© Copyright 2005-2023 Karen Charboneau-Harrison, All Rights Reserved.
IMBOLC (also called Oimelc, Candlemas, Feast of Lights. Imbolg and Brigit's Day) is a time of purification and a celebration of the continued growth of Light. In our pastoral and agrarian past, it was the time that the ewes were giving birth to the new lambs and two of this festival's names show this connection. Imbolc or Imbolg means 'in the belly' and Oimelc means 'ewe's milk'. Candlemas is the combination of the words 'candle' and the Scottish 'maes' (feast), a time of celebration and feasting to mark and honor the growing strength of the Sun and the promise of spring to come. Each day since the Winter Solstice, the sun was lighting and warming the day for a few more minutes and to encourage this growth of Light, candles were lit at day's end with whispered thanks. Brigit or Brigantia, Goddess of Fire, is sacred to this Sabbat, bringing the warmth of the hearth, the light of the candle flame and the safe birth of lambs and other babies.
Traditional at this time are the tasks of 'spring cleaning', to ready our homes and lives for the new growth that spring will bring and to rid ourselves of the old so that we can move into the new season unencumbered with outworn things, ideas and ways. Cleansing and blessing our homes and the candles we will burn during the year is a time honored way to acknowledge the changing energies and seasons to come.
CLEANSING AND PURIFICATION RITUAL:
First, clean your home thoroughly. Throw away the things that no longer work and cannot be repaired; give away clothing, books and other items that you no longer use. Scrub the floors, wash the windows, shampoo the carpets all with the clear intention of beginning anew. After your home is completely clean, you will purify the space. For this you will need a bowl or chalice with spring water to represent the element WATER, about 2 tablespoons sea salt to represent the element EARTH, an incense burner with charcoal and a purifying incense such as Frankincense to represent the element AIR and a white candle to represent the element FIRE.
Set up a small altar with the above supplies. This can be a coffee table, end table, kitchen table - it doesn't matter. Take up a small pinch of the sea-salt and meditate briefly on the positive qualities of EARTH (stability, grounding). Place 4 pinches of the salt into the spring water and meditate on the positive qualities of WATER (calming, emotional clearing, psychic awareness). Light the charcoal and place it in your incense burner. It is recommended that you insulate your burner by filling it halfway with kitty litter or sand to place the lit charcoal upon as you will be handling the burner. Let the charcoal light all the way across and place a small amount of incense (frankincense is a good all-around incense/a mixture of frankincense and white sandalwood is very uplifting/a blend called Purification is also very good) on your charcoal. As the smoke curls up meditate on the positive qualities of AIR (mental clarity, alertness). Place your candle in a holder and light it. Gaze at the flame and meditate on the positive qualities of FIRE (purifying, transforming).
Over your altar say an invocation for purification and protection.
If you are cleansing an object such as a bundle of candles, sprinkle it lightly with the salted water, again meditating on the qualities of Earth and Water. Now hold it in the incense smoke, meditating on the qualities of Air. Hold it briefly over the heat of the candle flame (not the flame itself) and meditate on the qualities of Fire. End by saying a protective prayer or invocation.
If you are cleansing your home or office begin by opening all closets, cabinets and drawers. Then starting in the Northern most room of the house in the north quarter, going in a clockwise motion, sprinkle the salted water on the walls and floor as you walk around the room in a circle. End in the north and repeat with the incense and, last, the candle. Go to the next room to the east and continue the procedure until all the rooms have been cleansed and you are back where you started. Sprinkle the water, cense and hold the candle flame in each closet, cabinet and drawer as you cleanse each room as well. If you live in a 2 story house with a basement, begin on the top floor, complete it; go to the basement and complete it; ending on the ground level and shooing any unbalanced or negativity out the front door. After you have cleansed your space, you will want to Seal it.
SEALING THE HOUSE:
Starting in the Northern most room, make a sign of protection in the air at each window and outside door. This can be a pentagram, hexagram, cross or any sign which signifies protection to you. Make the sign with the hand you write with and visualize the sign blazing bright blue as you describe it in the air. Do this in each room. Don't forget fireplaces, mail slots if it opens to the outside, mirrors, sinks, bathtubs and toilets. Again, if you have a multistoried house, start at the top, go to the basement and end on the ground floor.
Finish by sitting in the center of the ground floor. Breathe quietly for a few minutes, centering yourself and then draw energy into yourself allowing it to glow outward from your solar plexus. Let it grow and extend until it penetrates the walls in all directions as well as above and below you. You can let it extend all the way to your property line if you wish. Let the light glow brightly as you recite a prayer or invocation of protection. See the edges of the light thicken into a shield then finish by saying 'so mote it be' or 'so it is'.
Remember that if you become angry, depressed or exhibit other modes of negative energy later in your home that you are shooting small holes in your protective shield. You will need to identify the location of the holes and seal them with light.