Holiday Wassail (Non-Alcoholic)

Wassail is often made with ale or brandy, but this non-alcoholic version can be shared with the whole family!  Huzzah!

8 cups (64 oz.) apple cider
1/3 cup honey
1 cup cranberries
1 orange, sliced
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 teaspoons whole allspice

Place the apple cider into a large saucepan or stock pot.  Dissolve the honey in the apple cider over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low or transfer to a slow-cooker.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 1 to 4 hours.  Strain out cranberries, oranges, and spices.  Serve warm.

 

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House Cleansing & Blessing

When moving into a new space, or perhaps annually as a part of your Imbolc rites, you may wish to perform a cleansing and blessing of your home.  To do so, the day of Imbolc and the following weeks can be spent physically cleaning the home, ridding it of unnecessary clutter and starting the earliest of spring cleaning.  A sage & citrus candle can be burned as a working candle during this process.  Once the house is sufficiently tidy, a spiritual cleansing and home blessing may be performed.  This ritual is best performed during a wanning moon on a Saturday to banish negative energies, but can really be done at any time it suits you.

Supplies for House Cleansing:

  • Salt
  • Water
  • Sage smudge or incense stick
  • White candle
  • 2 bowls
  • Matches

Place the salt and water in separate bowls.  Light the sage and the white candle.  You may place all of these items on a tray for easier carrying from room to room.

Starting and ending with the door of each room and working in a counter-clockwise direction, smudge with the water, sage, candle flame, and salt while reciting:

     With the purifying power of water,
     with the clean breath of air,
     with the passionate heat of fire, and
     with the grounding energy of earth,
     I/we cleanse this space.

This ritual should be concluded by opening all of the windows and doors to let the negative energies out.

Supplies for Home Blessing:

  • Home Blessing Oil or Incense

After the home has been cleansed, go through each room and anoint the door frames and windowsills with home blessing oil or smudge with home blessing incense (working in a clockwise direction) while reciting:

     May Brighid bless this home, making it sacred and pure,
     so that nothing but love and joy may enter and dwell here.

You may also choose to anoint and charge amulets or crystals and place them around or within the home to ward off negative energies.  For Imbolc, you may choose to anoint and charge a Brighid’s Cross and place it on the front door for protection.

Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my favorite treat to make for Beltane!  Best shared with someone you love, of course. 😉

Ingredients:
* 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
* 1 cup white sugar
* 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the white and brown sugars, until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, and baking soda; then incorporate into the butter mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop rounded spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between dollops.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow the cookies to set on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Lighting of the Hearth

Supplies:
*  Matches                            *  Kindling, wood, fire starters, paper, etc.
*  Fireplace                          *  Imbolc casting herbs (or other suitable offering that can be burned)

This ritual is best performed on Imbolc between dawn and midday, to honor the sun, which is now growing in the sky.

Prepare the fireplace with kindling, fire starters and paper.

Recite:

On this Imbolc, in the cold of the midwinter, we light the hearth fire to restore light to our earth and home.

Light the fire, and once it is going, continue reciting:

We call to Brighid, the flame of the hearth, to bless us with her presence.
Patroness of Bards, Protector of Mothers:
We ask you to bless our home with your warmth and shelter.
We ask for your gifts of abundant prosperity, peace, and love.
May we be healed and purified by the power of your sacred flame.
We cast these herbs as an offering and in thanks for hearing our petition.
May their fragrance be pleasing to you, beloved goddess, whom we honor this day.

Scatter a handful of casting herbs into the fire.  Once they have burned down, ignite a match in the flames of Brighid’s Fire and use that same match to light the Imbolc ritual candle and other Candlemas candles, which should be left to burn throughout the day on the altar, on the fireplace mantel, or around the home.

Self-Love Ritual Bath

You will need:

*  Bath tub & hot water
*  Towel, robe
*  White & pink candles (vanilla or rose scented are great)
*  Matches
*  Herbs associated with love, such as rose petals or apple blossoms
*  Meditation music
*  A natural, organic body lotion

Run hot water into the bath tub.  Meanwhile, place and light the white and pink candles around the tub, positioning them however you like.  (It is preferable to dim or turn off the electrical lighting in the room and bathe by the candlelight.)  Cast your herbs into the hot water in the tub and turn on your meditation music.

When the water is to the height and temperature you prefer, undress and sit down into the tub.  Lay back and relax.

While listening to the meditation music, reflect upon all of the fears and insecurities you have about yourself.  Once firmly fixed in your mind, imagine these worries seeping out of your body into the bath water.  Wash these troubles away with body soap, if you like, while visualizing all of the negative thoughts about yourself going out of you and into the bath water.  Then let the bath water drain, taking all of your insecurities down the pipes.

Towel off and put on your robe.  Grab the body lotion and hold it in your hands while thinking about your personal strengths, imaging the lotion becoming charged with these affirmations.  Then slather the lotion on your body and allow your skin to soak up all of the beautiful, positive energy.