Spring Festival Ritual by Silver RavenWolf
Imbolc, also known as Brigid's Day, Lupercus, Disting, Lupercalia, Brigantia, or Candlemas, is a festival that celebrates the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It often involves rituals symbolizing the awakening of the earth and the coming of spring. Traditionally, the holiday is celebrated on February 2nd. Astrologically, the festival occurs when the Sun is at 15 degrees Aquarius. When you choose to celebrate does make a difference, particularly if you are looking to harness the power of the day and the placement of the moon. For example, this year, if you follow the vibration of the astrological alignment, the spring festival would occur on February 4th at 3:30 AM EST, which places the moon in jolly, bouncy, fire-related Sagittarius, which matches the fire-festival function. If you look for the traditional timing (meaning when the preponderance of folks say this is the day to celebrate) (February 2nd), you are dealing with a more intense and passionate Scorpio moon. Here, you are introducing the water element, which also tunes with the event in relation to Brigid’s sacred wells and the power of healing. Regardless of your timing choice, the festival's primary focus is to celebrate new growth, change of the season (winter giving way), and rituals of purification of physical home, body, and mind. Both dates fall within the 4th quarter energy vibe, encouraging letting go of the old, the worn out, the depressing, and the darkness of the oppressions of winter.
I've found the celebration of our holidays to be most fulfilling if I embrace the bright, new energies a little each day of the week before the actual holiday. For example, clearing out the central area of the house one day, completing old projects that seem to ferociously cling to incompletion, preparing my altar on another day, etc. I've been doing small chores this year, such as clearing off a shelf, throwing away worn and torn clothes, and mainly concentrating on things I haven't used in over a year or more.
Symbols and energies surrounding the first spring festival can include candles, snowdrop flowers, milk, a plow, seeds, fire, oak, rowan, fire, the woven Brigit's Cross, cows, sheep, swans, healing work, the forge, poetry, and a doll-sized Brigid's Bed. Choose several symbols to decorate your altar. The process of Spring Cleaning is often a part of the days leading up to an Imbolc celebration. Pre-spring is also the time of bringing mind, body, and spirit into harmony with nature to throw off the negative energies we've accumulated since the closure of the heavy 2023 holiday season. The use of bells, tuning forks, and singing bowls to remove negativity might be a daily choice leading up to the festival I also embrace the creativity that comes with the changing of the seasons. Brigit’s Day is the first of the three spring festivals (Imbolgc, Spring Equinox, and May Day). Although most folks don’t pay too much attention to it, this first festival and what you do this day sparks the flavor of energy you will experience during the whole spring season.
Spring Festival Ritual
Milk, Bread, and Honey. A bowl of milk symbolizes nourishment and purity. Honey stands for the sweetness of life, and bread is associated with feeding the body and the coming growing season. These will be offerings to the nature spirits.
Flowers. Fresh flowers represent the first signs of spring. I chose white carnations.
Candles. Color choice is entirely up to you. I will be using my Harmony tea candles, which are blue. Or, you could use red and white taper candles to symbolize the dual nature of the festival - the end of winter (white) and the coming of spring (red). You choose the number of candles; however, you will be placing them in a circle, so you may wish to use at least 6. You will also want a single red or white taper to light at your ritual's opening.
Magick Oil – to dress candles, the oak leaves, and snowflakes. I used my Harmony Oil.
Incense. Your choice. You may wish to select cleansing aromas.
Ribbons, altar cloths, or other decorations in your chosen color. Arrange ribbons in a braided pattern at the base of the candles.
A Cup of Birdseed / garden seeds. Seeds symbolize the potential for growth and new beginnings. The birdseed will be given as an offering to nature. You can bless your garden seeds during this ritual. If so, place them in a separate basket. Bless a decorated white envelope if you don't have the money just yet to buy the seeds. When you buy your seeds later, place them in this blessed and decorated envelope until it is time to plant. A different version of this ritual can include decorating an empty envelope serving as a collection of wishes in the coming months. Bless the envelope in this ritual, and then add petitions later as they come to you. Burn them at Spring Equinox or Summer Solstice.
Oak Leaves and a Burn Cauldron (if you are not using a bonfire) represent strength and endurance. Leaves are best if collected from the woods, although you can use paper images as well. The cauldron should be made of fire-safe material.
General equipment such as candle holders, a lighter, pen/marker, etc.
Lengths of Ivy For Protection in the coming year. You can place the cut ends in water and root them outside when the temperatures are warmer.
Paper Snowflakes – one snowflake per wish
A glass of Water – for the Spirits
A Favorite Poem that speaks to your heart
If you work outdoors, you may want to light the traditional bonfire.
Sprinkle salt on your altar and brush off with your hand or a small broom. This is to cleanse the surface before your ritual. Place a dot of Harmony Oil in the center of the altar. See this point as a vortex of power and growth. Your ritual will “grow” from the center, outward. Arrange the candles in a circle on your altar, alternating between red and white. Place the bowl of milk, plate of bread, cup of birdseed, and a small amount of honey at the center. Scatter flowers around the space. Place the glass of water dedicated to the spirits on the altar but where you won't knock it over. Add any other symbols to your altar set-up that you've chosen to represent the season and your intentions, such as the ribbon, ivy, etc. Bless all items as they are added to your altar. Light the incense and waft the smoke over all items. Have the oak leaves, cauldron, snowflakes, and pen close at hand.
Begin by taking several deep breaths, grounding yourself and connecting with the energies of the earth. If you are outside, light the bonfire. If you are inside, light a white or red candle, symbolizing the returning warmth and light. As the flame grows, grow with it, encouraging your spirit to touch the light of joy and happiness; shrug off worry, fear, and unhappiness, continuing to concentrate on the light. Welcome the sweetness of spring. Let the energy birth and new beginnings swirl around you.
Hold the representations of the oak leaves in your hands. Express gratitude for the strength and courage you have received this past winter. Using the marker, write on some of the leaves what you are grateful for. On others, write anything you wish to banish from your life. Burn the leaves by saying, "I banish ___________ from my life." Or "I am grateful for ___________ and celebrate the joy I received." My suggestion would be to banish first, then celebrate second.
Circle of Candles
One by one, light the candles clockwise. As you light each candle, call out positive energy such as "Joy," "Compassion," "Love," etc.
Write your wishes for the spring season on the paper snowflakes. Make sure your intention is clear. Attach a positive image to each snowflake. Burn the snowflakes as you did the leaves, calling out your wish as each piece of paper burns.
Bless the Seeds
Bless the birdseed, asking for healing and love for all of nature. Bless the seeds going into your garden this year or the decorated envelope discussed in the supplies section.
Poetry and Meditation
Read your favorite poem, allowing your breath to spill over the altar and the central offerings. Take your time. Feel the words. Delight in the joy of the cadence and the words. Take a moment to meditate on the changing seasons, visualizing the thawing of the winter and the emergence of new life.
If you can, Take your offerings outside. Pour the milk and honey onto the earth as an offering to the land and nature. Scatter the bird seed and place the bread on the ground. You can also offer the flowers used in ritual. Pour the water to the spirits on the ground as well.
Allow the candles to burn completely. As you begin to clear off your altar, express gratitude for the season's blessings. Throw the cold ends in the trash and the ashes from the burned paper.
Remember, rituals are super personal, and you can adapt them to suit your preferences and beliefs for your most fulfilling experience. Always prioritize safety, especially when working with fire.
Candles and oils for your spring rituals can be purchased from my whispermagick.com shop. Be sure to visit!