The cross-quarter Sabbat known as Imbolc is 13 days away! Set between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, Imbolc is one of the four cross-quarter or “lesser” Sabbats. (Even though there is no hierarchy between the “greater” and “lesser” fire festivals.)
Many Wiccans, Witches, and Neopagans in the Northern hemisphere will be celebrating Imbolc in the upcoming weeks, while those in the Southern hemisphere will be getting ready to celebrate Lughnassadh.
Imbolc was known by our great ancestors (pagan or not,) as the first day of Spring or Spring-like weather. It was a time of great joy as the harsh winter they had to endure in their one or two-room home, cramped with relatives and possibly animals, was coming to an end. It developed as a Sabbat, a turning point in nature and in the year, from when the ewes first began to lactate after giving birth in the incredibly early Spring. It was the time when the ground was starting to thaw and plans for sowing crops or possibly giving birth. (Imbolc is sometimes used interchangeably with Candlemas, even though the days not only take part on different dates; Imbolc being Feb 1 and Candlemas being Feb 2, they also have different meanings from different backgrounds. Imbolc having pagan roots, while Candlemas is rooted heavily in Christianity.)
The Sabbat is also known as Brigids day, or the day of St. Brigid. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a pagan of any lineage who does not know or revere Brigid as a great Goddess, and Imbolc is the time to worship her more heavily than you may already do. She is the Goddess of the great fire, fertility, light, change, and more. Brigid is one of the few, if only, Goddess to not only survive the rampant colonization of the pagan peoples to Christianity, she even made it into their religious texts as Saint Brigid. Women would call upon or pray to Brigid in labour; to protect mom and child, in extreme change; to burn away your old self in her sacred flame and make way for you to grow anew like a new spring bud, for protection; from the nasty men that walk this Earth.
For the modern-day Wiccan or Neopagan, it is hard for us to build great fires in our home or in our backyards without alerting the fire department or getting ratted out by our nosey neighbors, in order to praise Brigid in a way she so greatly deserves. The simple remedy for this is candles, usually an abundance of them. (Never leave a candle unattended once lit!) There are other great ways to adorn your home or altar for Imbolc and for Brigid as well.
Probably one of the most common crafts of Imbolc, it holds great symbolism and power and can be useful for the entire year until next Imbolc.
The crosses were made and put outside the night before Imbolc in hopes that Brigid would bless them. They are then hung inside next to doors that lead to the outside in hopes that it will bring protection to the hearth and home. Grain cakes should be left outside as an offering to Brigid and for the hungry animals that are suffering from the harsh winter.
The cross was originally made of straw (soaked for 24 hours in water so it was pliable) but anything will work in todays day and age; pipe cleaners working the best if you don’t have time to soak old straw.
Seeing as the Sabbats are all fire festivals, and Imbolc’s main Goddess is one that had her own sacred flame, it only makes sense that making your own candles as part of the day would be a great crafting idea.
Candles made at Imbolc are usually incredibly powerful when blessed on this Sabbat, for anything you can think of. Future Sabbats, spells you always cast, or protection for your upcoming garden project.
I won’t go into detail on how to make candles as there are many different ways to do so, so I suggest going to your local crafting store and asking them for assistance, especially if you don’t want to just make white candles and want candle specific dye!
Seeing as Imbolc is a time for sowing seeds and stripping away the darkness of the harsh winter, here are some ideas for seeds you may wish to sow and reap by Mabon (the time of harvesting.)
-break a bad habit
-a project you wish to start
-something you’d like to achieve
-something you wish to have more of (self-confidence comes to mind.)
The important thing about working such spells at Sabbats is that you have to be open-minded and be able to see the opportunities as they present themselves. They won’t come gift wrapped with a card that says “Love: Imbolc” as great as that would be. Most pagans and witches are great at looking at all the symbolism that grows around them, but new witches may not be able to really see what’s in front of them quite yet. So keep your eyes peeled!
All dairy products
I hope you all have a wonderful Imbolc and use it to your full advantage. I look forward to you all accomplishing great things in your year to come, with all the seeds you sow.
Well so far my eating well and exercise goal is actually sustaining!
