Imbolc starts at sunset on February 1 and goes until sunset on February 2. Yep. It’s Groundhog Day.
It’s also the halfway point of Winter. We’re on the backstretch now, and Spring is in view. In Wicca, it’s one of the eight Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year, and we celebrate the Goddess Brigid. In Catholicism, it’s the Feast of St. Brigid. February 2 is Candlemas, the holy day celebrating the presentation of the baby Jesus at the temple.
As a Christopagan, I make my own rituals to incorporate both Wicca and Christianity. I’m still learning, and most of my rituals are really horrible, awkward FUBARs. My first Imbolc was no different.
Hubby and stepson were off playing a tabletop game of Werewolf: the Apocalypse, and I shut the dogs up in the living room. I started with a ritual cleansing bath, which encompassed white candles, amethyst, turquoise, and dried lavender sprinkled into the water, and soft, instrumental music (which turned out to be the soundtrack from ESO). After an initial scare while sitting in a tub full of dried lavender and starting to sneeze, the bath was actually really nice.
And then I got out of the tub.
Unfortunately, I butchered the ritual. I usually do. I haven’t been doing this long, and I’m doing it alone, which means I have no one to learn from. Every single piece of knowledge I have, I got off the internet, so when I say I’m winging it, I really am.
I started off Imbolc by forgetting to plan ahead and add my Christian deities into the ritual. Then I forgot to ground and center. THEN I forgot how to call the Quarters! Jeezy peasy!! I did a candle ritual wherein I light seven candles, but one of the candles–and it just happened to be the first candle I tried to light–wouldn’t light. It never did light, and I just said, “Oh, well, I’ll pretend my altar candle is one.” I have stories like this from every single Sabbat I’ve done since I started about a year ago. Part of me wants to say, “I’m going to get this shit right if it kills me,” but the other part is scared it actually might.
I think one major problem I had tonight was that there is some really bad energy in and around my house right now. The house behind us burned down on Tuesday, and the owner’s three dogs were killed. Plus, I haven’t been feeling well and didn’t get the house cleaned like I had wanted to. My stepson is home for the weekend, and he and hubby were arguing about politics right before they left to go play WtA. And I had a headache. Woo hoo! With all that, I just was not in the head space for healing and renewal.
On the plus side, I am getting better at it. I’m getting more comfortable reciting rituals, setting up my altar, and just being in my own skin when working with it. I’m also making progress on my book of shadows and learning more with every disastrous Sabbat. And it turns out I wasn’t allergic to the lavender.
I feel you. I’ve been doing Christo-Paganism ‘properly’ since at least 2008, and from what I remember I have yet to lead or perform a ritual where I didn’t miss a step, or do things in the wrong order, or forget the words and make something up. It doesn’t exactly get easier, but I’ve learned to mind it less and laugh about it more.
If you haven’t come across it yet, John Beckett has just posted this, which may help:
It’s a comfort to know someone is in the same boat as me! Thanks for the link. That will help a lot. I think one of the hardest things for me when starting a ritual is the fear that I will do something wrong, and that anxiety ultimately leads to doing just that.