Sunday, January 28, 2018

Imbolc candle ceremony for setting an intention

Even though the ancient pagan festival of Imbolc begins the evening of February 1st, and marks the heart of winter, it is also a fire ceremony that marks the return of the light.  Because my birthday is in early February, for many years I have honored this cross-quarter day of Imbolc by creating a candle ceremony to set my intention for the year.  Here is how I prepare and what I do.  This year I am sharing my small ceremony with friends, which is why you are seeing nine of everything.

I begin by trimming a birthday candle to a size that will burn for about 5 minutes, and fit this into  a small plastic holder so it will remain upright for the time it is alight.

I want something tasty to "receive" the energy of my intention, so this year I am melting chocolate, oats and honey to fill candy cups. At the conclusion of the ceremony I will certainly eat my good intentions.

The candy cups required a second one for added stiffness, and the chocolate got dribbled around, but most of it made it into the forms.  Jiggling the cups causes everything to settle nicely.

Once the chocolate has begun to stiffen, I press a candle into each center.  Some take a bit of fiddling to keep them nicely vertical until the chocolate is firm.

The next part of the preparation certainly appeals to my inner child.  I purchase a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg with a little toy inside, but I don't open it yet.

I begin the ceremony by clearing my thoughts, bringing my body to quiet, smoothing my emotions.
I light the candle with the sentence:  "This is my intention for the year." (It is also possible to use a different focus for the intention.  You might want to finish the sentence this way:  This is my intention for this relationship or this new job or this next step.)

I meditate gazing at the flame. When the candle goes out--the word, phrase or image I hear in my head or see in the smoke is my intention.  Just that.  No editing, adding or deleting.

The ceremony is as simple as it is profound.  I just watch the candle flame, trying not to anticipate,  project, or plan what will happen.  I only have two requirements:  Don't miss seeing the small puff of white smoke when the candle goes out.  Don't edit whatever I hear or see.

After I write in my journal exactly what I heard or saw, I open the Kinder Surprise.  The little toy is my guidance to realizing my intention.  Its creatures and their actions are a visual oracle telling me how to proceed, and who will help.  And like all oracle cards and processes,  meaning can hide in plain sight.

These two mice on a teeter-totter over a flowing milk jug was an oracle for an Ombolc candle ceremony some time ago, when I asked "What is my intention this year for the Journey Oracle divination deck that I have just completed ?" 

I understood the jug was the Oracle deck itself, and the milk was the nourishing flow of inner wisdom set in motion with oracle card readings.  But who are the mice?  One fat and one thin.  For me these are the successes and anxieties of promoting and marketing the Journey Oracle, the ups and downs of attention and isolation.  The teeter-totter especially seems to represent the emotional highs and lows--because of its bright red color--of trying to bring the Journey Oracle out into the world .  Interesting that the fat mouse is in the narrow seat, and the thin mouse is in the wide seat.

 Keep everything in balance.  Keep moving. Don't fall off.  Pretty good advice from a plastic toy.

Happy Imbolc from the Journey Oracle.