Saturday, August 1, 2009


The 31st of July is Imbolc in the southern hemisphere. It is the time when we start to notice the changes that began at mid-winter: the days are starting to get longer, the weather is warmer and all that lives is starting to sing with the promise that spring will soon be upon us.

The word Imbolc means 'in milk' in reference to the lactation of ewes that commences around this time. This sabbat has been known by many names, including Anagantios, Candelaria, Candlemas, Disting-tid, Feast Day of St. Blaize, Feast of Brigid, Feast of the Virgin, Festival of Light, Festival of Milk, Imbolg, Oimealg (Druidic) and St. Bridget’s Day.

Some of the themes and symbols associated with Imbolc are Besoms, Brides, Brighid's Crosses, Candle Wheels, Candles, Dispensing of the old and making way for the new, Fertility, First signs of returning life, Growth, Ploughs, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), Purity, Renewal, Re-Union of the Goddess and the God and White Flowers.

The colours of Imbolc are all around us - brown, green, pink, red, silver, white and yellow.

We are well before the first harvest but the changes in the available food is still significant at Imbolc. Some of the foods associated with this time of year are dairy products, garlic, herbal teas, honey, lamb, milk, muffins, onions, peppers, poppyseed cakes, pork, poultry, pumpkin seeds, raisins, scones and breads, spiced wines and sunflower seeds.

There are a wide range of flowers, herbs and incense that are appropriate for Imbolc, such as angelica, basil, bay, benzoine, blackberry, celandine, cinnamon, clover, coltsfoot, dill, evergreen, heather, iris, laurel, myrrh, rosemary, tansy, vanilla, violets, willow and wisteria.

Celebrations at Imbolc are often focused on Brigid (also spelt Bridget, Brigit, Brighid or Bride) who is honoured as the Goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft, although many sources also refer to her as the Goddess of fire (the forge and the hearth), childbirth, peace and unity, song, physicians, divination and prophecy, light (knowledge), inspiration, creativity and fertility. In Christianity she is revered as a Saint.

Whether you celebrate Imbolc or not, this is a wonderful time to clear away the dust of the confines of winter and clear out your house, your mind and your spirit. It is a time of initiations and beginnings so reflection and celebration of this sabbat aligns with these aspirations beautifully.

Whatever you chose to do this Imbolc, my wish for you is that you are taking action to fulfil your dreams. Imbolc blessings to all.

Spell for Dealing with Painful Contact from the Past

This is a spell that I wrote last year following a request from my sister who had been contacted on Facebook by an old friend. She'd had a pretty traumatic friendship with this person in her teenage years and the contact message she received brought up a lot of painful memories. She admitted to having a kind of morbid curiosity to find out what this other person had been doing but didn't know if she wanted to open the old wounds any further. After my sister performed this spell, she said it gave her the peace and clarity to decide what she would do, to wish the other person well and to then move on.

You Will Need:

  • Malachite (cleansed before use)
  • Lavender (can be the flower from a real sprig of lavender or lavender essential oil, lavender bath/beauty product etc infused on a piece of cloth or whatever you have handy)
  • Small bag/pouch (only needs to be big enough to put your malachite and lavender in)
  • Three candles - one red, one white and one green (birthday candles are ideal as the spell calls for you to burn each one in turn and wait until they burn out)
  • Lighter
Performing the Spell:

Sit comfortably.

Place the candles in front of you with the red candle on the left, the white candle in the middle and the green candle on the right.

Hold the bag, lavender and malachite in your hands.

Ground and centre.

A message from the past received
From one whose words I once believed
Now knowing how I was deceived
When all the tangled webs were weaved
While I’m strong I’m still unsure
How deep the scars that I endure
But my intentions here are ever pure
To find a place where I'm secure
So bring me love and bring me light
Through these words as I recite
Set boundaries with what I invite
And protection onwards from this night

Place the bag in front of the red candle and say:

This bag will hold all that I need to carry away with me tonight.

Place the lavender in front of the white candle and say:

With lavender I will find love, peace and healing.

Place the malachite in front of the green candle and say:

With malachite I am protected.

Focus on the red candle and say:

This candle symbolises the pain of my past relationship with .

Break the red candle in half, return the upper half to the candle holder and place the bottom half next to it. Light the upper half of the red candle and say:

As this candle burns and melts away, so, too, do the painful memories of this time. It was my choice to hold on to these memories and in this flame I choose to release them.

Focus on the flame of the red candle and recall past hurts, humiliation, regret, hatred and all negative feelings and experiences with this person. Allow them to surface but to only exist within the flickering of the flame like you are watching them from afar and they are separate to who you are.

Once the red candle has burnt out, light the white candle and say:

This candle symbolises purity and healing. In the light of its flame I will accept the full enormity of my own self worth and will be able to see the where the past was a reflection on others, not on myself. I will understand that I am responsible for my own actions and not those of other people. I will accept that my experiences may have been a result of the pain and self doubt of others and choose for their only impact on me to be that of knowledge and understanding of the human spirit and of my own personal strengths. I will have the grace to wish well for others and through this I will be healed myself.

Focus on the flame of the white candle and feel pure love and healing.

Once the white candle has burnt out, light the green candle and say:

This candle symbolises protection and my own strengths. In the light of its flame I will be reminded of my resilience and all that I have overcome. Through this knowledge I will be protected from the negative affects of others actions, past, present and future.

Once the green candle has burnt out, pick up the bag and say:

This is what I carry

Place the lavender in the bag and say:

This is healing

Place the malachite in the bag and say:

This is protection. Blessed be.

If possible, leave the candles where they are until the next morning.

Carry the bag with you until you take the required action or until you definitively decide that you do not need to take any action at all. After that, place the lavender in the garden, cleanse the malachite and leave the bag out on the night of the full moon to cleanse it after which time it can be used again if needed.