I worked out every day from Monday-Friday for at least an hour and I’ve already felt an improvement. I’ve been sleeping better, my skin is clearing up with all the water I’ve been drinking, my digestive/bowel system is incredibly accurate, I feel great!
On Monday I even signed up for the World Wildlife Foundations CN Tower Climb. (That’s right, this witch lives in Canada!) I have two personal goals for the climb;
1. Raise $500 for the WWF at LEAST by Feb 15.
2. Complete the run in 20 minutes or less.
The run itself isn’t until April 7 so I have lots of time to prep.
I also received my Herbal Almanac from Llewelyn Publications this week and began reading and planning a veggie/fruit garden. I’ve learned when to sow certain seeds inside, in the ground, and when to harvest. Next plan is my herbal garden as well as looking into getting succulents. I need more greeeeeeen things in my house and in my life. (Much to my husbands chagrin tee hee.)
We also decided to go to Niagara next weekend and go clubbing and to the casino with his friends, which is a big thing for us. We don’t usually go out anywhere let alone to loud and flashy places. The last time we were at a club together was the night we met, almost 7 years ago… lol but I’m hoping that because his friends are going that he will have a good time and maybe we can both get out of our comfort zones.
That’s all for this week, I hope everyone had a wonderful week and here’s to the one coming!
Never stop learning!
I know it’s already the 6th… I have no excuse.
Since I always have Saturdays off I am going to try my best to write SOMETHING on Saturday mornings.
2017 was a crazy year. Getting married took more out of me than I had expected. I managed to keep my work out routine up until mid-year, and when the summer came and I had more opportunity to do well…nothing, I did just that. I sent a lot of time at home with my wine glass and my cats and the grass. It was a good break but trying to get back into my work out routine through the busy season of massage in December and moving in November, it hasn’t been the most stable. But New Year new me right?
I have many goals for this year. I don’t like to call them resolutions, I feel like people have associated that word with something that you only sort of plan on doing but also are pretty sure they are going to fail. So this is my goal list for 2018;
-take up meditation and meditate more than the month before
-go on a silent meditation retreat in the last half of 2018
-work out every day I’m at work (I work at a gym 5-6 days a week.)
-work more on my spirituality
They seem like pretty simple goals when you think about it, but discipline is hard for some people, myself being one. Working out a couple days out of my shift means I need to be at the gym at 6:30 am which for a lot of people can be a daunting task, myself included. I really hate getting up early when I don’t have to. For the last week of December and the first week of January I have been able to get up and out of bed much easier than I had anticipated and was able to be at the gym between 6:30 and 7am.
Do you have any goals you want to accomplish or take steps to achieve this year? Any long-term goals?
I hope 2018 brings you everything you desire!
I’ve noticed that I talk a lot. About virtually anything I can. Anything that has happened in my day, or that I dreamt about, or that I thought about, and I will tell anyone who will listen.
I often wonder why this is. When I’m alone I think about how I don’t really want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to let people in and let people know me, but then I let that exact thing happen. I let in strangers, and yet I am usually so silent around those who know me best; my friends and family.
Am I a narcissist that just wants to hear my own voice? Do I have an incessive need to be the center of attention? Do I think my thoughts, experiences and opinions are so important that they must be shared with everyone?
No. I don’t think it’s any of those reasons. I think I don’t really want to talk to people and that is why I do.
If I talk to people, if I always have something to interject, maybe they will think I care about the topic and choose to open up to me the way I do with others. If I talk to people they will think I am happy, they won’t know I am struggling sometimes with my own demons and didn’t even want to get out of bed this morning, or that I have to Google what they are talking about so I can say something intelligent and not feel like an idiot for having no idea what the topic is when so many people clearly know what it is about.
Maybe that’s why I chose the career I did in Massage Therapy. I get to be one on one with so many people and learn so many things, but I also don’t have to say a word for a whole hour if I didn’t want to or if they didn’t want me to.
