Imbolc is the season of awakening in the northern hemisphere.
In Old Irish, this means ‘in the belly’ and is thought to refer to the pregnancy of ewes during this time, the beginning of the lambing season. Another interpretation of Imbolc derives from Imfholc, which means 'in the cleanse', folc is 'wash' or 'cleanse' in Gaelic.
Symbolically this represents new beginnings, new life. Plants start redirecting energy towards their roots, deepening attachments with the earth in preparation for their emergence, days lengthen and we slowly awaken from the dreamtime of the Winter Solstice. This is a wonderful time to set intentions of reconnecting with friends and family as well as a time for spiritual growth.
Imbolc's timing has been significant to Ireland since the Neolithic period since several passage tombs are aligned with the sunrise on this date.
Imbolc is also connected to the Irish Goddess Brigid. In Irish mythology, Brigid or Bríg (“Breej”) is from the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of gods and goddesses who ruled Ireland from 1897 -1700 BC.
"Brigit—a poetess, daughter of the Dagda. This is Brigit the female sage or woman of wisdom, Brigit the goddess whom the Filí used to worship for very great and very splendid was her application to art. Brigit, the female physician, woman of leechcraft, (the art of healing), Brigit woman of smithcraft, from whose names almost all of the Irish used to call, Brigit a goddess. Brigit, then, 'a fiery arrow'."
She is also the goddess of fertility.
To facilitate your connections with self, others, the planet and the metaphysical, below are some plants (and fungi) that can serve as mediators.
In ancient times aromatic trees and herbs were offered to deities, mostly as incense. Their smoke was believed to carry wishes of good health to the gods and goddesses.
Chaga, a medicinal mushroom, is thought to decalcify the pineal gland, affecting cognition, deepening our sense of knowing, and enhancing intuitive thought. Metaphysically it is linked to the eye chakra or third eye. Reishi is another mushroom that can nourish spiritual purpose, helping you to find your inner self, facilitating connections with others.
Rose helps us create healthy boundaries while filling our hearts with calming energy. Violet promotes a feeling of belonging, teaching us who we are. Damiana helps drop us into our bodies and our connection with the planet while preparing us for meaningful conversation so we can show up as our full selves. Calendula helps us balance warmth and receptivity through the spoken word.
For those interested in studying Herbalism with a Trained Herbalist and Former Registered Nurse, registration for classes is now open. More details here.
In celebration of Imbolc, I'm offering 10% off of all of our Organic Plant-Based products on our website. Use the code IMBOLCSEASON, now through February 9th. The discount cannot be applied to the Herbalism training.