Psychology of Self-Care Using a Pagan / Wiccan Imbolc Solitary Ritual Guide as a Case Study

What is self-care?

Self-care is any activity that you do not because you necessarily need to do it but because it pleases you; such as lighting a candle. Did you know that the sales of candles has dramatically increased in the past five years? As more people take to social media and see other talking about self-care, trad media talking about it and as people educate themselves more; we do an activity but now make it "special." We all need to exercise but if we do yoga and light a candle, mindfully with a set goal of having a good yoga session, then this is an example of self-care. We are reminding ourselves of our objectives, goals, and hopes as an attempt to extrapolate what we want and try to get how we live to match what we want.

Put simply - We are starting to include rituals around the practice of daily chores by stating "this is special because it honors me."

“There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.” ~Brian Andreas

Let's start with an activity that is essentially about lighting a candle.  This ritual brings in a more nature based element; one of the age-old rites of celebrating the seasons, the moon, and elements.

Skip part one and read all of part two. Imagine that you carried out all of these step, did you begrudge carrying out this exercise? Did it mean anything for you? Do you feel relaxed or frustrated?

Now read part one. Think about it for a moment. Now reflect on part two and imagine if you were to carry out these instructions knowing that they meant something and were celebrating a new season; It is only when you name something that it has meaning. Anyone read The Neverending Story? It was only when the Empress was given a name that The Great Nothing was stopped. So by "naming" or understanding the why can we atone meaning. And this meaning is magick.

Essentially, what I am eluding at here is that you can drink a glass of water, raise a toast to the sunshine to thank it for light and this is self-care. 

Many thanks to The Wiccan Way for this detailed guide.

 

Wiccan Imbolc Sabbat Solitary Ritual Guide

 

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PART ONE

The Wheel of the Year – The Turning of the Seasons

IMBOLC, a Celtic Fire Festival, is a time of reawakening, a lighting of the way to new hope as the first quickening of the earth heralds the beginning of Spring. The flame of the candle is a testimony to transformation and the power of the spirit. It is a time of cleansing and purification. It is the opportunity to expunge the things that may stand in the way of our goals and to prepare ourselves for initiation or rededication to deeper spirituality. Now is the time when we sow the seeds of our life. This sabbat honors Bird (or Bride), the goddess of inspiration, healing, and smithcraft. Goddess of sacred wells, goddess of fire and the hearth, Her inspiration leads us to truth; Her waters heal us; Her flame burns in our hearts. Significant symbols include the Sacred Flame, the making of Brid’s Cross, candle lighting ceremony using white candles, seeds. 

Imbolc originated as a Gaelic festival that celebrated the beginning of spring. Until today, it falls at the midpoint between the winter and spring equinox, usually around Feb. 1. The word “imbolc” refers to sheep’s milk in Old Irish. During ancient times, lactating ewes represented one of the first signs of spring.

Imbolc is also called Brigid’s Day, referring to the Celtic goddess of fertility (later canonized in Catholic tradition) who was reborn on Imbolc from the crone of winter to the maiden of spring. Brigid represents regeneration, livestock and light. Pagans honor her memory during this time by lighting candles and hearth fires and celebrating the sun’s rays.

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PART TWO

Setup and Materials 

Light Green Taper Goddess Candle
Light Yellow Taper God Candle
Brass cauldron filled with snow/crushed Ice
Small White Pillar Candle
Potpourri Holder
Tea Lite
Basil, Bay, Heather Flowers, Cinnamon and Vanilla Potpourri Blend

Sweep area, moving in deosil direction. Place the light green taper Goddess candle to the top left of altar and the light yellow taper God candle to the top right of altar. Place the tea lite in the bottom of potpourri holder, and put holder at front center of the altar. Place white pillar candle in the middle of the cauldron, fill cauldron about 1"-2" with snow or crushed ice, and position on floor in front of altar. Put the container with potpourri where it can be reached easily. 

Casting the Circle 

Cast the circle by holding out your athame in your projective hand and tracing over the area in a clockwise direction. As you trace over the area envision flames of pure white rising up along the perimeter. When the beginning and the end join the circle is complete. Step up to the cauldron and light the white pillar candle, saying: 

"Amidst the darkness the Lady is stirring,
Gently awakening from frozen dreams,
All the world has awaited this moment The return of the Maiden,
And Her promise of oncoming Spring."
 

Invocation of the Elements 

Call Quarters. As this is a time to honor Mother Earth as she wakes from her winter's recovery of giving rebirth to the Sun King at Yule, start with North, the element Earth. Pick up the container of potpourri, step up to the altar and pour some into the holder, saying: 

"Earth with molten core of light,
With strength and purpose, inspire my rite.
Powers of Earth, the Maiden awakens!
Come join the circle and share in the light.
Oh Spirit of Earth, be within me!"
 