I have come across many people that I think suffer from this same affliction, some speak like I do and some yell so that they are sure to be heard, and I’m sure you the reader will also have come across these people or know someone like that right now. Remember they will probably go home and wonder why they are the way they are, and they will be embarrassed, but they won’t change. Because it is more embarrassing to admit maybe you’re initiating your behaviour as a defence mechanism for something deeper, which would be admitting you may have a problem and potentially come across to not as strong as you have perceived.
You will lead a lonely, empty, half-life if you don’t accept your possible flaws and work on them. You should always be working towards the best possible you.
Today’s Wednesday Witchstagram is _.aura.creux._ !!
Do you have a “name” for your craft? Or do you follow a certain path?
I practice an eclectic mix of the wiccan, hermetican, and thelemic rites of witchcraft, though I study all rites of witchcraft including leviathan satanism and satanism proper, freemasonry, gnosticism, hermetism, the old religion, etc.
How did you find your path? What called you to it?
I don’t think I found my path, at all. It found me; that is to say, it was a natural progression from the key events in my life.
Are you open about it with friends/family?
Yes, I am; though my family has seen my instagram, none of them have really asked me about it. My mother knows that I practice witchcraft, which she experimented in the past with.
Why or why not?
I’m open about it because we live in a day and age free of religious prosecution (for the most part), and by being open I can learn more from other witches who cross my path.
Are there any other crafts, or paths, that you’re interested in exploring?
All of them. I wish to become an incredibly learned scholar of the arcane arts, in all their forms.
What is your favorite thing to do? (Eh; Tarot, crystal work, herb work, or whatever)
I have found that I’m an incredibly powerful enchanter, so enchantments, though draining, are where most of my magical energy goes. I do also so Tatot readings, but I’m nowhere near a professional level.
Do you practice with others or solitaire?
I’ve been high priest in two covens, but nowadays I mostly practice solitarily.
Do you have a favorite author that is your go to for inspiration?
Not particularly, being fairly eclectic I have a large library of wiccan and hermetican works, in addition to much of Crowley’s writing.
Do you have a favorite Instagram/Tumblr/Website you go to for knowledge or inspiration?
Though not a wiccan blog, gaywiccans is a fantastic source for a very open minded page focused on the LGBT community run by a wonderful witch by the name of Alexis
Are you willing to allow others to reach out to you to ask you questions?
Of course! My instagram is _.aura.creux._ for anyone looking to ask questions about any rite of witchcraft, be it wiccan or otherwise.
Where do you hail from? *optional*
A little town by the name of Charlton, Massachusetts, about 50 miles from Salem and 45 from Boston, out near Worcester.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would very much like to become a more active contributor to the Instagram wiccan community, and furthermore to thank you for giving me this opportunity to do so. Blessed be!
I would like to start off this post with a disclaimer:
Massage Therapy is a medical course that teaches you everything about the body right from the cellular level and up, and in Canada the education and regulation of the practice is very strict.
The information following in this post is all encompassing from; my personal training as an RMT, information given to me by my MD, and my own experiences.
The thoughts you are about to read are very personal and may be disturbing to some readers.
I have depression. Diagnosed from my MD and I am taking medication for it.
I believe I have probably been suffering from this since I was at least 16 but at that age you know nothing about mental disorders and find it very hard to accept having one. The all encompassing need to be normal and liked really pushes you as a teen to keep anything “abnormal” or may be seen as such, to yourself.
At 16, I started cutting myself. I’m not really sure where I got the idea. I never watched anything that depicted it, never listened to music that sang about it, never read anything that described it. It was at first my wrists, but the scratches became hard to hide, and so I turned to my thighs. High enough in the summer to hide them when wearing shorts or mimicking cat scratches, and anywhere I wanted in the winter because I was always wearing pants.
Now, let me say this. I have never felt the urge to end my life. People hear about cutting and they immediately think that I must be suicidal. I have never had that thought or that urge. So people always ask, “why would you do it then?”. Back then the answer was “I don’t know, it feels good.” but my truth was that I have depression. Depression is most commonly thought of this intense sadness. You can have depression the emotional state, and clinical depression the mental disorder. You can feel depressed without having depression.
