Celebrating Imbolc With Kids

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Celebrating Imbolc With Kids

Child and snow
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Imbolc is a festival of fire and light - it's one of the cross quarter days - and falls on February 2 in the northern hemisphere (it'll be on August 1 if you're one of our readers below the equator). This the time when winter is beginning to wind down, but it's still cold and snowy; spring is looming around the corner, but isn't quite here yet. In some magical traditions, this is the season of the goddess Brighid, who keeps the hearth fires burning and watches over domestic life and the home. If you're raising kids in a Pagan tradition, there are a ton of ways you can get them involved and make them more mindful of what it is your family believes and does.

Here are five easy ways you can celebrate Imbolc with your children this year!

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Celebrate Hearth and Home

Girl at fireplace
Rebecca Nelson / Getty Images

This is a season in which we're often stuck indoors - after all, it's cold and snowy, and sometimes the temperatures outside are downright dangerous. It's the time of year when we embrace comfort food, burrow into our couches under a pile of blankets, and hibernate just a little bit. However, just because you can't go outside doesn't mean you can't still observe the Imbolc season. This is a time of hearth and home, remember, so why not include that theme in your practice?

For many of us, the kitchen is the center of ritual activity, especially at Imbolc - after all, Brighid is the hearth goddess associated with cooking and family life - so if you don't have a family kitchen altar, now is a good time to invite your kids to set one up. It doesn't have to be huge, because, after all, you still need room for meal prep. Just select a small corner or spot on the counter to serve as you altar space. Your children can add a statue or symbol of Brighid or the hearth goddess of your own tradition, and a small bowl or cauldron. Consider using a small wooden cutting board to serve as your kitchen altar; this way, if you need to move things out of the way, you can just pick up the board and move everything at once.

If you're fortunate enough to have a fireplace, you and your children can do a hearth blessing together on Imbolc, as you light your fire. Use a simple blessing like:

Hearth and home, home and hearth,
welcoming close our family and friends.
Home and hearth, hearth and home,
the light returns as winter ends.

When you extinguish or dampen the fire, use another blessing or prayer, like Smooring the Fire.

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Imbolc Craft Projects

St. Brigit's Cross
Richard Goerg / Getty Images

When it's too cold and windy to get outside and have fun, why not work your way through the fallow time by getting creative? If you've got kids, craft projects are a great way to celebrate the Imbolc season and get the magic of inspiration growing.

Make a Brighid's cross to hang on your wall or door. The Brighid's Cross takes many forms in different parts of Ireland, and is used to symbolize the goddess herself. It may be pre-Christian in origin, despite its appearance, and although you can buy inexpensive versions in Irish craft stores, it's easy enough to make your own. Traditionally made with wheat stalks, the cross represents Brighid in her aspect as a hearth goddess. If your children are small, you can make one of these with chenille stems or even construction paper.

A Brighid's crown combines this Celtic goddess' position as firekeeper with that of fertility goddess. Make this crown as an altar decoration, or leave off the candles and hang it on your door for the season. For smaller kids, they're fun to wear!

Since Imbolc is also known as Candlemas, this is a great time of year to make your own candles and firestarters. Candles aren't hard to make, and ice candles are especially fun. Use soy wax instead of paraffin to keep this project safe for younger kids. If your family enjoys a blazing fire during the winter, firestarters come in handy. Be sure to provide plenty of adult supervision.

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Family Altar Time

Snow Joy
Gandee Vasan / Getty Images

You can start by setting up a family altar for Imbolc. Include the colors of the season - white for a blanket of snow, red for the rising sun, and green for the goddess Brigid. Add a few potted seedlings, since Imbolc is a harbinger of the spring to come. Even very young children can help plant seedlings in pots. If you've got the space, have your children add small toys that represent animals associated with spring, such as lambs, baby chicks, and a calf or two.

Be sure to put candles - or other symbols of light - on your altar, but follow basic safety precautions if you've got little ones around. Say daily prayers and devotionals at your altar, and make sure you include the kids! Make offerings to Brighid, or other hearth goddesses of your family's tradition, that are appropriate to the season. Eggs, milk, and other dairy items are perfect to leave out for the goddesses this time of year.

Parenting Tip: Let your kids decorate glass pillar candles for Imbolc, with symbols of the season. Use acrylic paints, glitter glue, or permanent markers to create designs honoring the hearth, home, and family.

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Mark the End of Winter

Snow Blossoms
Hiroshi Watanabe / Getty Images

You can also mark the Imbolc sabbat by doing a family ritual to celebrate the end of winter. The best time to do this is when you have a fresh layer of snow on the ground, but if that's not possible, never fear. Find a big pile of snow to work in. Try to time the rite so you begin it just before dinner—you can actually start it while your meal is cooking.

Add in a simple Imbolc meditation as well, if your kids are old enough to sit still for a few minutes. This time of year, we're all feeling a little bit squirrelly because we've been stuck inside, so a meditation ritual is a good way to get the whole family feeling a little more grounded as you think about the good things to come in the approaching spring.

Get everyone—parents and kids alike—involved in this house cleansing ceremony. Pick a bright sunny day to do a through clean sweep, both physical and spiritual, and then invite the kids to join you in a blessing of your home.

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Imbolc Magic

Child and snow
Diana Kraleva / Getty Images

Imbolc is a time of magical energy related to the feminine aspect of the goddess, of new beginnings, and of fire. It's also a good time to focus on divination and increasing your own magical gifts and abilities. Take advantage of these concepts, and plan your workings accordingly. Make a small Brighid's cross or other talisman to hang in the kitchen or over the mantel as a blessing for your home and hearth. 

If it's warm enough to get outside—you may have to bundle up!—go on a nature walk and see what signs of spring your children can spot. Are there birds returning yet? Have the built their nests? What plants are beginning to appear from the frozen ground? Talk about how this ties into themes of rebirth and new beginnings.

Try a bit of simple divination for the season with a pendulum - this is an easy method for children to use, because it's focused on Yes or No answers. You can make your own by hanging any sort of heavy object - a ring, stone, or even a seashell - on a string or chain. Be sure to work with your kids to make sure they don't jiggle the chain when they're trying to find answers with their pendulum! Make a divination board, let the kids decorate it as they wish, and ask questions about the upcoming year.

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Wigington, Patti. "Celebrating Imbolc With Kids." ThoughtCo, Jan. 3, 2018, thoughtco.com/celebrating-imbolc-with-kids-4118557. Wigington, Patti. (2018, January 3). Celebrating Imbolc With Kids. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/celebrating-imbolc-with-kids-4118557 Wigington, Patti. "Celebrating Imbolc With Kids." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/celebrating-imbolc-with-kids-4118557 (accessed March 24, 2018).