Celebrating Imbolc – A Return To The Light
Spring is coming – can you feel it? Imbolc marks the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, and it’s a celebration of the return to life. In the Celtic seasonal calendar, it also marks the start of the lambing season – when the lambs are born for spring. It is a time of celebration, renewal, and hope.
Imbolc falls on February 1 through 2, right during the “quickening” time of the year when nature is remerging from wintertime. In fact, the sabbat’s name comes from the Celtic word Imbolg, which means “in the belly,” and there’s a sense of expectation that comes with the celebration. The flowers are ready to bloom, lambs and birds are about to be born, and all of nature seems to be waking up from the deep slumber of winter.
A Celebration of Brigid
Imbolc celebrates the goddess Brigid – sometimes spelled Brighid, Bride, or Brigit. The Goddess of Healing, Poetry, and Smithcraft, Brigid is so beloved across centuries that the early Christian church wove her into its tradition as St. Bridget in the 5th Century. As the Goddess of Fire, the Sun, and the Hearth, Brigid is believed to be one of the most powerful of Celtic deities. She’s the daughter of Dagda, who is the oldest god in Tuatha du Danann, the Celtic pantheon.
Depending on which tradition you consult, Brigid is either one of three sisters, each named Brigid, or a triple goddess who is in her Maiden form at Imbolc. It is said that wherever Brigid walks, flowers and shamrocks spring from her footsteps. Each year, she heralds the coming of spring and a return to the light.
Candle Magick for Imbolc
Since Brigid is the Goddess of Fire, Imbolc is a great time for candle magick. With an intention in your mind, light your candle and imagine your intentions igniting in the flame of the candle. Burn the candle as long as you wish before blowing it out. As the smoke wafts, imagine your intentions being carried into the Universe. And because we want you to be safe, please remember never to leave burning candles unattended.
We’ve collected a list of Imbolc correspondences for your Imbolc celebration. Pick a few different ones to incorporate into your altar or home for Imbolc.
Herbs for Imbolc:
Foods to add to your table:
- Nuts or seeds
Trees associated with Brigid
- Willow trees
Animals associated with Imbolc
- Sheep and lambs
Oils and resins
- Dragon’s blood
One of Brigid’s most well-known symbols is the Brigid Cross. Traditionally they were made with reeds, but any pliable natural material will work just fine. The cross is made by soaking the reeds for a couple of hours before bending the pieces and hooking them together to create a square-like cross. We love this example and directions from Earth Witchery.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Imbolc, this is the time to renew your intentions for the year, clear things that don’t serve you – maybe give your home a good “spring cleaning!” – and look for creative inspiration from Brigid. May you have a blessed Imbolc.