We are entering the cleansing tide of Imbolc. The stirring of new life within the depths of our womb space and heart has begun, urging us to clear the pathways between our desires and their manifestation. We may or may not be sensitive to these stirrings just yet. But if we take the time to tune in, we may sense something that is beginning to pull our awareness, as it readies itself to manifest within the coming months this year.
Perhaps it is a new version of ourselves waiting to be born, showing up as an intolerance to an old way of being, or an attraction to something that ignites a part of us we wish to grow and expand into. It may come in the form of an idea or dream that we can’t seem to shake, something that lingers in the back of our mind as we go about our day, somewhat pestering our attention like a fly buzzing around our head.
Sometimes it is simply a knowing, a clarity and inner confidence that it is now time to start something or set on a journey we weren’t able to take before. However, we may still be contending with obstacles, fears, lack of information or other issues that need to be moved through before our dreams can manifest, which is why it is important to honour the cleansing rituals of Imbolc.
Traditionally, Imbolc (Meaning both ‘In the Belly’ and ‘Cleansing’) is an ancient Celtic festival celebrated in the beginning of February to welcome the nascent beginnings of spring, and the young maiden energy of new life. The Celts revered the Goddess Brigid- Goddess of inspiration, smithcraft, poetry, healing and the home at this time. She was revered especially in Ireland as both the Pagan Goddess & Christian Saint Brigid. Her celebrations include acknowledgment of ‘quickening’- the life force awakening and stirring within the earth. Even if the ground is still frozen, beneath the ice it is alive and preparing for the emergence of spring. Young maidens would go house to house in precession singing a hymn and carrying a symbolic doll of Brigid, while collecting food and offerings for the Goddess. People would create a bed for Brigid to come and lie in to bring healing and protection to their home. It was a time of cleaning the home and welcoming new life. Imbolc was also the time where pregnant ewes would begin to lactate, which brought nourishment to the people.
In some modern Pagan traditions, it is a time to honour the Crone reborn as the young pre-pubescent Maiden, a time for coven initiations and dedication to one’s spiritual path and/or devotion to your Gods/Goddesses. I have found that I have been naturally inclined at this time of year to re-dedicate to my Goddess and my spiritual practice if it has fallen by the wayside or start up new rituals, clean and refresh any stagnant altars, and bring fresh new ideas and goals into my life.
Wombcraft during Imbolc
If you are on a path that involves healing and honouring your womb/ womb space or the Sacred Feminine, you may wish to use this time to clear any energetic debris that has accumulated around the womb space and body. There are many wonderful ways of doing this, including yoga, movement, breathing techniques, yoni steams, herbs, diet, acupuncture, etc. However you may wish to also include more ‘witchy’ ways of womb-cleansing, and these are some of the ways I will outline here.
I think of the womb space as the home and hearth of our body in many ways (See my post: ‘Coming Home to Ourselves- Embodying the Hearth), and therefore at this time of year when the home and hearth is cleaned, and we are making space for new life. The element of fire is traditionally associated with the hearth and with Brigid. Fire is the element of inspiration, renewal, cleansing and vitality. It also helps us to center and align with our inner truth and authentic desires. You may wish to try my Embodying the Hearth meditation, if you would like to re-ignite your passion, creativity, and purify your energy.
Imbolc is a great time to do little check-in with our womb and clear the womb space energies to ensure our creative seeds within will thrive. This combined with cleaning your home space and arranging it to suit the new life you wish to create will ensure an easier transition into the activity of spring and summer.
It is important to note that after doing a cleansing ritual it is a good idea to rebalance the energy by bringing positive energy in afterwards. You don’t want to leave an energy vacuum. For instance, after taking a salt bath, oil the body for nourishment and protection afterward. After smoke cleansing, ring some bells or play beautiful music to draw in good vibes.
The following cleansing rituals can each be done on their own or in combination in celebration of Imbolc, or even on a regular basis over the coming weeks.
Imbolc Water Ritual: Womb Cleansing Bath & Oil massage
- Fill the bathtub, adding 2 cups of either sea salt or Epsom salts.
- Mix an essential oil blend- I offer you two recipes here- one for deep cleansing and protection from heavy energies and the other to invite the innocent, creative Maiden energy into your life. Choose only ONE recipe per bath!
- Imbolc Cleansing recipe: 4 drops each of Clove, Lavender, Rosemary and Eucalyptus. Mix with a carrier such as vegetable glyerin in a small container. Pour into bath.
- Imbolc Maiden recipe: 4 drops each of Lemongrass, Sage, Rosewood and Ylang Ylang. Mix with a carrier such as vegetable glycerin in a small container. Pour into bath.
