The weeks leading up to Imbolc are perhaps some of my most favourite in the year. While the Northern Hemisphere may still be in the grips of winter, everywhere you look there are signs that the Earth is beginning to stir and awaken from sleep.
Imbolc is a time of new beginnings, new life, and new birth. And it begins with the Earth itself.
The first week after Yule the earth continues to be shrouded in long nights. Where I live, the sun begins to set before 4pm in winter, and doesn’t fully rise again until close to 8am. Gradually though, from mid- January I begin to notice that the sun is staying up just a bit longer in the afternoons, and rising a bit earlier in the morning. Instead of turning my lights on at 3:30, I can leave them off until 4:30. Instead of leaving the house in total darkness at 7am, I notice the faint glimmer of sunrise to the East.
This week, I saw the second sign of the Earth’s stirrings. Peeping up from the ground can now be seen the shoots of crocuses and primroses. These earliest flowers bloom in February, and for me it is their arrival which signals the arrival of Imbolc. We may yet have snow this season, but even that doesn’t keep these precious blooms from coming. They push up through the snow to display their colourful flowers on a background of white. Winter is not yet over, spring is not yet come, but there is a promise of new beginnings which can be seen and felt.
It is not just plants that are awakened at Imbolc. In people too there is a restlessness, and urge to break out and grow, to push past that which is holding us down so that we can display our worth and beauty.
This is an ideal time of year for doing initiations, and also for doing work focused on new projects and new endeavours. Over time this has been somewhat pushed back into New Year’s Day at the beginning of January, but in some ways I feel that the promises and resolutions we make at the New Year when the promise of the Earth’s re-awakening is not yet felt, become part of those old and dying things which we discard in the dead of Winter. Far better to make these vows and begin these new endeavours at Imbolc.
If the promises you made at Yule/New Year’s Day seem far away and your enthusiasm is beginning to wane, why not use this season of awakening and new life to re-make those resolutions.
Here is a very simple bit of spell work that you can use to breathe life into your upcoming projects.
You will need a pot of soil (or compost) and some seeds. I suggest a lovely flower from a bulb. That way you’ll have something to hold in your hands and really focus on for the next part.
Place the pot and the seeds on your altar and create a circle (or not) as you usually do. Focus your energy first on what it is you want to accomplish in this upcoming growing season. What do you want to grow in your own life? It may help to write things down on paper.
Once you have in mind what it is you wish to grow, hold the seed in your hands and focus your intentions into it. Speak your intentions either out loud or in your mind. If you wish, you can assign a specific project to individual seeds.
Now hold the pot of soil in your hands and focus what it is that *you* need to do in order to bring these projects into being. It’s all well and good to say you are going to learn how to dance, become healthier, read 10 books, complete a course, or what have you. If you don’t actually go to dance classes, eat healthy foods and exercise (however that is defined for you), pick up a book, or do the coursework, your seeds will be trying to grow on barren soil.
Having focused your intentions and your desires fully, take any bits of paper you may have written on and bury those deep within the pot of soil.
Speak your desire into each seed and push it into the soil to plant it. Cover it over and water it.
Keep your seed and pot in a protected environment. Nurture and water it over the coming weeks. As the seed grows, so too will the things you are growing in your life.