On February 01 to sundown on February 02, Pagans celebrate what is known as Imbolc or Candlemas. Imbolc, which is based on Celtic traditions, was used as a marker of the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.
This holiday isn’t just limited to Pagans, it is also widely appreciated by Wiccans, Witches and other spiritual folk around the world. More commonly so in European countries.
For many, they honor the longer days. Gone are the short days of winter. The sun arrives a little earlier in the morning and tends to last a little longer too. Here in Alberta, it’s no longer dark at 5 pm which is a nice change.
There are many legends of what are thought to be the origins of Imbolc. The Celts of Britain and Ireland honor Pagan Goddess Brigid, who was one of the most powerful of Gods. She had two sisters of the same name, though some speculate that the three sisters symbolize different aspects of Brigid.
There are myths about Brigid as well. Some say that she was born with a flame in hand and drank the milk of a mystical cow from the astral world.
Keening is associated with Brigid which is traditional wailing that is practiced at Irish and Scottish funerals.
Imbolc begins on Feb 01 and ends at sundown on Feb 02. People worshipped and showed devotion to Brigid by decorating their homes with a hand crafted effigy using oats and rushes which was then placed in a dress and basket overnight. Burning lamps, candles and/or bonfires were also used for tributes to Brigid.
In modern times, Imbolc is pretty low key. I know in the Lutheran Churches, they celebrate what is known as Candlemas. Some Wiccans opt to celebrate at a later date when weather is more appropriate.
Modern day rituals might include a bonfire to celebrate Brigid, or fire rituals. If you don’t have access to a bonfire, you may wish to light candles instead.
February 02 is also known as Groundhog Day which if you’ve seen the movie with Bill Murray, you know what it means.
The word Imbolc is defined as a new stirring of life or as I say often, a new beginning. Goddess Brigid is known for fertility, guardian of home and hearth, and fire.
Since Imbolc marks the halfway point between Winter and Spring, this may be a good time to work an indoor garden or plant herbs. Some herbs that grow well indoors include sage, mint, chives, and my favorite, spring onions.
If you are trying to become pregnant, Goddess Brigid is associated with fertility and Imbolc would be the perfect time to be intimate with your partner.
Image credit: https://images.theabcdn.com/i/38882996/600×600/c
Other ideas for Imbolc
- Spring cleaning, decluttering, reorganizing home
- Do a Tarot or Rune reading, or have someone do one for you
- Get crafty and work with organic items like wheat, or wood, parchment paper, wool or anything you can get your hands on.
- Start a new project or revisit something you’ve been working on
- Cook a light dinner that involves breads, cheese, fruit and vegetables
- Plan some intimacy with your partner – Frigid can bring fertility if you’re trying to have a baby.
Candles, herbs and other tools
- Flowers or herbs: Chamomile, Lavender, Snowdrop, Iris, Heather
- Herbs: Bay, Angelica, Vanilla, Basil, Rosemary
- Herbal tea: Chamomile, Rosemary, Lavender
- Essential oils: Lavender, Rose
- Incense: Lavender, Rose, Vanilla
- Crystals: Amethyst, Onyx, Turquoise
- Foods: Bread, Cake, White Meats (chicken ,pork), Seeds
- Candles: green, pink or yellow and rub with oil
Prayer for Imbolc
I wrote this on a whim today after watching another witch on YouTube. I love this idea and I think I will do this for every Sabbat that comes up.
Thank you for reading. What are your plans for Imbolc? Make sure to check my “Spiritual” page for more Sabbat ideas & rituals.
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Correction: Imbolc is on Wednesday. This post was scheduled, and listed a day early.