Witch Wednesdays Podcast Episode 5 - Imbolc

Witch Wednesdays Podcast Episode 5 - Imbolc

Episode 5 can be found here and on YouTube here.

S: You are listening to episode five all about Imbolc.  I know, we're super excited for this one because it is our first holiday one of the year and obviously there will be eight of them but this is the first one that's coming up in the calendar year of 2020 so we're very excited to record. I say obviously there's going to be eight but if it's not obvious to you let us explain why that is it starting with this concept of the wheel of the year.

So the wheel of the year is the annual cycle of seasonal festivals that are celebrated by pagans based on solstices well that's a hard word solstices, equinoxes, and the mid points between them. So there are eight in an order of what's considered the new year for witches they are Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, which is what we're talking about today, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lammas which is also known as Lughnadsa, and Mabon, and in Wicca these are also called sabbats.

So let's jump in to talking about what Imbolc is. It is one of the four main festivals and one of the four main fire festivals in Celtic paganism and it's also known as candlemas in Christianity and always falls on either the first or second of February in the northern hemisphere and either the first or second of August in the southern hemisphere.

T: correct

S: It's very specific because it's right in the middle of the winter solstice in the spring solstice. Obviously coincides with Groundhog Day. It's also considered the festival of the goddess Brigid also known as Saint Bridget within Christianity, she's found in many other traditions as well, she's one of the most celebrated deities in the world. She is the patron of many things but as it relates to this particular holiday it is important to know that she's associated with the hearth and home and new beginnings, fertility, and abundance.

Imbolc is all about letting go of the past and looking forward towards the future. It's the point where you're no longer in the depths of winter, and you can start looking forward towards spring which I know, we are mid western girls in on February 1 we know that it does not seems like you're looking forward to anywhere near spring but that is this holiday says that we are.

T: It's around the corner! maybe far far around the corner but it's there.

S: we swear it's coming. So we are going to talk about in all of our holiday related episodes, is to let you know what the correspondences are for each holiday. And it's just things that are associated with the holiday and the reason we like to let you know that is because these are really easy ways to incorporate something holiday related into your practice, whether that's using them, decorating your altar with them,  spells them so yes the first want to talk about is colors. Which Tara and I both love but Tara is the rainbow queen over there so she knows all the colors of the holidays. This one, unlike the other holidays, the colors vary widely for Imbolc depending on how you choose to celebrate. So you can either choose to celebrate the idea of new beginnings which would make the colors white, pale green, pale purple, pale yellow but if you work with the fire energy of this holiday as the Celtic tradition says and the colors are fire colors obviously like yellow orange and red. The animals associated with in bulk or lambs Deers robins groundhogs and other burrowing, hibernating animals like badgers and bears. The crystals that are good to work with again are either associated with the new beginnings or the fire energy and you can tell which is which just based on the colors and those are citrine Sunstone amethyst amozonite turquoise ruby and garments The herbs often use our Coltsfoot, Bay basil ginger and Heather. The flowers and trees that are most often worked with are Willow Rowan and daffodils. Foods. We love our food. Imbolc foods are dairy seeds nuts breads oats garlic onion spiced wine and herbal tea. the incense and oils myrrh cinnamon rosemary frankincense and again bay and basil, and the spells that are associate with,  good time to practice any of these are abundance prosperity fertility and romance.

So how can you celebrate because that is our favorite part of all of the holidays. The easiest way to celebrate is just wearing colors and that's probably Tara's go to, I don't have a colorful wardrobe as she does she has it, she has all the colors.  Wearing the colors is a great way to celebrate the day and just make it intentional for you it's especially good if your friends and family don't know that you are a practicing witch that is called in the broom closet. That is the phrase for when those around you don't know you have come out of the broom closet yet but yes, if you are in the broom closet the easiest way to celebrate is to wear the colors because nobody will have any idea why you're wearing. Another thing you could do is to decorate your altar. A lot of witches and pagans have altars set up which is common in Christianity to just to display things that are related to your beliefs. I do not personally have an altar because I am a minimalist.

T: I don't have an altar because I don't have a good space for them where I am living to have it on display where I wouldn't bump into it all the time or my dog won't get into it so that is why I don't have an altar because Beau would eat everything.

S: I don't know if Hawkeye would eat anything, many people do put food out as offerings on their altar, so she would probably touch that but otherwise she would leave it alone but I just, I'm too minimalist for it but

T: yeah blessed water out in a little cauldron and some berries and thank he tried to eat them so no more altar.

S: There are lots of examples on Instagram if you search for it, if you just want to get an idea of how to Decorate your altar. You can just put a cloth down that's the color of the season and you can display the daffodils are the flower of the season, put out any of the Crystals that we talked about so that's really good way to celebrate and if you do have one, a fun way celebrate each holiday is make it a point to switch your altar over eight times a year.

Another thing that is common is to make a Brigid cross or a Brigid doll to represent the goddess. These are just woven out of reeds or straw or corn husk.

T: I guarantee you've seen them in passing it even if you didn't know what they were.

S: Another fun thing to do is to how, well I say fun for me, I think this is really fun for me but it might be the only ones, but I think a super fun thing to do is spring clean.

T: So actually, after the sunsets I do certain things and then when the sun rises the next day and it's officially spring that's when I clean, not the holiday but the holiday kind of kicks off my spring clean.

S: I love having a clean space and cleaning is great but that's really likely where the idea of spring cleaning came from, with this holiday because this holiday is all about new beginnings,

T: Clean starts, fresh starts, yep.

