Imbolc: a time for shaping dreams

The winter months are when we can regroup ourselves after a busy year. The first phase, right after Samhain, is the time of shedding and sorting, after which the time of processing reaches us at the winter solstice. It is with this first spark of light that the impetus comes to understand our past experiences and recycle them into resources for the next cycle.

That part is familiar to anyone celebrating the festivals. That part we generally accept and are even grateful for. For we were tired and we needed rest. And so we accepted the coming of winter. Only… then we had the promise of renewal beginning to take hold: the promise of renewed life, even though it is not yet visible in the outside world.

But still: we have been allowed a brief vision of the future, and as a result the continuing reign of darkness makes that we begin to feel restless. Was it then mere illusion?

This will change at Imbolc. At this time, the hold of darkness on the land begins to loosen. And if you pay attention to the energies, you can feel how at this time the land breathes a sigh of relief. It welcomes the returning light and begins to turn its gaze towards the sun.


And yet…

We still find ourself in the middle of winter, with part of the harshest weather still ahead of us. So we have to take care to not let hope carry us away into foolishness. This is seen in the planetary associations with this time of the year: there is the spirit of revolution we know as Uranus, which is ushered in by the light that is returning. At the same time, there is the necessity of restraint that is forced on us by Saturn.

But let us not see these forces combining as a contradiction, but rather as an opportunity for growth and learning of a type that will not present itself at other times of the year.

What this season invites us to do is to give shape to our dreams, and to create a blueprint for change and growth that can fuel us through the coming year. The following ritual suggests a way to harness the magic of the season.


The ritual

What you will need:

  • a candle
  • A box ( something that feels like a treasure-box to you)

The rite

  • open sacred space in your usual way. As you draw a circle, you may want it to be opened and closed in the northeast, the place of Imbolc.
  • Begin by calling on the spirit of the season, and inviting her into your life ( use whatever version that speaks to you most: this might be the goddess Brighid, another goddess, the rising sun,…)
  • As you make your call, stand in the northeast, and light your candle as soon as you sense her presence. Welcome her and, if it feels right, present her with an offering (this will depend on your personal practice)
  • Now, take some time to sit in silence in the northeast, while you contemplate the light of the candle. Open yourself to its influence, and feel its blessing and inspiration flow through you.
  • Then, take your box and hold it to your heart. Make a wish, and ask that the box be filled with all the inspiration and understanding needed to allow you to fulfill your dream. Visualize how the light of the candle grows brighter, and a shaft of light illuminates the box. Notice how the box feels notably heavier afterwards.
  • Give thanks and close the ritual. Do NOT open the box. If possible, allow the candle to burn up fully, with the box sitting next to it, continuing the impregnation process.

The contents of the box represents the period of incubation between Imbolc and the beginning of spring. If you open it, ideas will spread prematurely and the magic will be lost. Instead, over the coming days and weeks, hold the box during meditation, or place it right next to your bed, and ask that you may be granted the inspiration to help you fulfill your dreams.


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