask them to.
All things eventually are reduced to their simplest form. The sprits of fire can be harnessed, but never truly controlled by anyone. Choose what you burn wisely, for ash is permanent.
Not all power can be seen with the naked eye. Listen more than you speak, and hear more than you say. The spirits of air can carry you to the highest of highs, but also drive you to the lowest of lows, the decision rests solely in your hands.
Great Goddess Brigid, in order to truly understand your wisdom, we must first understand ourselves. As we celebrate the coming of spring and new life, we also celebrate a wellspring of new spiritual growth within. Protect us as we take the steps to become better versions of ourselves and we shall honor you as we progress. Our gratitude is endless. Our thanks infinite. As we depart, our thoughts are never far from the many blessings you provide.
This Imbolc circle is open!