I celebrate Imbolc as the festival of the flame – the domestic hearth fire, so crucial at this cold time of year, as well as the fire of the Sun as the days increase in length. Both of these fall under the auspices of the goddess Brighid. She is called ‘daughter of the bear’ as she comes after the first rising of the star Arcturus the Bear Keeper over the horizon at Imbolc. She is born at sunrise and is the herald of new beginnings. When she comes, she kindles the first stirrings of spring in the belly of the earth. I honour the Hearth Goddess, thank her for her gifts of warmth and prosperity and ask for her blessing, as well as considering how I will use her creative and healing fire in the coming year.
Decorate your hearth or altar with any wild greenery you can find and the first flowers of spring (such as snowdrops), white crystals and glass vessels of spring water. You will need one white candle and three red candles. Prepare a figure in the shape of a woman made from a sheaf of wheat or oats (this is distinct from the corn dolly, representing the grain god, which we returned to the earth in January). This can be done as simply or intricately as you wish. Alternatively, you can use a doll or goddess statue. Decorate it with shells, stones and ribbons. Place a bright, white crystal over its heart – this is called the Guiding Star of Brighid. Also prepare a white wand by stripping a twig of birch or willow, and an oblong basket for Brighid’s bed dressed with pretty cloth and other decorations you think suitable.
Light the white candle and say:
Lady of the sudden flame;
Bring me your fiery inspiration
Come to my hearth,
Your bed is prepared
Goddess Brighid come in
Repeat until you feel the presence of the Goddess:
Brighid come in
Brighid come in
Brighid come in
When you are ready, lay the doll in the bed and say:
Brighid with her white wand breathes life into the mouth of dead winter.
Lay the white wand alongside the icon and say:
The earth warms in the feeble embrace of the Imbolc sun, and winter moves to spring.
Brighid, I honour you tonight.
Light the first red candle. Say:
The fire of the hearth is the dwelling place of the Goddess. The hearth is the sacred centre of the home. It warms, it comforts, it nourishes. It draws home the weary traveller. It is the place where the Gods and humankind may meet. Lady of the Triple Flame, warm my hearth and home with your living presence.
Meditate on the inspiration of your own hearth fire and home, what it means to you, and what you wish for in the future, and how you might use it in the service of others and the Goddess.
Light the second red candle and say:
Lady of the Triple Flame, beloved goddess of poets and craftspeople, you are the fire of inspiration, the fire in the head, the touch of the Gods that stokes the forge of creativity. I ask you to inspire me and kindle my inner spark.
Think about the inspiration of Brighid’s ‘fire in the head’, what it means to you, and what you wish for in the future in connection with creativity and craftsmanship, and how you might use these in the service of others and the Goddess.
Light the third red candle and say:
Lady of the Triple Flame, you are the fire of healing that flows from the heart of the Goddess. Gentle goddess of healing, light the fire of healing within me.
Meditate on the inspiration of healing, what it means to you, and what you wish for in the future in connection with the healing fire, and how you might use it in the service of others and the Goddess. Then say:
Brighid, I honour you tonight. You bring the return of spring and the renewal of the Earth. I will honour them. You bring the gifts of the Triple Flame; I will honour them and will use them in your service.
Let this ritual end with love and blessings.
Allow the candles to burn themselves out.
© Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Year, Llewellyn, 2021
Illustration © Anna Franklin, Pagan Ways Tarot, Schiffer, 2015
 Anna Franklin, Pagan Ways Tarot, Schiffer,