For many centuries, herbalism has been associated with paganism and ‘the craft’. Just as crystals are associated with types of energy and have their own specific properties, plants and herbs have their own attributes as well.
Considering back then, they were easier to obtain than gemstones, plants and herbs were commonly used during the numerous pagan festivals as offerings and to invoke the blessings of the season. Imbolc is the next festival on the pagan calendar. It falls on February 2nd and marks the celebration of the upcoming spring.
This festival has many meanings. Since it is associated with the upcoming spring, Imbolc celebrates birth and rebirth. It is a time of purification and to shed the old to make way for the new. Following rebirth, at this time, the goddess transforms from Crone to Maiden. Many virgin goddesses were honored during Imbolc, as the virgin signifies the beginning. From a celestial standpoint, Imbolc is the halfway point between the Winter’s Solstice and Spring Equinox. It is the return of the sun, and many Imbolc traditions recognize this.
With the many different ways one can celebrate Imbolc, many different types of herbs are associated with this festival. Here are five Imbolc herbs that require no elaborate trips to the herbal shops. Most of them can be found at a grocery store if not already in your pantry!
Basil has many uses, from displacing negative energies to attracting love. It is associated with the sun and the element of fire, therefore making it an ideal herb to use for Imbolc. Use it in spells associated with the sun. Basil also can be used in purification rituals, cleansing and removing energies, another side to the Imbolc festival.
Also associated with the sun and fire element, Bay Leafs can be used as offerings to the sun. They bring good luck and prosperity, so with Imbolc being a time of rebirth, Bay Leafs offer good fortune with the upcoming year. Write down your wish for the upcoming year on a bay leaf and burn it to make the wish come true. Bay Leafs are another herb good for healing and purification rituals. Burn the leaf and use the smoke to cleanse yourself and your possessions.
Heather connects to the feminine energies of the goddess, and invokes fertility and healing. It is a good herb for rejuvenation and cleansing spells. Since Heather is uncommon to find, typically sold at speciality shops, opt for Heather herbal tea for your magic spells and rituals.
Another herb connecting with the sun and fire, Rosemary is good for sun rituals as well as purification spells. It wards off negativity and encourages happiness and good fortune within the home. Add to a bath for cleansing, or bake into a bread for a solar offering.
This herb connects to the sun and offers purification and prosperity for the upcoming spring. Commonly sold as an herbal tea, you can use this as your liquid for your chalice, the sacred pagan representation of the woman/feminine energies.