Ring the bell three times. 

"Oh great Goddess and God,
All nature vibrates with Your energies
And the Earth is bathed with warmth and life.
Now is time of forgetting past cares and banes,
Now is the time for purification.
Oh fiery Sun,
Burn away the non-useful, the hurtful, the bane,
In Your glorious power.
Purify me! Purify me! Purify me!"
 

Put the container back where it was. Light the candle at the North point of the circle. Continue, by waving your hand over the potpourri as if to create a breeze on which to carry the scent, saying: 

"Winds of East, fan flames of light
To fire my thoughts, inspire my rite.
Powers of Air, the Maiden awakens!
Come join the circle and share in the light.
Oh Spirit of Air, be within me!"
 

Light the candle at the East point of the circle. Light the tea candle in the bottom of the potpourri holder, saying: 

"Fires of South, burn high, burn bright.
Charge my will, inspire my rite.
Powers of Fire, the Maiden awakens!
Come join the circle and share in the light.
Oh Spirit of Fire, be within me!"
 

Light the candle at the South point of the circle. Pour some water into the holder with the potpourri, saying: 

"Waves that reflect the fiery light
Flow with compassion, inspire my rite.
Powers of Water, the Maiden awakens!
Come join the circle and share in the light.
Oh Spirit of Water, be within me!"
 

Light the candle at the West point of the circle. Take the white pillar candle from the cauldron and invoke the Goddess and the God by lighting the light green Goddess candle and the light yellow God candle with the white pillar candle, saying: 

"Be with me now, oh Ancients, eternal,
Hear now my prayers, hopes and dreams.
The Goddess has wakened, once more as the Maiden
By loving caresses from the strengthened Sun King."
 

Place the white pillar candle back in the cauldron. 

"The Earth now grows warmer, as the Wheel again turns
And as each passing day adds strength, To the Sun King's rays
The Maiden, of his gift of life, now silently does yearn. 

Behold the God and Goddess,
Lord of the Forest and his Bride,
Once again the Earth is blessed
With life anew inside.
Seeds shall soon begin to sprout
And creatures shall young bear
For this is the Promise, the Cycle of Life
That is born of the love They share."
 

Now is the time for meditation and any spell workings. Spell workings associated with Imbolc include those for fertility, defining and focusing on goals for the future, organization, health, and protection. 

Ceremony of the Cakes and Wine 

"I bless these cakes in the name of the Lord,
the Horned God, the Sun King
Bless these cakes in your name.
As I say so mote it be. 

I bless this wine in the name of the Lady,
the Triple Goddess, the Witch Queen
Bless this wine in your name
As I say so mote it be."
 

The Closing of the Circle 

Thank the God and Goddess for Their presence and snuff their candles. Thank and release the Quarters, saying: 

"Though you leave this circle, tonight,
Water, Fire, Air, and Earth
Your symbols shall linger on a while
Blessing my home and hearth.
The herbs that scent this room tonight,
Were chosen with loving care,
To bless me, my family and my friends,
And my sisters and brothers everywhere."
 

Step back from the altar and face the cauldron with the white pillar candle still burning brightly saying: 

"I honor Thee, Maiden, most blessed Bride
As your candle burns through this night
And thank you for the renewed life you offer us all
As you emerge from the dark to the light."
 

Release the circle. Clean up, place the cauldron from the floor onto the middle of the altar. Let the candle burn out by itself. Place the potpourri in a spot where its scent and blessings fill the house. 
 

 

 

Imbolc Incense #1

  • 3 parts frankincense
  • 2 parts dragon's blood
  • 1/2 part red sandalwood
  • 1 part cinnamon
  • a few drops red wine
  • To this mixture add a pinch of the first flower (dried) that is available in your area at the time of Imbolc.

Imbolc Incense #2

  • 1 part willow wood
  • 1 part rowan berries
  • 2 parts benzoin
  • 1/2 part lily of the valley
  • 1/2 part periwinkle

Imbolc Oil #1

  • 1/4 oz almond oil
  • 10 drops orange oil
  • 9 drops siberian fir oil
  • 5 drops frankincense oil
  • 5 drops carnation oil
  • 5 drops primrose oil
  • 5 drops ginger oil
  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 4 drops nutmeg oil
  • To the bottle add: dried orange flowers, garnet

Imbolc Oil #2

  • 2 drops jasmine oil
  • 2 drops rose oil
  • 2 drops chamomile oil
  • 2 drops lemon oil
  • 2 drops lavender oil
  • 1/8 oz. base oil

Imbolc Potpourri

  • 1 cup oakmoss, dried
  • 2 cups dried heather
  • 2 cups dried wisteria
  • 1 cup dried yellow tulip petals
  • 1/2 cup dried basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped bayleaves
  • 45 drops musk or myrrh oil