Imbolc

Date: February 1st, halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox
Origin: Celtic; Gaelic meaning “in the belly,” referring to the ewes’ first milk of the year
Alternate Names: Imbolg (alternate spelling of Imbolc), February Eve, Brigid’s Day, Oimelc (Saxon, meaning “Ewe’s Milk”), Feast of Brighid, Lá Fhéile Bride (Irish), Laa’l Breeshey (Manx), Feast of Mary of the Candles (Welsh)
Corresponding Esbat: Milk Moon
Season: Winter moving into Spring

History

Lupercalia

Candlemas

Chandelours

For Wiccans

For Non-Wiccan Pagans

For Secular Witches
Secular Name: February Eve

For Christian Witches
Corresponding Feast Days: Candlemas, Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary

Spiritual Focus & Key Words
Beginnings
Preparation
Patience
Awakening
Thrift
Newness/Renewal
“Child-like delight in all things” (Starhawk)
Innocence
Change
Emergence from sleep/hibernation
Cleansing
Sprouting Seeds
Fertility
Transitions

Suggested Workings
Cleansing
Protection
Divination

Acts of Service
Clear snow/ice from public walkways
Gather blankets for blanket drives
Clear and prepare a community garden or flower bed
Clean the home of a physically limited person

Spells & Divination

Prayers & Blessings

Rituals

Correspondences

Symbols & Tools
Brigid’s Cross
Corn Dollies
Brigid’s Bed
Candles
St Brigid
St Mary
The Cauldron
Broom/Besom

Colors
Light Green: Abundance, growth, fertility, health, calming, new beginnings, prosperity

Pink: Harmony, tenderness, affection, love, spiritual healing, virtue, spring, honor, contentment

White: Cleansing, peace, protection, healing, truth, divination, purification, childhood, innocence

Yellow: Joy vitality, creativity, communication, the sun, planning, psychic ability, attraction

Crystals, Stones, & Metals
Amethyst: Dreams, healing, courage, happiness, balance, beginnings, change, divination, growth, rebirth, transformation

Turquoise: Attraction, balance, clarity, compassion, courage, healing, improvement, inner strength, wisdom

Antimony: Protection, shielding, energy, strength

Brass: Balance, reversal, security, solar energies

Gold: Authority, power, success, wisdom, light/illumination, purification, strength, success

Scents
Cedar
Peppermint
Styrax
Basil
Cinnamon

Animals, Totems, & Mythical Creatures
Sheep: Abundance, balance, beginnings, nurturing, security, support; an early sign of Spring

Cow: Abundance, comfort, nourishment, pregnancy/childbirth, love, home, warmth; “one of the symbols of Brigid” (Neal)

Groundhog: Beginnings, community, cycles, family, rebirth, divination, earth energies; If the groundhog sees its shadow on Imbolc it means spring will come late

Bear:

Snake: Change, cunning, cycles, rebirth, wisdom, enchantment; the snake is reborn after shedding its skin; “closely associated with Brigid” (Neal)

Dragon: Balance, challenges, courage, creativity, dignity, enlightenment, guardian, wisdom, power; “closely tied to this time of year and to Brigid” (Neal)

Lark: A lark singing on Imbolc means an early spring

Robin: Change, growth, omens, wishes; the robin is often the first sign of spring; “Shows the end of the cold winter and announces the coming of the sun and warmer days” (Neal)

Swan: Awakening, beauty, grace, innocence, sleep, transformation, trust

Tarot
XIII – Death
III – The Empress
XVII – The Star

Deities
Patron Deities, Saints, & Heroes of Agriculture & Vegetation, Rebirth & Transformation, Winter or Winter moving into Spring

Female

Neo-Pagan & Archetypes
Mother Earth – Over arching Female Archetype
The Goddess transforming from Crone (Winter) to Maiden (Spring)
The Goddess in the form of young mother tending to her growing child

Britannic
Brigid (Irish); Cerridwen (Welsh) – Rebirth & Transformation; Cailleach Bheur (Gaelic) – Winter Goddess, rules between Samhain and Beltaine; Danu (Irish) & Arianrhod (Welsh);

Germanic
Frau Holda (German) – protectress of agriculture and women’s crafts; The Hulder (Scandinavian) – forest keepers and friends to charcoal burners; Artio (Swiss/Continental Celtic/Gallo-Roman) – Bear & Fruit Goddess

Mediterranean
Aphrodite/Venus (Greco-Roman); Diana (Etruscan/Roman); Gaia (Greek); Juno (Roman); Selene (Greek); Vesta (Roman)

Middle Eastern
Inanna (Summerian)

American
Selu (Cherokee);

Male

Neo-Pagan & Archetypes
Green Man – Over arching Male Archetype
God in the form of a child exploring the world
The innocence of the masculine

Britannic
The Oak King (British) – Rules between Yule and Beltaine; Dagda (Irish)

Germanic
? Bragi (Norse)

Mediterranean
Februus (Roman); ? Dumuzi (Sumerian); ? Eros (Greek); ? Cupid (Roman)

Middle Eastern

American

Dagda` Hodr*

Recipes

Drinks
All dairy products
Ale
Mead
Cider

Foods
Dried fruits
Grains
Potatoes
Corneal
Dried/salted meats
Cheese
Pickled or canned foods
Nuts
Eggs

Herbs

Angelica: Balance, new beginnings, consecration, insight, purification, stability, success

Basil: Clarity, divination, love, money, protection, strength, success

Blackberry/Bramble: Growth, attachments, fertility, intuition, prosperity, protection, purification

Cinnamon: Balance, blessings, courage, protection, purification, strength, success

Grain: Protection, abundance, fertility, community, balance, birth/rebirth, blessing

Reed: Action, awareness, confidence, growth, healing, inspiration, protection, unity

Wormwood: Banishing, divination/dream work, forgiveness, overcoming obstacles, purification

Crafts & Activities
Making corn dollies & Brigid’s crosses
Candle making and/or blessing
Dedicate new magical tools
Blessing animals
Blessing new projects

Resources
Books
Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes, & Lore for Brigid’s Day (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials) by Carl F. Neal
Candlemas: Feast of Flames (Holiday Series) by Amber K & Azrael Arynn K

Articles
Witchy Words
Circle of Fountains February Eve / Imbolc Ritual 2017
Heena Lushede Imbolg Public Ritual 2017
Circle of Fountains Imbolc Ritual and Celebration 2016
Imbolc Altar 2015
Circle of Fountains Imbolc Ritual and Celebration 2015
Líithi Lushede Coven’s Public Imbolg Ritual 2015
Líithi Lushede Coven Public Imbolc Ritual
Tip for Your Imbolc Altar