Imbolc: simple practices for finding rest & restoration in deep winter

 

Imbolc: February 1-2

Imbolc is one of four cross-quarter days, meaning it is a halfway point between a solstice and an equinox (or vice versa). A solstice or equinox marks the beginning of a season, so every cross-quarter day is when we’re right in the middle of the season. (Wanna nerd out on the Celtic history and traditions of Imbolc? Read more here)

Winter can be hard for a lot of us. We might feel stuck in the chilly, long darkness of winter and we’re holding out for the hopes of spring around the corner. January comes with a lot of high hopes for a fresh start, but it's often dreary, isolating, and somewhat forlorn after the lights, festivities, and frantic chaos of December.  Halfway through the winter, the days are getting longer, spring is just over the horizon. 

Winter is generally not the time to hit the ground running or go full throttle. Not yet. 

The seeds we may be planting now, metaphorically or literally, are still in the dark and preparing for emergence.

It is a time for faith. It’s also a time when we might feel the need for some deep self care both internally and externally. 


Rituals

MeditationWe usually start a ritual with a meditation to help us transition into the right headspace and focus our intentions. Here is an Imbolc themed meditation that I found on Insight Timer that I enjoyed.

Imbolc Meditation 


Take a milk bath. Making a hand soak or a foot soak in a bowl works wonders if you don’t have a satisfyingly large bathtub, and it's easier to do as a group. This year I found a very convenient milk bath bubble mix at the grocery store. I also grabbed moisturizing sheet masks from the store and made it a spa day.

Eat nourishing food. Traditional foods include eggs, dairy, bread and seeds, so a celebratory brunch is very much on brand. If you’re celebrating in the evening and don’t feel like doing a breakfast-for-dinner situation, a creamy potato soup with hearty bread would be perfect. My circle ordered delivery pho and the hot broth and veggies made for a delicious and super comforting meal. 

Journal your intentions. Think of it as planning your garden. What seeds do you want to plant and nurture, what supportive habits can you begin to cultivate in the smallest ways right now in order to see the yield in the summer?

This year we wrote our intentions and desires for the coming year on Flying Wish Paper. It's super thrilling to light the paper on fire and watch it fly up into the air!

I always incorporate candles, crystals, and flowers. I love foraging in any season for decorations, but since it is super early for flowers you might need to purchase some. Good colors to incorporate are white and red, but if you’re lucky enough to have daffodils or snowdrops available to cut from outside, cut some and bring them in! Also include any colors that feel like springtime and growth, or colors that represent what you want to call in.

In whatever ways you decide to celebrate Imbolc, find any practice that feels supportive, restful, and nourishing to your mind, body, and spirit. Celebrating isn’t about doing what’s traditional or prescribed, it is about finding practices that serve you.  

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