clearing, purifying, and cleaning at imbolc

While some people will be watching a groundhog on February 2nd, many pagans will be preparing to celebrate the waning winter and the imminent return of spring at Imbolc, also known as Candlemas or Brigid’s Feast.

Imbolc raises our energy in anticipation of spring and celebrates that we and our families have successfully survived the darkest of another winter. By now some of the first animals in our folds are likely to begin birthing again as winter’s scarcity is behind us. Indeed, the name Imbolc is said to derive from the phrase “ewe’s milk” in conjunction with the beginning of “lamb season.”

candles in the darkImbolc is often referred to as Candlemas or the Feast of Flames, Lights, or Fire. Brigid, the Celtic goddess of fire, fertility, midwifery, and wee ones, serves as matron for Imbolc’s turning of the wheel as she is aligned with the returning warmth, the process of birth, and the earliest emerged wee ones. As you might imagine, there are also often candles involved…

While there are a host of traditions associated with Imbolc, my favorites remain those that are also downright practical: you see, Candlemas is an ideal time for spring cleaning!

Just like the world around us, we should be preparing to reemerge as stronger, brighter, warmer versions of ourselves than we showed in winter. That means some “out with the old,” purification, and cleaning to refresh our inner and outer living spaces.

Out with the Old, In with the New!

Now is the perfect time to clean out your closet and sort out your dresser drawers!

 If you haven’t worn it in a year or you can’t see yourself wearing it on the best day of your life, get in there, get it off of the hanger, and put it in a pile for charity.

Get a garbage bag and sort the worn, hole-y socks and underwear discreetly into it. If it doesn’t serve you feeling really wonderful in some way, part with it: that’s how you make room for new, more wonderful things to find you!

Take a look in your medicine cabinet, too — it’s easy to forget that medications, prescriptions, creams, and make-up have a shelf life.

Discard anything that is past it’s expiration date (being sure to do so in an environmentally-friendly way, including NO PILLS flushed down the toilet!).

Get rid of products you don’t love or use regularly. If there is something in there you want to have at the ready, but need to discard this batch, add it to your next shopping list now so you’re prepared.

Purification

chakra stones full circlePurification can come in many forms. For some, it could mean a cleansing of crystals, cards, or other ritual tools.

Imbolc would be the perfect time to place items on a layer of sea salt in a crystal bowl on a windowsill to let them soak up the moon’s rays for a few nights.

For others, purification may mean a cleansing of the energy in our homes. That might include a purifying essential oil blend (such as a few drops of Juniper Berry and Lemon) diffused throughout the house.

(You can also smudge your home with a sage smudge stick.)

If you don’t have animals, purification could also suggest a few drops of either Cypress (helps to move change) or Palo Santo (for energetic purification, especially of negativity) mixed in sea salt and water and poured outside the threshold of each entrance/exit in the home.

For people like me, purification also means that loveliest of rituals, the candlelit purification bath. If you’re lucky enough to have a window in your bathroom, place your candles in the window as is Imbolc tradition.

Draw a hot bath and, once the tub is full, add your favorite bath salts. My preferences this time of year tend toward 10 drops of Sweet Orange and 10 drops of Sandalwood essential oil OR 15 drops of Cypress and 10 drops of Lemon essential oil in four ounces of sea salt and/or epsom salt plus milk.

Turn off any pesky lights and remove any tech distractions before you step in to soak… Consider any energy you want to slough off, behaviors you want to leave behind, and concerns you want to forget; visualize all of the unwanted things soaking into the water. Shake everything off before you towel yourself dry.

Spring Cleaning

lemon cleaning suppliesIn our home, we look to organic products made almost exclusively with pure, simple everyday ingredients for cleaning.

Natural, do-it-yourself cleaners are not only free of the harsh chemicals and synthetic cleaning agents found in mass-produced products, they are also MUCH less expensive to make than they are to buy.

Imbolc is the perfect time for spring cleaning as it helps to set a fresh tone for the house as spring reemerges.

Below, you’ll find a few of my favorite green cleaning recipes for everyday use. Considering they bring the energetics of the essential oils they leverage to your home, these recipes are especially profound for use in conjunction with thorough spring cleaning ritual.

Natural, Streak-Free Glass Cleaner

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 T corn starch
  • 5 drops of Lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil
  • a small spray bottle, preferably PET or glass

Add all ingredients to your spray bottle. Cap the bottle with the spray and shake vigorously to blend initially.

Shake the spray well before each use. Spray on glass and wipe with a clean cloth. Spray again and wipe down with black and white newspaper (yes, newspaper!) for a streak-free shine.

Everyday Surface Cleaner

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 cups water
  • 1 tablespoons liquid, organic castile soap
  • 15 drops Lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil
  • 10 drops Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris) essential oil
  • a small spray bottle, preferably PET or glass

Add the water and essential oils to your spray bottle; add the liquid castile soap last. Cap the bottle with the spray and shake to blend initially.

Shake the spray well before each use. Spray on surfaces such as countertops and wipe clean with a clean cloth.

LemonWicked Wood Polish

Ingredients and Supplies:

  • 4 T organic olive oil or organic, unrefined walnut oil
  • 2 drops Lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil

Combine your desired carrier and essential oil. Dab a corner in a small mount of the mixture and wipe it across the wood surface. Use the whole cloth to spread the blend and polish the wood’s surface. Note that this blend may not be safe for all finishes! Test a small patch before committing to cleaning with this blend.

Natural Scrubbing Powder for Scratch-Resistant Surfaces

Ingredients and Supplies:

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 to 2 T of sea salt (for extra scrubbing power)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 10 drops of Lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil
  • a small glass bowl for mixing
  • a spoon for “scattering”

Combine all ingredients well in your bowl. Moisten the surface to be washed (rinse the sink or wipe the tub with a wet cloth). Scatter the surface you intend to clean with a small amount of scouring powder; scrub with a brush, sponge, or scouring pad before rinsing or wiping completely clean.

I hope you’re warm and cozy, imagining all of the best that the strengthening wheel of the year has to offer as Imbolc rolls around.

May your heart be light and your life be bright!

Bless and blessed be!

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