Imbolc is a celebration of the Earth's re-awakening as the Sun's warmth and light begins to return. Here at Imbolc we ask ourselves what new potential lies in the new growth cycle to come? What do we wish to set in motion and begin? Here we consciously fire up our intentions for change, especially those that propel us forwards and transform us from the inside. This is a great opportunity to change old habits and patterns and work towards changing our relationship with the natural world; to see our selves as part of nature and the great web of life, not separated from it. Ask yourself how you will help initiate this understanding both in yourself and in your children? Seek new thinking patterns and new lifestyles that will create a more sustainable and integrated future for our children and for the Earth.
* Meet other families for an Imbolc walk and look for signs of new life stirring in nature. Gather fresh windblown twigs, Birch bark, feathers and seed heads along the way and after your walk, sit together to make an Imbolc doll or Earth Spirit. Push a large bead on a twig to make the head or use curled Birch bark stuffed with wool. Pipe cleaners can be used to make arms and wrapped with wool. Keep them simple. As you wrap wool around your Imbolc spirit, weave in all the new things you wish to set in motion this year. Afterwards have a 'Go-Round' and share these with each other.
* Gather together around a fire, indoor or out and share homemade food. If you can't have a fire then fill a bowl with soil or sand and have a bowl of candles. Light one candle at the centre with a blessing for Imbolc. Each lights a candle in turn and says what they are appreciating in their lives right now.
* Spend some time visioning the future you would like to live in. Visualise your own community and how it could improve with community projects and care for nature. Vision the very best, the most wonderful, and the most heartwarming. Share your visions with each other. Anything is possible. As we vision these things they begin to have life. What will you do to support your vision?
The Birch is the first tree of the Celtic Tree Ogham. It is a great pioneer tree and is associated with boldness to begin and a new start. The Birch has the ability to change and transform a landscape by being the first tree to colonise new ground. This brings association with vitality and the will to survive. Known as a nurse tree, it sheds it twigs, branches and leaves readily, creating a fertile soil for other trees to grow in. Sit with this beautiful energy to find a sense of clarity and restored direction.
* Pick a bunch of Birch twigs. (Say thank you to the tree!) and place in a vase of water. The buds will swell and the catkins spill out, bringing a sense of spring on its way!
* Birch bark can be peeled from fallen Birch trees. It is easy to cut into shapes with scissors and drawn or written on with felt tips. What do you wish to make manifest and celebrate this coming year? Choose 3 things - one for yourself, one for your community or family and one for the Earth and decorate your Birch shapes with words or pictures for each. A hole can be made with an awl or large nail and they can be threaded and hung in the window or from your Birch twigs.
By Glennie Kindred 2015
For lots more ideas about celebrating the Earth Festivals, my newly revised Sacred Earth Celebrations is available from my website.