It’s about that time when we begin getting antsy for signs of spring.
As the light, warmth, energy, and glow of spring build behind the scenes, many of us are feeling the turning point… While some people will be watching a groundhog for signs of spring’s emergence, many pagans will be celebrating the waning winter and the imminent return of spring at Imbolc, also known as Candlemas, Lupercalia, the Feast of Lights, 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.”
Imbolc is sometimes referred to as Candlemas or the Feast of Flames, Lights, or Fire. Brighid, the Celtic goddess of fire, fertility, midwifery, and babies, 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 often candles involved…
While there are a host of traditions associated with Imbolc, some of my favorites remain those that are also downright practical: it’s 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 decluttering, purification, and spring cleaning to refresh our inner and outer living spaces.
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.
This is particularly true if you have undergone any physical change and your closet didn’t “come along” with you. Changes in your weight, hair length, hair color–even your attitude–can change how your clothes look and feel on you. Be discerning. If it isn’t amaze-balls for you, move it out and pay it forward.
Get rid of anything that is fundamentally compromised, unable (or unlikely) to be repaired, or otherwise “done.” (Think white shirts that are now seriously yellow or sweaters with lots of moth holes.) If the item isn’t appropriate for someone else to inherit–as with undergarments–place the item in a garbage bag and blow it a kiss goodbye.
Go through your clothes, your shoes, and your jewelry,
Collect everything you don’t want and prepare it for consignment, pawn, family, garage sale, or charity–whatever. Thank it for its time, say goodbye, let it go… and get it out of there.
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!
While you’re at it, 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 prescriptions and products that have passed their expiration date.
(Be sure to do so in an environmentally-friendly way–that means NO PILLS flushed down the toilet!)
Get rid of products you don’t love or use regularly. Did you find something out of scope of its best by date that you want to replace so you have it when you need it? Add it to your next shopping list now so you have some ready and “fresh” when you need it.
Purification can come in many forms. For some, it might mean a cleansing of crystals, cards, or other ritual tools.
It’s the perfect time to place items on a layer of sea salt in a crystal bowl, wrap in pure silk, or set on a windowsill to let them soak up the moon’s rays for a few nights.
Purification can also 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.
If you don’t have animals, purification could also suggest a few drops of either Cypress (which helps to speed 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 an appropriate window in your bathroom, place your candles in the window in keeping with Imbolc tradition. Draw a hot bath and, once the tub is full, add your favorite bath salts, herbs, milks, or oils.
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 step out. Listen to the sound of all you’ve left behind draining away as you towel yourself dry.
In 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 a thorough spring cleaning ritual.
Note that these blends may not be safe for all finishes. To be safe and certain, test a small patch before committing to cleaning with any of these blends.
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 large 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 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. Note that this blend may not be safe for all finishes! Test a small patch before committing to cleaning with this blend.
Wicked 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 of a soft cloth 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. Note that this blend may not be safe for all surfaces! Test a small patch before committing to cleaning with this blend.
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.