S: Leaving behind anything that's in the past and making room for what's new, Cleaning out, so it's a great time for spring cleaning, doing a home cleanse, all of those things and a time then to such new intentions which yeah I particularly enjoy about this holiday because you know we always use January 1 as this new year date where we set all of these resolutions and things we are going to do for the year and then January like's kind of a hard month to implement all of those things, so by the end of January people fail so I really like that this is associated with this particular holiday because February First or second then you can set all these new intentions so you can either rework whatever you said on January 1 or pick it up again, start over or pick something completely new, it's a very good time to do that as well.

T: yes.

S: Another maybe fun thing for people is to go out in nature, nature walks are kind of common at this time because you can actually start to see teeny tiny things growing as long as the snow is melting where you are. And it's a good time to plant seeds - if it's particularly freezing where you are, than you would need to do it inside but this is herb planting season.

T: yeah if you're going to have like a kitchen herb garden inside this is right when you want to start planting to really set those seeds strong but again you have to do it inside

S: Yes, if you're a little more south than Tara and I in the mid western United States, then you might get away with putting them outside.

Another fun way to celebrate every holiday is to do a divination. So there are a lot of different ways you can do divination which we will talk about future podcast episodes, there are tarot cards and scrying and pendulums and runes, all kinds of ways you can do divination, and that's really where you're just asking universe kind of what's coming to you in the next couple of months. So a lot of people, Samhain, which is Halloween, is considered the witch's new year and a lot of people will do a divination to see the entire year, but that can be kind of overwhelming so, especially if you're new, a nice way to do it is from one Sabbat so just from Imbolc to to the next one coming up which is Ostara, Easter time. So it's a good way to just look at those couple of weeks and see what is coming for you,what you need to know.

T: Yes one thing too though that I always do that always really liked is I light candle and put it in a safe place at sunset and then I let it burn all through the night and I usually have snow available so I put a bowl of snow out next the candle and so in the morning I have fresh water from the snow and my house smells real nice out but it's a good way to welcome the new fresh year what's coming forward, I always think.

S: It is a nice idea. If you wanna work with the Celtic side of things then working with fire is a great option so it's a great time to do candle magic which is why it's called candlemas Christianity is because you light all the candles, makes sense. Working with fire in any way is a great way to celebrate and speaking of working with fire, the last one I have to recommend is to do cooking magic.

We both do kitchen magic but I would say that Tara does way more than I do, she excels in that area and cooking in general.

T: I can't bake though but cooking I can do.

S: I'm the other way, I bake but I don't eat meat so I feel like there's just less for me to do in the kitchen.

T: Yeah, cause a lot of the prep stuff is either meat-based or eggs and..

S: Yeah, I don't really know how to cook meat, baking I can totally do. So a good way to celebrate this is to set up a kitchen altar and do some cooking magic. We're going to have way more episodes about that, to tell you about a lot of different ways you can actually do this, but Imbolc, have a magical feast, I like it.

T: I, this is where I like to incorporate all of the herbs and things that you mentioned earlier because you can do some really cool things. This is also a really good time, if you make your own teas, to use up any of the old herbs and things that you may have had for the past year because you're making, your planting fresh herbs, then it's a good time to try and clean out your stores as it were, because you're going to have new stuff coming in and it's going to go stale anyway so.

S: I like that, that's smart. And that is all I have for celebrating Imbolc, Tara do you have anything to add?

T: Not really without getting into the heavily religious aspect of it I think each person practices in their own way and this one is very open. some of the holidays I feel like are not more closed, but more defined. This one is very ambiguous because it varies so much when it occurs for people, like you know we really can't go out and plant things outside of, a nature walk last year it was 50 below here and snowing on this day, so well it's just varies a lot this one more than most of the holidays, because you don't know what it's going to be like.

S: Yes I agree and this one... not that they're not all celebrated, but this is widely celebrated throughout many different cultures and traditions, more than some of the other ones, so there are so many different things that you can do. Like we even mention with the deities and at the colors that you can wear or you can either go to totally like new beginnings and white and completely other way work with the fire energies two like opposite ends of the spectrum and not all the other holidays are like that.

T: Yes, all of the holidays because they're more based in a particular tradition, they have particular colors, herbs, for this one is kind a like here's everything. It's just a different holiday.

S: yes there really is no wrong way to celebrate any of these you are free to do what speak to you, what works for you, we are just giving you examples.

So before we end this episode we also wanted to talk to you about the idea of holiday boxes. We would like to offer sometime soon we've been talking about him there are a lot of different subscription boxes out there which is something that Tara really loves. She's a Libra, Libras love subscription boxes. So we thought that it would be incredibly useful but also fun to offer 8 boxes in a year, one to correspond to each holiday and we would package up the things that you can use in your practice that are specifically related to the magical energies of the upcoming holiday and ship that out to you the month before so it would include things like crystals candles oils incense books tea bath salts herbs, like there's a lot of things. So we decided if we can get the interest of about 20, we would start offering those.

I think it would be a lot of fun for anybody but especially new witches that don't have a lot of supplies, like it would be very convenient to get everything related to the sabbat delivered to your door.

T: without having to go hunt and pick, that was really hard for me in Iowa when I first got started was finding things, it's a lot easier now but in the beginning it was difficult.

S: yeah so if that is something that you would be interested please let us know either on Instagram we will have a poll through our email or by leaving us a voicemail.

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