Imbolc and the First Signs of Spring

It’s hard to believe that spring is around the corner, especially given the harsh winter weather some of us are experiencing now.  However, sleeping under the snow lie the first tender vestiges of warmer days. As much as I love fall and winter, there is something about crocus, tulips and daffodils peaking up through the snow that makes my heart excited for this sign of the renewal cycle of life.

flowerssnow

Imbolc is a celebration of life. The ewes are lambing and fresh milk is flowing. There is hope that the dwindling winter stores of food, will soon be filled again. The brightest green grass, nourished by their blanket of protective snow, now begins to peek up through the brown blades of fall. Trees begin to bud, Dogwood, Buckeye and Wild Plum. Honey bees come out and start pollinating their bright blooms.

The days are now growing longer and the angle of the sun casts a particular light on the stark lemon yellow green leaves of the tall trees. Warm winds rustle their  boughs and song birds begin to take flight.

brigid

In celebration of the very first signs of life returning, our ancestors turned to the Goddess Brigid.  Daughter of the chief of the gods, The Dagda, she was known as the Goddess of childbirth, poets, healing and inspiration.  She is part of the Triple Aspect of the Goddess, the Mother as she represents the birth of new life.

Things you can do to celebrate Imbolc:

greencandle

Light a simple white or green candle and say:

“I call upon the fire to melt the snow. 

The warmth of the mother to make things grow.”

 

mooncookies

Make Triple Goddess Moon Cookies! (A great activity with your little ones or yourself alone!)

1 cup (2 sticks/220 grams) butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups (185 grams) flour
1 teaspoon vanilla, lavender or peppermint extract

 

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until fluffy and light. Mix the lemon peel, and salt. In increments, add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix until well blended. Cover and chill thoroughly for at least 2 hours.

(Pre-Heat your oven to 375 degrees)

When the dough is chilled, roll it to a thickness of 1/8 inch, and cut with a crescent moon cookie cutter.

If you can’t find a crescent moon cookie cutter, you can use a circular cookie cutter and cut a curved line in the middle, then roll the excess dough from the cookies and repeat.

Place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inches apart.

Bake for 7-12 minutes! (I love my cookies crisp so I live dangerously at the 12 minute mark!)

 

springstarts

Take a Nature Walk!

Lastly, take a long walk through nature. Try to find a trail or field if possible but any area with grass and trees will do! Take note of how some creatures and the flora are awakening from their winter sleep. Breath in the clean air and if you wish, say some simple affirmation magic spells.

“As nature awakens, so do I.”

“As the world grows fresh and new, so do I.”

“Nature gets a fresh start, dropping her brown, shriveled mantle, so do I.”

 

Thanks for reading!

Will you share your Imbolc traditions with me?

-Cass

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