Simple Imbolc Celebration and Magic

Cover high resHere is an extract from my upcoming book, “The Hedge Druid’s Craft“, which is another introductory Pagan Portals book and is now available for pre-order.

Imbolc

Imbolc is a gentle festival, where we honour the first signs of Spring after a long winter. It has long been dedicated to the goddess Brighid who has associations with fire and water. Allow this time of year to fill your soul, the air still cold but the warmth of the light from the strengthening sun inspiring you to go out into the worlds and do the work that you have to do. You can light a candle to dedicate yourself at this time to your work, having spent the winter months thinking long and deeply about it. Now is the time to state your intention clearly. You can carve words or symbols into the candle that represent your work, and strew herbs around it to lend their energies (see A Basic Candle Spell below). As you light the candle, state your intention clearly, calling upon the ancestors and the Fair Folk, the gods and goddesses to bear witness. This is not an oath to be made lightly.

Meditate upon the candle’s flame for as long as you wish. Then take a bowl of spring water and anoint yourself with it. I like to collect water from Chalice Well and the White Spring in Glastonbury every time I visit, and I use this special, holy water for use in rituals and in spellcraft. You can draw the shape of a crescent moon upon your brow with the water, or place any other symbols which have meaning to you upon your body. It is also a good time for healing work, and anointing yourself with sacred water on areas of your body that need healing can kick-start the process (as well as following good medical and spiritual advice).

A Basic Candle Spell

Take a candle of an appropriate colour to use in your work. As a very basic guide, red is for love and passion, pink for emotions, blue for healing, green for the environment, brown for animals, yellow for inspiration, purple for magical strength, black for release of negativity. White candles are used for purification, as well as can be used to replace any other colour that you may not be able to obtain.

Sit with your candle and meditate upon the work that you wish to achieve. Then, stating your intention clearly, pour your energy into the candle. Allow energy to flow from your hands into the candle. When you have poured enough into the candle, you can then add more strength to it by carving words or symbols into it, still holding your intention. Then, place the candle it a holder and light it with a match. As you strike the match, keep your intention in your mind, and as you bring the match to the candle’s wick, visualise the power of fire igniting your work. Sit before the candle and meditate upon the flame, still holding your visualisation of the end result of your spellwork coming to fruition. You can add herbs around the base of the candle, if you so wish, to allow them to add their magical energy to your work. You can infuse the herbs with your intention and energy in exactly the same way as you did the candle. See with your mind’s eye a cone of power rising from the herbs around the candle, blending with the candle’s flame and sending the power out into the world.

Beltane – welcoming the summer

Beltane – the fire festival celebrating the arrival of summer. All throughout the UK, last night and today Pagans and non-Pagans alike are joining in the festivities of this special time of the year, with Morris dancing and bonfires, Maypoles and feasting.  A long weekend awaits us with a bank holiday Monday, where many pubs will host barbeques and hog roasts, entertainment and more.

After a very long winter, this festival is most welcome.  At Imbolc and the Spring Equionox, we quietly ushered in the lengthening days, the gradual shift towards the summer solstice, noticing the ever changing cycles around us.  Now it is a time for the first of what I deem the “louder” festivals of summer, where drumming and dancing and cavorting are done with abandon.

Here where I live in Suffolk, it’s not quite time however.  I prefer to celebrate Beltane when the May is out; when the hawthorn flowers in the softest shades of pink-tinged white.  It will be another week or two yet before these blossoms begin the scent the hedgerows, and bring with them that sense of a definitive coming of summer.

For me, Beltane is also a time when it is finally warm enough to stay outside comfortably, to sit in meditation or to make love under the dappled light of the sun beneath the tender new canopy of leaves deep within the forest.  The Goddess is still waking up, slowly, soon to dance freely with the Lord of the Wildwood. It is not yet time to awaken her fully with shouts and drumming and the ecstatic pleasure of ritual love-making – not quite yet.

I can feel the anticipation growing inside me, as I long to reach out towards the sunlight and stretch my soul into the warm air, or to dance in the summer rain.  It is coming, it is coming…