Depression is for me the devoid of feeling. Anything. Sadness, happiness, anger, worth. A devoid of; energy, motivation, adrenaline. For myself, cutting was my way of feeling something, of feeling anything. Reminding myself that I was capable of feeling.
My MD described depression as this;
“Depression is caused by a lack of an enzyme in your brain. Think of your brain as a water tower, and when you have depression, the water tower has a crack. Now, during the day, you use water from the tower and at night the water is refilled (with sleep). When you have that crack, the water is never quite as full as it once was and the body is constantly trying to fill it up. (which is my theory as to why people suffering from depression are always so tired, we’re trying to re-fill the tower.) The problem with depression is that there is no test to figure out which actual enzyme you might be missing. There isn’t one enzyme that causes depression. Anti-depressants act as chameleon enzymes for your brain. They fix the leak and fill in the spaces of the missing enzymes. Sometimes, people can take the anti-depressants for enough time to trick the brain into producing the missing enzyme, therefore curing the disorder. Sometimes they don’t.”
I think it’s a great description, and it made a lot more sense to me when described like this, even as someone in a medical field.
Now the title is depression and tattoos, so what does one have to do with the other? For me personally, they have everything to do with each other.
I have nine tattoos and recently started a relatively large, thigh piece. When asked why there, I started telling people “I always have liked thigh tattoos” or “it’s a good large surface area for art” or “I can still cover it up for 8 months-ish out of the year”. While those are all truths, it is not THE truth. I did it because I have scars I want to forget.
I have fought the part of me that caused me those scars, I am conquering it and I want to be able to look down and not lose my stomach every time I see those little white lines in the sun. No one else would see them at the first, second, or even third glance, but I do. Every time. I want to take the pain I caused myself and those around me and make something beautiful instead.
What really hit home when that tattoo gun hit my skin, was how incredibly similar that tattoo pain felt to cutting, and this is where it clicked for me. I may be on medication that helps me get out of bed, go out and be social, smile, laugh, and be able to say “yes I’m sad but that’s okay, I’ll be happy soon,” but my tattoos are what’s really there to help me feel.
If I go to someone else that has tattoos and we discuss how “addicting” the pain of getting a tattoo is, there’s nothing taboo about it. Every so often I get that itch. Anyone with more than 2 tattoos knows what I’m talking about. The “I NEED to get another tattoo soon or I’m going to go CRAZY” itch. The need to feel those needles on your skin and the patterns and colours they leave behind.
Now try talking to someone about how addicting the pain of cutting is, and everyone gets awkward. It’s awkward to talk about self harm or how good the pain feels when it’s happening. Seeing the lines and the red colour left behind on your skin. The adrenaline flowing through you body as the fight-or-flight reaction tries to set but you just sit there and let it happen. You’re in control of something when you feel you don’t have control over anything else.
When I started to get tattoos (at 18,) my need for cutting greatly diminished. I got lots of tattoos and piercings and the only time I really felt the need to cut was at times of intense emotional stress or chaos in my personal life. The pain of getting inked and having metal shoved through various parts of my body, was bringing me the adrenaline I usually experienced through cutting. Now, this is only my perception, all of these experiences and thoughts are extremely personal to me and may not strike a chord with anyone else on the planet. I may be crazy to 99% of the people that read this. People in a similar situation to mine may say that tattoos feel nothing like cutting, and then some may agree. Who knows?
It has been over 2.5 years since I last felt the need to, or actually picked up a blade. I chose the medicated route because I needed help and I needed it fast or my relationship was going to fall apart. (For any family reading; not coming to you has nothing to do with lack of trust, or love. It in fact, has never had anything to do with you. It’s a very “it’s not you, it’s me” situation.)
I will end with this second disclaimer;
SELF HARM IS NOT OKAY. You are not the first and you won’t be the last that turns to a blade, so you never need to feel that you are alone.
See a medical professional; Medical Doctor, Registered Holistic Nutritionist or Natural Doctor (if you want the organic means of assistance,) or a Psychotherapist.
You are NEVER alone.
You are LOVED.
Always Keep Fighting.
Mental Health Hotline 1-866-531-2600
Crisis Hotline 1-888-609-7353
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255