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Discover The Festival of New Starts


The pagan festival of Imbolc is essentially a festival of new starts and will be celebrated on Friday 31st January. Our reader Deborah B tells you about its fascinating pagan history and shows you how to get the most out of it today.


Imbolc means 'in the belly'. And soon, deep within the belly of the earth, life will be stirring. Snow and ice will melt away and the first brave snowdrops and crocuses will bring a message of promise - inspiring everyone to make a new start.

It is traditional to light white candles. This is in remembrance of the sacred flame, kept burning in honor of the Celtic goddess Bride (pronounced Breed).

Bride is patroness of all forms of creativity, poetry and childbirth and there are several animals that are sacred to her, notably the snake, wolf, cow and bird of prey.

As with all of the seasonal festivals, fertility is a constant theme. In some parts of the country a 'Bride Doll', (often a Corn Dolly from last year's harvest) was put to 'bed' by the hearth with a phallic club beside her and candles burning all night.

This was a way of inviting the Goddess into people's lives and ensuring good crops and healthy babies.

There are other customs also associated with the Bride Doll. For instance in some communities women gather to take it in turns to hold the Bride Doll. They then share experiences of motherhood to give each other support.


Give yourself a new start!


Of course you don't have to be a Pagan to celebrate Imbolc and give yourself a new start. Try my top tips now

  • Make New Year's resolutions now. It's a far better time than the 1st of January. With the light increasing you are much more likely to have the deter¬mination to stick to them. Light a white candle and affirm that you are making a new start.
  • Ask the goddess Bride to bless you. Carry one of her animal symbols with you, to strengthen your resolve.
  • Tale a long, hard look at yourself.  What needs to be scraped away from your life, like frost off a window-pane? What needs to take root and grow? Be honest with yourself.
  • Think about your talents and commit to developing them. What are you good at? Embark on a project to inspire you as Spring progresses.
  • Get together with a group of friends and talk about femininity, nurturing, mothering, creating - or not, as the case may be. If you like you can pass around a favourite doll, or teddy-bear, as your own Bride Doll.
  • Have a 'white banquet' with friends. Eat white cheese, white bread, cake with white icing etc-all lit by many candles. Invite friends to swap plans
    for the future, so you can encourage each other.
  • Make a start on any new craft, from poetry to photography. Doing this as a group will help you all stick at it.
  • Visit art galleries and exhibitions, to find inspiration for your own activities.
  • Go on a detox and take a tonic to set you up for Spring.
  • Visit a local well or spring. Make a wish and gather some spring water (if it is drinkable) to sip later, while imagining all the vibrant energy of the awakening season flowing through you.

Make the most of 2014 with a little psychic guidance

A new year always brings new promise, which can quickly fade as the year gets underway. But take time to ease into the year before rather than making hasty resolutions and you're much more likely to achieve your year goals.

Having regular readings with a trusted psychic can help you ring in the changes and ensure you achieve your 2014 hopes and dreams.
Week by week, month by month can help you make decisions and guide you to your true destiny.

Book a new year reading now

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