by Scott Cunningham
A symbol of the season, such as a representation of a snow flake, a white flower, or perhaps some snow in a crystal container can be placed on the altar. An orange candle anointed with musk, cinnamon, frankincense or rosemary oil, unlit, should also be there. Snow can be melted and used for the water during the circle casting. Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle. Recite the Blessing Chant. Invoke the Goddess and God. Say such words as the following:
"This is the time of the feast of torches,
when every lamp blazes and shines
to welcome the rebirth of the God.
I celebrate the Goddess,
I celebrate the God;
all Earth celebrates
Beneath its mantle of sleep."
Light the orange taper from the red candle on the altar (or at the Southern point of the circle). Slowly walk the circle clockwise, bearing the candle before you. Say these or simular words:
"All the land is wrapped in winter.
The air is chilled and frost envolopes the Earth.
But Lord of the Sun,
Horned One of animals and wild places,
unseen you have been reborn of the
gracious Mother Goddess,
Lady of all fertility.
Hail Great God!
Hail and welcome!"
Stop before the altar, holding aloft the candle. Gaze at its flame. Visualize your life blossoming with creativity, with renewed energy and strength. If you need to look into the future or past, now is an ideal time. Works of magic, if necessary, may follow. Celebrate the Simple Feast (Cakes and Ale). The circle is released.
It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house - if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honor of the Sun's rebirth. Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimmney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window. If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow. Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine. Spicy and full-bodied foods in honor of the Sun are equally attuned. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins - all foods symbolic of the Sun - are also traditional.
Book of Shadows © 2001, Dana (Huntress of the Dark)