The Celebration of Imbolc
It’s time for Imbolc, a festival of fertility, light and one which marks the beginning of spring. Imbolc is also known as Brigid’s Day, Groundhog Day and Candlemas. It happens on February 1 or 2.
If you have had a chance to get out in nature recently in the Los Angeles area, you must have noticed spring is definitely in the air. It is now time to welcome the season and all that comes with it.
Imbolc occurs midway through the winter solstice and spring equinox. We are saying goodbye to the crone months of winter and welcoming the Goddess in her maiden form. Traditionally women would gather to celebrate and welcome the Goddess embodied as Brigid, a Celtic goddess of fire, poetry, healing, smith craft and childbirth. She is the triple goddess and in her maiden aspect this time of year, she represents the virgin or sister aspect of the goddess. She marks the changing of the goddess from crone to maiden state
We are also welcoming the sun. It’s time to celebrate warmth.
Imbolc is connected to red, fire, fertility and growth. Stones for this time include carnelian, amethyst, sunstone and the green bloodstone and malachite.
Imbolc is also centered on the home, freshening it up and getting ready for spring cleaning. Symbolic colors of Imbolc are white and silver for purity, green for new life and orange and red to represent fire.
Now that you know what Imbolc signifies, how best to welcome this special time of year of rebirth?
Here are some ways to celebrate with Imbolc Ritual Ideas.
You can make a Brigid doll with hay, lavender and grasses. She will be a token of fertility. The doll can be placed next to a fireplace or a candle to attract fertility and fortune to the home.
Also a Brigid cross is a small four armed cross sometimes made out of rushes. It is a fire wheel symbol which is seen as a symbol of protection. Traditionally they were set over doorways and windows to protect the home from any kind of harm.
Spring clean your home. Then, at sunset light every light in the house, or candles in every room to celebrate the suns birth. This will go a long way to make you, your pets and your plants happy.
Visit a clean and safe body of water and splash over yourself as a symbol of purification. Go with family or friends to make it a group activity. Have a cleansing bath ritual. This will not only clean your body, but purify your mind and soul.
It is also time to plant seeds. Start planning what you will grow now, as winter is starting to pass.
Spells of the season can focus on self-purification and cleansing. Or you can focus on the fertility aspect, or cast love spells.
Imbolc Altar Decor
If you have yet to set yourself up with an altar, now is a good time to start. If you have an altar, Imbolc can be a time to change it. Celebrate the season by using colors such as white and silver, green to represent new life and orange and red for fire. Go on a nature walk and collect items that call to you. If it is from a plant, ask permission to take whatever it is from the plant and leave an offering in respect. You can put items on your altar like spring flowers, a Brigid cross and green candles. It is also pleasing and beautiful to use more gemstones associated with Imbolc like aquamarine, garnet, turquoise or onyx.
Finally, on your altar you can put an offering to the divine, Brigid, or other deities. A great offering is one connected to dairy; a cup of milk with cinnamon or honey. Or use biscuits, cakes or ale’s. Fruits and berries are good too and connect to fertility. Or, its always good to do just what you want to, instinctively.
Speaking of food, here are Imbolc foods to enjoy.
The central food for Imbolc is milk and cheese, especially from sheep. Other foods associated with the season are peppers, onions, leeks, shallots and eggs. Herbs of rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon and ginger.
Here are some ideas of what you can cook to celebrate Imbolc: – Bread or biscuits – Savory biscuits flavored with rosemary and sheep cheese – Milk and honey rice pudding – An omelet with fresh spring herbs – Homemade scones to eat with fresh butter or cream – Roasted root vegetables – Homemade potato soup.
Have a feast. Bake bread. Enjoy with family and friends.
Getting back to your instinct, there are rituals you can do and this is where its helpful to think intuitively of things that you can relate to at this time of year. It is powerful when you connect to what your inner heart says. To help, you can have a candle ritual. Go outside and you can bring white candles to represent all those you love and are thinking of. Put one in the center and the rest in a circle around it. Light the candles and set your intentions and goals.
Lastly, do a house cleansing ritual by smudging your home with a smudge stick or a cleansing stick. It’s time for decluttering in general and getting rid of things you no longer need.
Welcome all positive things that you want into your home. It will be a cleansing metaphorically and spiritually.
Enjoy the season anew and welcome the warmth of spring and renewal.