Holidays

What is Imbolc? Goddesses, History, and How to Celebrate

Imbolc is an ancient Pagan holiday based on Celtic traditions; it marks the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland. This is the time of year when we start to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring. 

In today’s modern world, we are far removed from the hardships of Winter, compared to our ancestors who lived thousands of years ago. At this point in the year, people have been hunkered down inside for months, living off root vegetables, salted meat, and what little they could fish or hunt. Their sheep, who naturally tend to breed in Autumn, are ready to give birth right around Imbolc. The ewe’s milk flows for the first time all Winter, and fresh milk and cheese were the first signs that Spring is about to arrive. Imbolc was a time to celebrate the coming of brighter days, surviving the harsh Winter, and planning for the year’s sowing season.

Being mindful of the natural energies, the ebbs and flows of the year, can help us stay connected to the elements, the season and the earth. Ancient Pagans followed the Wheel of the Year, eight Sabbats consisting of four solstice festivals, and four fire festivals.

All about Brighid (Brigid)

On Imbolc, ancestors in Ireland and Scotland particularly, honored the Goddess Brighid. Brighid can take on any appearance she wants, young or old, human or snake. She is a Triple Celtic Goddess, the embodiment of the child, the maiden and the crone. She is the Goddess of the Eternal Flame, the trinity also represents three types of fire: hearth fire, forge fire, and the fire to create and transform. She is also known as the Goddess of the Sacred Well, protecting healing waters. Brighid was the patron of poets, healers, and magicians.   

Brighid (Brigid) Imbolc

Imbolc Correspondence for the Modern Witch

Foods associated with Imbolc are milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese (and nondairy alternatives will do just fine). This is the time to savor creamy soups, spring onions, leeks, potatoes, and Irish Soda Bread. Oils associated with Imbolc are spruce and fir, cinnamon, rosemary, patchouli, jasmine, and vanilla. Colors are white, light blue, and light pink. 

Imbolc is sometimes referred to as Candlemas, and a common practice is to make and bless candles. You can make corn dollies or Brighid’s Cross out of any kind of grass or hay you have available. 

Ceromancy, or candlewax divination, is a great way to connect with the magic of the season. Imagine a goal you are working towards, a seed you wish to plant. Really meditate on this goal, and develop a question with a yes or no answer. Use a paper plate and draw a line down the middle. Label on side yes, the other no. Light a small spell candle or tealight. Journal about your vision or meditate more (while supervising the candle). When it has burned all the way down, observe which side of the plate collected the most wax. That is your answer!

Imbolc Spell Kit

4 Ways to learn more about Imbolc

  1. Listen to my Imbolc playlist on Spotify, with seasonal songs and podcasts
  2. Check out my Imbolc board on Pinterest for more ideas
  3. Order an Imbolc Spell Kit from my Etsy Shop (pictured above)
  4. Join me for a magic workshop:

Learn more about Brighid, the Roman Goddess Juno, and the Egyptian Goddess Renenutet. Pull tarot cards, receive reiki, and relax during a guided meditation that will help you plant your own fire seed of intention. 

  • In Person workshop at Saltitude Sunday 1/31 1:00-3:00 pm (learn more)
  • Virtual workshop on Zoom Monday 2/1 5:30-7:00 pm (learn more)

Sources

Neal, Carl F. Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Brigid’s Day. Llewellyn, 2016. 

Moura, Ann. Grimoire for the Green Witch: a Complete Book of Shadows. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd, 2018.

Events, Holidays

Online Magic Workshop: Imbolc Fire Festival

Join me in my Zoom Room on Monday, February 1st from 5:30-7:00pm to celebrate Imbolc, a time to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring. If you want to create new plans, sweep away old energies, and plant the seeds of abundance for the season, then don’t miss this event!

Imbolc is an ancient Pagan holiday based on Celtic traditions; it marks the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland. This is the time of year when we start to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring. Learning about ancient traditions can help us connect with the seasons of the Earth in the modern world.

  • During this online workshop, you will learn all about the Goddesses of the season: Celtic Goddess Brigid, Roman Goddess Juno, and Egyptian Goddess Renenutet.
  • You will discover some ways to celebrate Imbolc in the modern world – check out my board on Pinterest.
  • You will get a tarot reading that helps you set an intention for something you want to plant this Spring – a new project, a new job, a new relationship, a new energy, etc.
  • Then you will be guided through a meditation to plant your fire seed of intention so it can grow in the coming months. Manifest something great and connect with some amazing people.

Register before January 25th for a $20 discount! Upon registration, you will automatically receive an email with the zoom link. Email jamie@arrowtarotreadings.com if you have any questions!

Register Here

Holidays

A Beltane Spell

Happy Beltane to you, blessed be!

Beltane is a springtime festival, traditionally celebrated with fire. The word Beltane originates from the Celtic God “Bel” meaning “the bright one,” the Sun God Belenus. Beltane is the half way point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It honors life and birth.

Historically observed throughout Ireland and Scotland, it marks the time of year when cattle were driven out to pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle and the crops for the summer. Special bonfires were lit, and it was believed that the smoke had healing powers. People would jump through the flames for protection, and they would even drive their cattle through the bonfires.

Hearths in each home would be put it out, and then re-lit, with the communal Beltane fire. People would decorate their floors and windows with May flowers. The would decorate branches with ribbons, feathers, and shells, and bring them inside for display. Dinner would be a feast, with lots of mead and cakes. Offerings are left out on the doorstep to appease the fairies. It also became customary to decorate a may bush in the community, burn it at the end of the festival, and dance around it.

