We celebrated Imbolc at the beginning of August as the first signs of Spring’s awakening were burgeoning around us. We noticed our bulbs; first snowdrops, slowy the jonquils, and then daffodils beginning to bloom, we started to see new lambs and calves in the fields on our drives into town, and blossoms adding colour to roadsides everywhere. The weather was beginning to shift (there was certainly still some cold and even snowy days!) and my thoughts were drawn to our vegetable garden. We went out and bought some new Raspberry canes, strawberry and blueberry plants, and started to prepare the beds and plant the first seeds of the season.
At Imbolc we also honoured Brigit, the goddess of fire and the sacred well.
Prior to the day of celebration we made some rainsticks to encourage the refreshing spring rains (Spring is usually a very wet time of the year here in Tasmania).
When they were dry we did some rain dances with our lovely sounding sticks, and I think it worked!
On the day of Imbolc we shared two rituals together, a light garden and a fire ritual. These beautiful ideas are from Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw and are really lovely rituals to share with children. We prepared our light garden early in the day. We placed soil in a pan and Anusha decorated it with some fresh flowers, we then planted paper seeds with our hopes and plans for the new year written and drawn on them, and placed a candle over each seed. Elki’s hopes included saving up for a tablet and finishing reading Lord of the Rings, Anusha’s were to learn to chop wood better with her axe, learn to read, grow a healthy vegetable garden, and learn to make doll’s clothes, and mine were to learn to knit more complicated knitting patterns, grow an abundant and healthy vegetable garden, see more of Tasmania and do lots of camping, learn to dye with native Tasmanian plants, become a better recorder player, and create more balance in my home life.
We completed the ritual in the evening after the fire ritual. The fire ritual was in contrast to the light garden, in that we wrote or drew anything that we wish we’d done differently during the previous year. We then threw these and some salt into our hearth fire to be clear of our misgivings and create fresh energy for the new year. Following this we all sat around our light garden, lit the candles to bless our hopes, and enjoyed the warmth…..
In the afternoon we thought on Brigit’s inspirational fire and healing waters as we followed a baking meditation, making sweet, sacred serpent bread.
It was much more difficult to hold a peaceful state of mind whilst baking but it was really fun and the children loved the idea of making serpents, they were also really delicious!
Then for our dinner celebration we made vege parcels including delicious toasted seeds to remind us of the awakening seeds in mother earth. Apart from this we also read some Imbolc inspired stories and I learnt a song on the recorder in honour of Brigit, to share with the children (this is as much for me as for them!)
As the year cycled along Spring well and truly arrived and reminded us of the beauty and energy of mother earth. We worked in our garden and began to see new growth emerging, we began to spend more time outdoors enjoying the warming sunshine, more and more colourful flowers bloomed around us, birds sang their joyful tunes, and we were delighted to see the return of our family of Welcome Swallows that migrate north each winter. It is very exciting to notice their return and amazing to think of the long flight they have made and how they always make it back to our little place in Tasmania!
In honour of our Tasmanian winged and animal friends, in the lead up to Eostar we modelled birds, eggs, rabbits, and a lamb from air dry clay (oh, and also some little Pokemon critters :)).
We then wove some nests for our birds from reeds,
painted our modelled figures, and decorated our nature shelf with them.
Eostar morning is one of the children’s favourite of the year. We woke to a beautiful day and headed outside for our Eostar hunt and ritual. We held the same ritual as last year, casting a circle around our hunt site, welcoming each direction, and calling in the Spring goddess, god, and Eostar rabbit. Then the hunt began, and the children headed straight for Eostar’s altar where they knew they would find offerings to take in return for an offering of one of their found treasures.
Then after closing our circle we headed inside to prepare for our celebratory lunch down at the river, while the children ate way too much sugar! At lunch time we set off with our picnic to enjoy the sunny equinox afternoon.
For lunch we shared Eostar inspired salad nests with tofu fritters,
and coconut and raspberry sandwiches, in honour of eggs with their hard outer shell and treasure inside!
We then basked in the sunshine, Elki actually braved the water (which was still freezing!), toasted vegan marshmallows on a fire (the children’s first ever try of vegan marshmallows gifted by the Eostar rabbit), and the children rock hopped up the river.
After returning home we spent the rest of the afternoon outside. The children played, we recalled our Imbolc hopes for the year, and poured the earth and seeds from our light garden into our vege garden. In the evening we snuggled on the lounge by the fire and I read the story of Ishtar’s Decent Into the Underworld as the light of this day of balance was enveloped by darkness.