I really like Imbolc. I haven’t been all that fastidious with celebrating it, but it’s one I’m very fond of. Perhaps because I’ve done so many re-dedication rites on that night. Perhaps that’s why I like it. But I’ve always loved the Festival of Lights aspect to it, and as I figure out my own personal Wheel, that’s the aspect I’m most keen to work with.
With the reworking of my path and practice, I’ve taken time to look at the Wheel and each Sabbat, to see what works for me in figuring out my own Wheel. Imbolc is the first festival after Yule, and it’s appropriate to celebrate the returning strength of the Sun. It’s traditionally a festival for Brigid, but as I don’t work with Her, I’d rather leave it for Aset/Isis or Hekate, or perhaps even Mary Star of the Sea or Yemaya. A bit Aset Luminous in nature, except not that particular festival, because that is another I love that I plan to celebrate separately. Lots of candles and light at any rate.
For me, it’s a time of initiations and rededications, and I often use it for that purpose. It’s a time for things to begin, to start new projects, and take the growing energy from the Yuletide Sun and channel it into your work. That’s the energy I get from Imbolc, and it really works for me. That energy after Yule, where Spring is on the way, is just full of so much potential, and I love tapping into that to get started on new projects.
I’ve done a few rededications on that Sabbat too, and once I figure out this new path, I might do another one next Imbolc, as a formal way of stating what my new path is and how I’m going to proceed. I like those formal things, and it makes a good way to mark a new beginning, to state to the Gods and the Cosmos that you’re starting again. It’s also a good time to remind yourself of any vows or oaths to Gods you’ve made, and even though I’m not a Kemetic Orthodox Shemsu anymore, I like using Imbolc as a day to remind myself of my dedication to Sobek, Heru-sa-Aset, and Aset, and ask for Their blessings on my path, if I’m not doing a proper rededication.
The festival of lights thing has always appealed to me too. The joy in lighting up the house and inviting the light back in after the dark of winter is so very lovely to do. Isis, Mary, Yemaya, Hekate, they’re all Goddesses who, to me, are good to honour at this time. For me, I can see Them all crowned with lights, with stars, and I like nothing more than to make a circle of candles and light them up for Them. I can sit there, watching the flames, and the light of the Divine is there before me. It’s a reminder of that divine spark within me, and the love of Deity.
It links in with Aset Luminous too, which is another festival of lights I love. It’s specific to Aset, and involves little tea lights in paper boats, with prayers written on them. It’s not the same sort of purpose as Imbolc, but they have similar traditions. Definitely worthy of its own celebration, but it serves as an inspiration for what I do at Imbolc, when I do rites for the Sabbat.