Over in Ireland women will have been celebrating “Little Christmas.” On January 6th the men will take over the housework and women will gather together in homes, pubs and hotels to relax and chat together, freed from their usual day-to-day tasks. A colleague posted a wonderful description of her family’s celebrations on FaceBook last year and it sounded just like our Imbolc celebrations.
Her description was of women sat together drinking tea and eating cake, being served by the younger girls, all eager to be with the older women as stories of younger days were told and family gossip passed around. As the day wore on the teacups would be filled with something a little stronger and the stories would get more risqué. This was an important part of my friend’s life, reinforcing family relationships and passing stories from one generation to the other.
The Norwich Chant Collective’s Imbolc gathering was to “Sing in the Spring.” It was a women only affair and was full of song, laughter and feasting. I was blessed to take my daughter to a small gathering of Chanters when she was around 7. She put on her white dress, tucked a stuffed sheep under her arm and joined us in the ritual. She sang her heart out, and learned much about the women of our circle. She still talks about it.
“Oh Brid our heart, our brightest flame. Give your blessings unto us.”
At Imbolc we honour Brid, Breedie, Brigit, St Brigit. Many names for the Goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. So, at this time of year let us celebrate her, and the energies of Spring by singing something, cleaning something and planting something.
Plant some something
This is a perfect time of year to get planting. Whether you have a window box, an allotment or pots on the window sill; children of all ages (and even the grownups) will enjoy watching seeds growing. The daily vigil, as you wait for those first shoots to poke through the earth; the tender care that you need to give young plants.
We are looking at what we want to plan at our allotment. The children each have their own plots and can choose exactly what they want to grow. Last year they grew flowers, spouts and our first harvest, radishes. Who knows what exotic and tasty fruit and vegetables they will want to grow this year.
On a magical level, this is a great time of year to plant the seeds for the coming year. What do you need to do now to start the next steps of your projects and pathways? Whether you are planning your allotment planting, world domination, your next karate grading or the perfect tree house; each project needs careful consideration and planning. Early Spring is the best time to start new projects and endeavours.
Spring cleaning is another tradition that continues to be enacted in households all over. As light levels increase and temperatures rise we instinctively open up our homes to allow the fresh air in and the oldness out. On a mundane and magical level, spring cleaning is a great thing to include the whole family in. Practically, it’s a great time to clean out old toys or clothes that are too small. Time to freshen up bedrooms or rediscover old toys buried in cupboards.
Magically the banging of drums, ringing of bells, sprinkling of saltwater, wafting of incense and sweeping with a beesom are all excellent ways for children to get involved in family rituals. From the smallest to the biggest the whole family can take part in a big spring clean ritual. It is a great anchor point in the year