The Magic and Medicine of Imbolc Incense-Sea Witch Botanicals

The Magic and Medicine of Imbolc Incense

Imbolc, the first point on the Wheel of the Year to be celebrated in the new year, marks a turning point toward spring. Arising halfway between the winter solstice (Yule) and the vernal equinox (Ostara), this ancient Celtic holiday toasts to the ending of winter, honoring the goddess Brigid, the element of fire, and the stirring of new life in the womb of the Earth.

From the Irish words for in the belly or milking, Imbolc traditionally celebrates the beginning of the lambing season, when pregnant ewes start giving birth, providing the first fresh taste of milk or cheese in months. In a time when surviving winter depended on sufficient stores of food, warmth, and healthy livestock come spring, Imbolc would have signaled a joyous reprieve from the looming darkness and all the threats contained therein. 

As such, Imbolc initiates a period of cleansing: sweeping out the stagnation and barrenness of winter and tilling the soil to create space for new seeds to germinate as long, sunlit days begin to dawn. 

To call in the season, we’ve crafted a late-winter incense blend featuring sandalwood, cedarwood, lemon, and basil, garnished with hints of lavender, benzoin, and carrot. The final aroma reminds us of fresh morning light filtering through the barn rafters after a long, dark winter.

Let us now delve more deeply into the magical and medicinal properties of the herbs in our Imbolc blend, and explore how they align with this sabbat. Rustle yourself up from the earth and spark your incense sticks—Imbolc is nearly here! 

PLEASE NOTE: This page is not intended to substitute for medical advice of any kind. If you have concerns for your health, please see a doctor, medical professional, or certified herbalist for assistance.

Sandalwood for Warmth

Closeup of sandalwood chips. In most Arab countries bukhoor is the name given to scented bricks or wood chips. These scented chips or bricks are burned in incense burners to perfume the home and clothing with a rich thick smoke

Our Imbolc blend opens with the intimately sweet scent of sandalwood. Warm and relaxingly deep, sandalwood is commonly used to treat anxiety and manage its symptoms. It is also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, and can as such support wound healing and other skin conditions.

Native to Southeast Asia with varieties growing in Australia and Hawai’i, Sandalwood is an increasingly vulnerable plant. In colossally high demand, Sandalwood faces overharvesting to an extreme degree, and is additionally threatened by habitat loss related to agriculture and climate change.

Sandalwood is sacred to many religious systems, used for worship and ceremonies beginning with Hinduism in the East and spreading all the way to ceremonial magic and the new age. Use for meditation, consecration workings, wishes, and peace.

Cedarwood for Grounding

closeup on the trunk of a cedar tree

Photo by Yann Allegre on Unsplash.

Fresh as an evergreen forest in the rain, Cedarwood plants sturdy roots in the welcoming soil of our Imbolc blend. Its wooded, foggy scent creates an arboreal haven, granting space to relax and breathe.

Cedarwood has natural soothing and sedative properties, making it a welcomed treatment for anxiety and improved sleep. As an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal, Cedarwood can also be used for acne or dry skin on the scalp—it may even stimulate hair growth. It is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and diuretic, and can even be used as a natural insecticide.

Use the magic of cedarwood in workings for protection, clarity, intuition, peacefulness, and cleansing. Root your heart to the earth and inhale the wisdom of the grounded cedar tree.

Lemon for Cleansing

Two lemons on a large wet leaf, one sliced open

Photo by Han Lahandoe on Unsplash

Bright as the sun and juicy as a fully ripened summer, lemon ignites our Imbolc blend with the hopeful promise of longer days ahead. A natural disinfectant, it cleanses home and spirit alike.

True to its vitalizing character, this oil can be used to uplift symptoms of depression and anxiety, bringing a sense of clarity and focus. It may be used to relieve pain, ease a sore throat, or help its user to breathe easier. It may also promote healthy skin.

Lemon’s magic inspires the heart toward connection with the body and mind. Use in workings for longevity, love, friendship, purification, and delight.

Basil for Prosperity

Closeup shot of basil leaves growing

Photo by Yakov Leonov on Unsplash.

Spiced with notes of citrus and earth, sweet basil enriches the garden of our Imbolc blend with the seeds for an abundant harvest. Its steady presence ensures healthy growth ahead.

Basil can be used as a natural adaptogen to reduce anxiety and stress. It is antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral, providing hearty support to the immune system. This herb can also bolster heart health, manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and nurture a healthy gut.

Basil bears the warmth of sunlight on its leaves. Use its magic in workings for prosperity, love, abundance, and protection.

Lavender for Calm

Closeup shot of lavender growing in a field.

Photo by Baraa Jalahej on Unsplash.

The scent of lavender is heavenly. Known for its ambrosial, floral aroma, lavender soothes the senses and untangles the imagination from worry and stress, making an enchanting antidote to anxiety. 

An instant ease for the heart and mind, lavender has also been classically used as an aid for sleep. The oil of the flower is known to assist in the healing of wounds as well.

Lavender is the gentle awakening from winter into spring. Use its soft and earnest magic in workings for happiness, longevity, protection, purification, and relief.

Benzoin for Purification

Organic Loban (Styrax benzoin). Macro close up background texture. Top view.

Soothing and earthy, benzoin is a resin derived from Styrax trees. Its golden scent sweetens our Imbolc blend with a purifying amber glaze. This rich oil is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial, and can be used to promote skin health as a disinfectant and moisturizer. It can also be used to ease emotional turmoil, respiratory issues, and digestive discomfort.

Benzoin is commonly used in magic for cleansing rituals, making a perfect addition to our Imbolc blend. Use benzoin in workings for prosperity, grounding, meditation, and emotional upliftment.

Carrot for Fertility

Closeup shot of freshly harvested, soil-caked carrots on a wooden background

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash.

Freshly pulled from its home within the Earth, the carrot is much more than a common root vegetable, for the oil distilled from its seeds comes packed with nutrients to feed body and spirit alike. 

Carrot seed oil is antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. It can be used to protect against gastrointestinal issues, and is touted for its replenishing property when used to care for skin—it’s why we’ve included it in our Lucidum reishi facial serum!

Earthy and soil-rich, the magic of the carrot can be harnessed for grounded growth throughout the coming season of spring. Use in workings for fertility, sexuality, creativity, and prosperity.

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