Imbolc 2017, Ritual Debrief

My Imbolc ritual wasn’t a full ritual, not like I did Loafmass last year. Hopefully at some point I’ll get it figured out enough to actually do rituals for the 4 big holidays in one contiguous year.

Anyway. I went simple, because my brain has been fried lately, because I’ve been exhausted, because the pressure of all the crap I have to do has been pushing me into the dirt.

The first thing I did was move the brats off the shrine. The night before Imbolc I’d put various things I wanted blessed on the shrine, including a jar of Imbolc water (though I should note, my Loafmass water has still not been used, and is currently sitting in a jar next to my computer as I write this). The brats included the thing I’m making for the Cill exchange (which I need to finish and mail off this week! A-hahahaha) and my shift headscarves, the pretty red one for writing and the green one for cleaning or going out in.

(My shift headscarves are knitted kerchiefs. The red one I reserve for writing and non-physically strenuous activities, because it’s a nice wool and I don’t want to sweat in it, and also because as soon as I put it on I get fire in the head. The green one is older, was not made specifically for shifts, and can handle some sweat on it as it’s made from machine-washable yarn. I also wear it out, because it’s a shift-related head-covering that won’t put me into inspiration overdrive/will still let me interact with other humans.)

Anyway, I moved the brats off the shrine, because I wanted to light candles and not set fire to them. Mainly. It’s a small shrine.

I set the jar of water onto my pentacle, for some reason that was clear when I did it but it’s weeks later and I’m going off my scrawled notes now and I have no idea why I did that. Possibly to save space on the shrine. This seems likely. Also possibly to let it charge with pentacle energy, now that it’d been blessed by Brighid. This is also likely.

I then lit the candles — the four Imbolc Advent ones, and the main Brighid candle I light when I’m doing stuff just for her. (The shrine also has a Morrigan candle and a Manannan candle; I light all three for Loafmass or when I’m doing anything that involves all of them.) I poured some whiskey into Brighid’s offering cup (Fireball whiskey; it tastes like cinnamon), and then I stood there and was like “Ok I don’t know what to do next.” I hadn’t really planned past that part.

So I decided to clean! Why not? Brighid likes it when I clean and tidying up the office is an ongoing, Sisyphean task. I started organizing some stuff on the floor while bending over before realizing I needed to sit on the floor to actually do stuff. So I did, and folded laundry, and thought about Brighid, and cleaning being sacred work, and then I looked up…

…and found the library book I’d lost. I’d been looking for this book for THREE. WEEKS. And it had been driving me insane, because I am normally so good with library books. The others I had out it took me approximately 30 seconds to find them all and gather them and get them to the library. This one? No. This one had just *disappeared* and I’d had no idea where it had gone. Every day for the past three weeks I’d spent looking in some corner that I’d already checked thirty times because it was just nowhere to be found.

Well, it was where I had not checked, because logically it shouldn’t have been there. I’d already checked under several pieces of furniture, but only ones that hadn’t been moved in ages. The book was under a chair that I had just moved to its present location. So I hadn’t checked under it, because I’d just moved it and already knew that the floor under it was clear. Except it wasn’t.

I grabbed the book, yelled “HAIL BRIGHID!” and started crying with relief and joy. I then wrote a prayer to Brighid in my state of wild-eyed ecstasy. Here it is, raw and unedited:

Hail to Brighid,
Patroness of lost things
I wandered in a field
and you guided me home
I lacked for kinship,
and you fed me
I was vulnerable,
and you covered me in your mantle
I am mortal
and I am blessed
for I know the love
of She who guides me.

I might edit and tweak it at some point, but that’s exactly what I wrote in my journal. Except you can actually read it, because it’s typed and not handwritten by me.

I also posted on Instagram that Brighid was good and had helped me find the book back. I think there’s probably no coincidence the book that had gone missing and been found was The Women in God’s Kitchen, a work of feminist Christian mysticism.

(I now owe the library 17 dollars and have been too embarrassed to show my face there again. But I will get over that, because I need to pay the fine, and also need to re-borrow some books at some point soon so I can read them. I am a slow reader; I often need to renew and re-borrow books from the library several times to finish them.)

After writing the prayer I continued cleaning, at which point I found back a pot of crocuses my mom had bought me. It’s a Delft pot, white ceramic with blue paint, and it came with soil and crocus bulbs in it as well as instructions on how to plant them; mom bought it for me because it’s very Dutch, and I love things that reaffirm my connection to my Dutch ancestors. Well, if ever there was a perfect time to plant crocuses, it was Imbolc, right?

Purple crocuses bloom in a sunny field.
These are not my crocuses. Picture used from Pexels under a CC0 license.

I decided this was the next part of my ritual, so I started work on planting them. The soil came in a hard, compressed disk, and the instructions were to fill up the pot with water and put the disk in it until it absorbed all the water. Then you plant the bulbs in it, and put it in a dark room that’s about 5 to 10 degrees for several weeks before moving it to a sunnier location, watering once a week.

Well, it so happens the office, where the shrine is, is the only room I can keep dark for any length of time. It’s also probably one of the warmer rooms in the house. So that worked out perfectly.

I worked on planting the crocuses, and when they were planted I put the pot onto the shrine, on Brighid’s side of it. I then decided to infuse them with a little magic. I held the pot and envisioned what I wanted, stated my intent, and stated that as the crocuses grew, I would get closer to my goal, and that as they blossomed, I would realize my aspirations. I felt the magic leave my fingers and go into the pot, into the bulbs.

They’re sprouting now, and hope alights in my heart. I water them every week, and when I do, I know that the magic is being watered too.

I blew out the main candle and let the advent tealights burn down. Imbolc was over, and I felt purified and fulfilled deep in my soul.

~Morag


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