Catherine Thoms

Catherine Thoms

Celebrating Imbolc

Imbolc is one of several major seasonal holidays featured in the Briarverse books and shares much of its traditional significance in the pagan and Celtic holidays celebrated in the mundane world. Halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, Imbolc is a celebration of spring. It marks a turning point in the calendar year—notice already that the days are growing longer, leaving a little extra light than we had before. 

In the Briarverse, Imbolc also marks the re-awakening of the magimystic. The time between Samhain and Imbolc represents a quiet stillness in which the magic in our world is at rest, as those of us in the Northern Hemisphere hunker down and refocus our energies on getting through winter.

With Imbolc, we allow the magic to permeate our lives again. The day marks a shift in time and energy, allowing us to open ourselves to the possibility of being and doing more with the newfound flow of magic inherent to the spring season. As such, we plan our celebrations accordingly, to mark the auspiciousness of the day!

In The Monarch Papers, you may remember that the Cagliostro scheduled his final performance for January 31st, 2017. The date’s significance was deliberate—he performed the Last Translation after sundown, in the liminal hours of magimystic transition. This first surge of power at the “dawn of the magimystic” allowed the Cagliostro to perform his most astounding feat, choosing Lauren as his successor.

Now, not all of us can mark the day by taking on the mantle of a centuries-old magimystic entity, but there are plenty of other small ways you can celebrate this turning point in magimystic potential. 

Traditional Imbolc celebrations often pay homage to the hearth and home and involve lighting a fire or a candle to honor the lengthening light. If you’ve received your Imbolc candle, well, this is precisely what it’s for! 

“I infused the Imbolc candle with birch branch, fresh sea moss, green leaves, candle smoke, and incense; scents inspired by the traditions of this holiday.” — Author and AG Alchemy Master Chandler, C.J. Bernstein

Light your AG Alchemy candle, or any other favorite candle, and take a few moments to reflect with gratitude on its light and your hopes for the coming season.

Imbolc is also a perfect opportunity to do some spring cleaning, both of yourself and your space. Run a bath infused with your favorite herbs, or use a favorite scrub in the shower to wash away the tired remnants of the darker months. Clear your surfaces of clutter and bring yourself to remember their purpose with intention: a clean desk will help you focus and produce better work; a clear nightstand will encourage more restful sleep. 

Imbolc is a day to give yourself a chance to harness the energy you seek from the season’s changing, the influx of light, warmth, and magic. 

For this reason, any way you choose to mark the occasion will be worthy and valid. We’d love to hear about and see photos of whatever else you’re doing to prepare for spring, especially if you have photos of your altars or candles! Sharing in this magic with you makes the day that much more special, and we wish you abundant strength and inspiration for the season ahead.