Looking out my window, it doesn’t much look like the beginning of Spring. Snow continues to fall from the skies, and the ground is blanketed by the icy, white flakes. But, tomorrow does indeed mark the halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox…the beginning of spring…Imbolc.
On February 1, at sundown, I will begin my Imbolc celebrations, and continue throughout the day on Sunday, February 2. I’ve got my Brighid’s Cross made, and am setting up my altar with green and brown candles; amethyst, bloodstone, garnet and onyx stones; incense of basil, bay, Angelica and myrrh; and white and yellow flowers. I’ll be spring cleaning tomorrow morning, and will have my besom by the front door, to sweep out the old and usher in the new. Then, I’ll prepare my offerings of milk (coconut milk will have to do), scones and spiced wine.
Now, many of you, who know a bit about my background, may wonder why a non-Wiccan would go through all the trouble of ritualizing Imbolc. Although I no longer consider myself Wiccan, I do have Celtic blood running through my veins, and the only coven I was traditionally initiated into was a Wiccan coven. For me, there is heritage there…blood, tradition, respect. I would never choose one side of my heritage over another. I choose to celebrate them all.
When I begin working with a new student in witchcraft, I always start them out in the traditional Wiccan practices. In my opinion Wicca is pure…safe. Learning the Wiccan ways tends to keep my new witches out of trouble. I teach them the Wiccan Rede, gods and goddesses, moon phases, and all of the holidays and sabbats.
So, now that you know why and how I celebrate Imbolc, we can explore what this sabbat represents.
Imbolc means “in the belly of the Mother”. It is also known as Oimelc, Candlemas and St. Brigit’s Day. On Imbolc, we honor the Celtic Fire Goddess, Brigit, patron of healing, midwifery, poetry and smith-craft. We celebrate the Maiden, as it is now her season to prepare for emergence from the darkness of winter. Traditionally, Brighid’s Crosses are made wheat stalks, to represent protection and prosperity in the year ahead. At this time, hearth fires are extinguished and then relit, while candles are lit around the home, honoring the rebirth of the sun. Besoms are placed near the front door of a home to sweep out the darkness of winter and issue in the blessings of spring.
Imbolc symbolizes a time of growth, fertility and renewal. It is a wonderful time for the plans and ideas you’ve created in the winter season, to begin to be birthed. If you haven’t already rid yourself of negative energies, or damaging emotions, thoughts, or people, now is the time to remove them from your life. Focus your magick on healing, recovery and moving forward into the light and promise of spring.
Symbols of Imbolc: White and Yellow flowers, Besoms, Candle Wheels, Acorn-tipped Wands, and Brighid’s Crosses
Herbs: Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Violets
Incense: Basil, Bay Laurel, Cinnamon, Violet, Myrrh, Vanilla
Colors: White, pink, red, yellow, green, brown
Stones: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Onyx, Ruby, Turquoise
Foods: Breads, Dairy, Garlic, Seeds, Baked Goods, Herbal Tea, Spiced Wine
Imbolc Blessings to you! May you feel re-energized and refreshed as we look ahead to the birth of spring. I wish you fertility in all that you seek to manifest in your life. Wake from your winter slumber and flourish!