- Light a small white candle or tealight symbolizing cleansing and new life. You may wish to add other symbols of purity or new life that have meaning to you. You may say an invocation such as ‘I invoke the clarity, purity and renewal of the Goddess/Maiden/Brigid’ Place it near or on the edge of the tub.
- Bring your hand into the water and stir the salts and oils into the water, stirring with intention. You may wish to add an invocation such as: “May the cleansing powers of water remove all obstacles and blockages from my womb space. May this bath clear all that stands in the way of my brightest dreams coming true. May the renewal of Brigid/The Maiden infuse this bath.“
- Soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes. While there, bring your attention to your womb space and imagine all fears, negativity, discomfort, old pains and stories flowing out into the water and being neutralized by the salt and oils. You may also simply wish to let yourself dream new dreams, imagine the life you long for.
- Drain the tub, imagining all the energetic sludge going down the drain. Thank the spirits of water for their cleansing help.
- After drying your body, bring positive energies of nourishment and protection in through massaging an oil or lotion that you love into your skin. Place special focus on the lower belly and lower back, massaging in clockwise circles around your bellybutton. Continue covering the entire body, focusing on the positive qualities you wish to bring in. You may wish to say “I lovingly nourish and protect my body and my dreams. I nurture the new opportunities and growth taking root now in my life”
Imbolc Air Ritual: Smoke Cleansing & Music
Smoke cleansing is an accessible way of inviting in herbal allies to support us through the air element. Many cultures all over the world have traditionally practiced some form of smoke cleansing, whether through burning a resin, incense, dried herbs or flowers as a way of clearing negative energy and setting sacred space. You may wish to research your ancestral traditions of smoke cleansing and adapt it to your womb cleansing needs. The following is an example of what I do. It is for the whole body, but with a focus on certain areas, including the Womb Space. I also smoke cleanse my home, which is a wonderful way to celebrate Imbolc too.
If you are not Indigenous, I recommend growing or using herbs for this purpose that are abundant in your area and avoid purchasing white sage or palo santo wood which are over-harvested. Other options are: Cedar, Pine Spruce, Juniper, Mugwort, Wormwood, Lavender, Mint, Rose, Rosemary, Garden Sage and Thyme.
I love the combination of Mugwort, Lavender and Rose, and use it often.
Make sure you have a heat-proof bowl, saucer or container- such as cast iron, marble, clay, a seashell or a large flat rock can work as well to contain the herbs.
- Open a nearby window, so the negative energies can escape with the smoke.
- Break up the herbs with your fingers and mix them up into a little pile in the heat proof container. I like to form a connection here and say hello to the herbs as I do so, thanking them for helping to clear my energy.
- Light the herbs. Sit the container safely on a nearby surface. Ask the Goddess/Divine to help clear energetic debris from your energy field and womb space, so that new life can thrive.
- Once a nice smoke has developed, bring your hands above the bowl and rub them together like you’re washing them.
- Cup the smoke into your hands and waft it over your head and eyes. I say ‘May my mind be clear and calm.’
- Cup the smoke and bring it towards your heart. I say ‘May my heart be pure and loving.’
- Cup the smoke and move it towards your belly. I say ‘May my power be strong and clear.’
- Cup the smoke and bring it to your womb space. At this point, I pick up the container and bring it right in front of my lower belly, wafting the smoke at my womb space, between my legs and around to my lower back. I say ‘May my womb space be purified, healthy and well. May my desires and creativity flow with ease. May I receive pleasure with ease.”
- Then, set the bowl on the ground, and gently pass the soles of your feet through the smoke. I say ‘May my feet tread lightly on Mother Earth.’
- You can create your own intentions and prayers in your practice. You may wish to end with an affirmation such as ‘I am purified and renewed by the breath of the Goddess/Maiden/Brigid and the love of Mother Earth.” Let the herbs burn out and then you can dump the ashes onto the earth or in a fire in celebration of Imbolc.
- To bring in positive energy, you can play music that uplifts and inspires you, and start dancing! Focus on the new dreams and desires you feel stirring within and imagine them manifested as you dance. You may also play chimes, drum or sing if you are so inclined.
If you would like to get in the Imbolc mood, you may access my Imbolc playlist here. It will help you to hold your pure beginnings and precious dreams with gentleness, enliven your heart and womb space with hope and positivity!
These are just examples of a myriad of ways you can celebrate Imbolc. If you wish to celebrate with me, join my online virtual circle: Imbolc- Awakening to New Life where we will talk about different cleansing techniques, go on a guided journey to our Inner Child/Young Maiden and do some automatic writing from our womb space to discover the creative seeds within waiting to be manifested.
You may also find many more practices like those above for womb healing in my ebook: Wombcraft- Earth-Based Practices for Healing the Womb Space.