The morning after the feast and the fires, it as believed that the first water drawn from the wells had special protective powers. Maidens would roll in the morning dew and rub the dew on their faces for beauty and youth. People would collect the ashes from the sacred fires, and bless themselves by dabbing their faces with the ashes. They would sprinkle the ashes on their cattle and livestock.

3 Ways to celebrate Beltane today

  1. Start your garden! The best way to honor Beltane is by making things grow, whether its a planter on your window, a vegetable garden, or some beautiful landscaping.

2. Make an altar. Pick a small space in your home, and set down a cloth. Decorate your altar with flowers (even dandelions), a candle, and symbols of fertility such as seeds, horns, or blossoms. You can add a mother goddess symbol, or draw a sigil on a piece of paper. Check out my Pinterest board on sigil magic here.

3. Have a fire. If you have a fire pit outside, have a fire under the night sky. You can even just bring a candle outside. Sit by the flame/s and mediate on mother earth and the coming of summer. Put your toes in the grass. What are you going to grow in this season? What are you going to prune out of your garden to make room for your expansion?

Let me know how you are celebrating Beltane. Until then, merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

Astrology and Tarot

The Flower Moon

May the Full Flower Moon shine blessings upon you. This moon is also known as the Milk Moon because it arrives at a time where spring babies are nursing from their mothers. This is the time for fertility, rebirth, creation and abundance.

I chose to call upon The High Priestess archetype this month. The High Priestess is the spiritual feminine, she is the inner knowing. The crescent moon lays at her feet; she asks those who follow her to trust in the lunar cycles. The columns of Boaz and Jachin represent the gateway to inner wisdom of the Temple of Solomon, the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem. They also represent ying and yang: assertive and receptive energies.

The High Priestess is linked to the mysterious universal truths; she is the mistress of unconscious knowledge. Pay attention to the wisdom of your dreams. You know what you are, and you know what you want. Be open to manifesting some good opportunities to get there. What if everything that is happening to you is the universe trying to give you what you asked for?

Carry a piece of citrine with you this full moon to harness the power of your free will and manifest what you want. Citrine is a stone of abundance, attracting prosperity, success and money. You can hold citrine in your hand while you mediate on this moon’s affirmation, “I am constantly in bloom. I am refreshed, rejuvenated, and reborn.” You can also write this affirmation on a slip of paper, read it every day and burn it on the next new moon to release your spell. This is also the perfect time to start a moon journal. In a moon journal, you make an entry for each phase of the moon. I suggest starting with the new moon and the full moon, that’s just two entries per month. You can make up to eight entries per month for all of the moon phases. Follow Arrow Tarot on Pinterest for more moon musings!

If you’re looking for a yoga pose for your mediation and moon work, try flowering lotus pose. I have not mastered this pose quite yet, but I find it fun to try! If you’re a little too tight like me, work on some hip openers before adding this to your practice.

The full moon is a great time book a tarot reading that reflects on the past and gives perspective on the future. Readings can be done over the phone and online. Contact me to talk more about how remote tarot readings work: Jamie@arrowtarowreadings.com. Wishing you peace and love in this Beltane season.

Astrology and Tarot

The Pink Moon

Infographic: A tarot card, affirmation, crystal and yoga pose in honor of the full pink moon

The Pink Moon is full this Tuesday at 10:35pm! Full moons are a time for reflection and gratitude for all that you have experienced this moon cycle. This full moon is also called the pink moon, after a wildflower that blooms during this time of year. No, the moon won’t actually turn pink, it will look like the usual moon that we know and love. Although, it will be a supermoon, and the first full moon of Spring.

Work with the energy of the full moon by finding the lessons and positive moments that you’ve had since March 24th when the moon was new. You’re about to enter a stage of rebirth and renewal, shedding your winter coat. What is no longer serving you that you have the power to let go? Find beauty in nature, and you will find beauty within yourself.

Rose quartz crystals are good aides for your pink moon energy work. Rose quartz emits soft feminine energy, love, peace, and tenderness. It can be worn as jewelry, carried in your pocket (or in your bra). I like to hold a sizable piece of polished rose quartz in my palm while mediating. I often hold rose quartz when giving readings to pass on an intention of love and care to my clients.

The yoga pose that I recommend trying out this month is Reclined Goddess, Supta Baddha Konasana; check out that link for a how to video! You lay on your back, and you can use blankets or bolsters to make this a heart opening exercise. The feet come together and the knees go out to the side like a butterfly, opening the hips. This pose uses gravity to achieve a deep stretch. Try it at the end of your next yoga session for a cool down and be open to receiving the energy of the full Pink Moon.

The Tarot card I chose for the full Pink Moon is the Magician! The Magician is an alchemist. He can bring dreams and ideas into reality. He has all of the tools of the tarot suits at his disposal. He can do anything he sets his mind to, but he is a tricky fellow. He is resourceful, creative and artistic. In the spirit of the full Pink Moon, call upon The Magician for mastery of a skill, for resourcefulness in a tight situation, and for the opportunity to connect with nature.

The full moon is a great time book a tarot reading that reflects on the past and gives perspective on the future. Readings can be done over the phone and online. Contact me to talk more about how remote tarot readings work: Jamie@arrowtarowreadings.com. Wishing you peace and love in this Ostara season.