Monday, February 7, 2011

Half Way 'Til Spring

I was hoping to do a post on the lore behind Imbolc, but I guess that will have to wait til next year. Instead I have been really busy the last little while painting, cleaning the house, and do all sorts of other things in preparation for and in celebration of Imbolc.

While across the pond the first stirrings of Spring must be happening by now, we are only half way through the deep freeze of our Northern Ontario Winter.But according to a few groundhogs, including Shubenacadie Sam and Wiarton Willie, it might just come early this year. If you ask me, it can't come soon enough!

I painted my kitchen, which was a pain in the arse, but the new colour is luverly, methinks.

I also cleaned the house from to to bottom. I made a "spiritual cleaning tea" with a mix of plant pretties that have excellent magical cleaning and protective properties. Below is the recipe:

Sweet woodruff, rowan berries, birch bark {fallen!}, juniper berries, cedar, lemon balm, peppermint, sweetfern, thyme, dandelion root, witch hazel, st john's wort, and sage. Boil water and pour over ingredients in a glass jar. Let it steep for a few hours. Drain liquid through cheese cloth {and I put the plant stuff in the compost after}. Mix tea in with cider vinegar and keep in a clean jar. It can be refrigerated for about 3 months no problem. To use mix with 3 parts water in a spray bottle.

On the eve of Imbolc I got our altar set up and ready for our ritual the next day. Before going to bed I left some colcannon and whiskey outside as an offering and a piece of ribbon in for Brigid to bless.

I got up in the hours before dawn {best cure for too much whiskey the night before: strong coffee and a cold shower!} to get everything else ready for the day. I baked bairín breac to be used as offerings with a little left over for us to nom. I also scored some local homemade Amish butter for the same purpose, and of course the obligatory whiskey and honey too.

I have been promising a couple of our blog readers for some altar peektures for a while now, and looky, I am finally living up to that promise. ;)
{Deities' altar}
{Brigid's altar, which is temporary} {Ancestral altar}
I did the house blessing ritual that I usually do on the cross quarter days and I also made a new rowan and red thread charm. This one is just a very simple one of bunched leaves and berries and I hung it over the house door way.
Oh, I suppose I should mention that this bunch was found on the ground by a tree that is in one of the places I frequent for wildcrafting. It is traditionally bad form {and bad luck!} to cut a rowan outside of the "two days of Bealtaine", which I am in agreement with Seren of Tairis who thinks that this is between the new date of Bealtaine {May 1st} and the old {probably May 5th}. As she points out as well, there seems to be no lore against picking the berries outside of this time.



Hertha said...

You have a beautiful home! Would you mind explaining your altars a bit?

nefaeria said...

Thanks! :) What is it that you would like to know?

Medusae said...


Those are beautiful pictures!

What colour is your kitchen - is that a lilac? Periwinkle? Hard to tell on the monitor.

I love the way you've decorated: the goat and terrorist cards are amusing ^.^

Needless to say, your altars are gorgeous!

Thanks for the photos - they're so inspiring!

Allanna uth Sameth said...

I'm so astonished about your altar. It's amazing!
I think that painting your kitchen was a good idea to welcome the spring times that are starting soon ^^

I hope that Brigid would have heard your blessings. Luckily she did mines.

Greetings of a follower from barcelona ^^

Hertha said...

I am very nosy! I was wondering about the skull boxes in picture 3 and the layout of the one in picture 1.

nefaeria said...

Medusae: Thanks! :D The colour is called "Versailles", and I would say that it is more of a perriwinkle. It's not quite up there with eggplant and fuchsia as far as my favourite colours go, but I hearts it! :)

Allanna: Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words! :)

Hertha: Hehe, if you are nosey than so am I! I have a thing for peeking in on other folks' altars and sacred spaces. You should check out Ms. Graveyard Dirt & Carolina Gonzalez {you can find them in the "Blogs" section. Real eye candy! :D

The top skull box is my spirit box and the one below it holds my tarot and oracle decks. The set up in the foreground of the first photo is just a temporary altar for Imbolc {it is on a trunk that I tuck under the table behind it and use it for rituals as needed} and the one in the background is set up for our household Deities {and has a spot for the rest of the Irish pantheon as well}. The part with the horse statue to the crow peekture is for Macha, the middle for Airmid, and the part with the deer antler is for Flidais.

Bek said...

Looking lovely there gal! I do love a spring clean :)

The rowan charm is so pretty, as is your kitchen - did you add the wooden beams(?)?

nefaeria said...

Thanks beks! :) Those beams were there before I moved in. I am pretty sure that they are support beams. I wish that they were both nekkid wood, but the one I painted over had a horrible white over it already. :(

Anonymous said...

absolutely love the ancestor altar~! =3