A Witch’s New Year begins after Samhain. But there’s something about the festival of Imbolc, the first to take place in the new calendar year, that feels like a fresh start.
As the midpoint between Winter and Spring, Imbolc carries a hopeful quality: as Nature all around us starts stirring from under her deep blanket of snow, so do we. We shed our “hibernating” mode and begin to renew our commitment to growth, both personally and spiritually.
During this time of reawakening, putting pen to paper is one of the best ways to prepare for this new Turn of the Wheel. Here’s what you need to know about Imbolc journaling—and all the ways it can help you in your practice.
It can help anchor you to the Nature around you
The way Nature changes during Imbolc is still slower, more internal. It’s easy to miss the little clues of the coming Spring if you’re not paying attention. Keeping a journal during this time will help you become more observant of the world around you and renew your connection to the four Elements.
Dedicate a section of your journal to the changes you see in your immediate surroundings and any trips or excursions you take during this time. How does the sunlight feel during this time of year? What time does it get dark? Can you spot any signs of plants and flowers slowly emerging from the snow? What are the changes happening to different trees and shrubs?
And what about wildlife? Make notes of all the birds and little animals you spot during this season. Notice if some of them appear to you more frequently than others.
Now is also a good time to become more active towards Nature—and your journal is a great planning tool for that. You can figure out what to plant in your garden during this season, how to help birds and bees find food (by installing bird feeders or bug hotels, for instance), or what steps you can take to be generally more mindful towards your consumption and recycling habits.
It can help you (re)discover aspects of your Craft
Wintertime can often be a time of spiritual hibernation. You just don’t feel as energized as you are during the Spring or Summer to create elaborate rituals or do spell work—and that’s okay. You can use journaling to slowly dive back into all the witchy things you enjoy doing.
In your journal, take a note of the tools of your Work that you enjoy using this time of year—and of the ones you feel like you’ve lost touch with. What are the crystals, divination tools, candles, flowers, or herbs that speak to you? What are the ones you would like to reconnect with?
You can also use your journal to plan what to place on your altar for this season and to take note of items and correspondences that speak to you now or items you would like to feature as offerings. This process will help you learn a lot about the types of magick you connect with right now—and how to tap into those to renew your commitment to your Craft.
It can help you deepen your knowledge about the season
As a traditional Gaelic festival, Imbolc has a rich tradition. And as modern Pagans and Wiccans have also embraced it, some of the rituals associated with it have evolved. Journaling can provide you an opportunity to research and document any interesting tidbits you come across about how to celebrate this Sabbat. You can compare and contrast between old folk beliefs/rituals and modern ways of celebrating or discover new fun ways to partake in the festival.
You could also use journaling to reflect on this season in general, take notes about the particular moon phases and what spells/rituals/meditations you’re being called to perform. And with many people around you celebrating Valentine’s Day soon, it could be a good opportunity to look at what that holiday means to you, and if there are elements of it you can incorporate into your own practice.
It can help unlock your creativity
Journaling can act as a creative “warm-up” for writers who are in between writing stories or suffering from writer’s block. But even if your creativity doesn’t flow that way, you can still use journaling to unlock that side of you and figure out what inspires you and motivates you.
What are your favorite quotes from movies or books right now? Is there a particular song that speaks to your soul? A fictional character you feel a connection to? Writing all these things down in your journal can help you understand the ways you can better nurture your own creativity and allow it to enrich your life.
It can help you set your intentions for the new season
Any farmer will tell you that Imbolc is a great time to plant seeds as the ground starts to unfreeze. And the same goes for metaphorical seeds: now is a good time to plant your intentions for what you wish to manifest during the year. What are your goals for the upcoming season? What qualities would you like to bring more of into your life? Putting pen to paper and writing these things in your journal is a powerful way of speaking them into existence.
It can help you reconnect with your matron deities
Just like it can help you rediscover the things that make you “tick” about your Craft, journaling can also help you rediscover the things you love the most about your matron deities. Dedicate a page (or several) in your journal to each of them: write down the qualities that make you call upon them for assistance, the best offerings for them, and how they have been worshipped traditionally. That way, every time you feel unsure or disconnected, you can look back to these pages for guidance.