Ah, can you feel it? The Wheel has turned again, my friends, and the wonderful blessings of Imbolc (Feb 2) will soon be upon us! This is a fave time of year for me because I get to re-boot, start anew, and feel the energy of the light returning to the land.
Imbolc is traditionally celebrated at the beginning of February. The sun's light is becoming noticeably stronger now and the lambs are giving birth on farms. Imbolc is called "candlemas" by some, but I like the old European word for this holiday with its roots that mean "to wash." Just think, in older times when central heating was not available, people couldn't wash in the dead of winter without risking chill and illness. Imagine how wonderful it would be to wash for the first time after the most dangerous cold of winter had passed...Aren't we lucky now in modern times?
It's my understanding that there was a coven in my Tradition that offered all night vigiling for Imbolc that included having the youngest member of the group wake people up (if they'd fallen asleep) for a sunrise breakfast. I like the idea and think I may offer it to my coven for their consideration (rubs hands together while plotting evilly to rope my 22 year old student into performing the duties). Viewing the growing sun's light over coffee and biscuits sounds lovely.
Here are some things that are traditional to do for Imbolc...
1. Hold a circle honoring the Lady Brighid, to Whom this holy day is sacred
2. Get all the winter holiday decorations out of the house in order to banish winter's chill
3. Create an Imbolc altar and/or a "Brighid's bed"
4. Briefly light all the lights in the house on Imbolc night to bring the light back into our consciousness
5. Clean everything, particularly ritual items
6. Re-purpose and renew things, such as making rag rugs and recombining candle wax
7. Create "Brighid's crosses" of corn husks or other natural materials
8. Cook with milk and cheese, commemorating the celebration of the first lambing and the bounty of milk and cheese in rural communities
9. Start seedlings in paper cups for planting later when the ground is ready
Baked Brie for Imbolc!
Small wheel of brie
Sheets of puff pastry such as crescent rolls (2 cans for small brie)
Melted butter for brushing pastry
Raspberry chipotle preserves
Craisins (1 reg bag)
Roasted almonds (coupla handfuls)
Cinnamon (bout 1/8 cup)
Small amount of cardamom if desired
Brown sugar (bout 1/4 cup)
Pre-heat oven to 375F
Cut the rind off the brie with a sharp knife
Open puff pastries and mold around the brie to cover without separating sheets
Brush melted butter over pastry dough
Place in oven for 20 minutes or until browned nicely (golden)
Place sugar, nuts, craisins, spices into a bag and shake well.
Warm the preserves slightly
Drizzle preserves over brie and top with the nut/sugar mixture
Cut into wedges and enjoy!