Imbolc

Associated Stones: Amethyst, turquoise, garnet, and onyx

Alternate Names: Oimelc, Brigantia, Imbolg, Brigid, Feast of Lights, Celtic ‘Candle Festival’, Candlemas, Feast of Brigid, Candlelaria, and Anagantious, the Druidic Name Imbolc

Christian Equivalent: ┬áSaint Bridget’s (Bride’s) Day, Candlemas: the Festival of the Purification of the Virgin (2nd February)

Place in the Natural Cycle
Imbolc (pronounced ‘im-molc’) is the cross-quarter festival that heralds the start of the spring quarter of the year and the end of the winter quarter. Even though Imbolc occurs at the coldest time of the year, it marks the time at which days become noticeably longer.

Oimelc, an alternative name for this festival, means “sheep milk”, as this is the lambing season.

Symbols used to represent Imbolc are: a representation of a snowflake, a dish of snow, the bride, burrowing animals, grain dolly, sun wheels, candles.

Foods in tune with Imbolc are: seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, poppy seed breads, cakes, muffins, foods from the dairy – sour cream dishes, meat dishes with poultry, pork or lamb, spicy dishes, all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, garlic or chives, herbal teas, spicy wines, honey, dishes containing raisins.

The plants & herbs associated with Imbolc are: angelica, basil, bay, heather, myrrh, evergreens, clover, willow trees, dill, all yellow flowers.

Taboos during Imbolc are: cutting or picking plants Spellwork can be for: fertility, protection, as well as ones to help define and focus on spiritual and physical desires for the future.

Imbolc traditions center around light and purification. Candles may be lit in each room of a house to honor the returning sun, or in each window from sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1st) until dawn.

This is an appropriate time to cleanse or bless your house, to seek inspiration, and to purify yourself of limiting thoughts and negative attitudes. Dairy foods are particular appropriate to eat on this festival of calving and lambing.

Imbolc may mean ‘in the belly’, a reference to the seeds of life ready to stir again in the cold earth, and to the purification of the Maiden so that she may conceive the divine child at the following festival, Ostara.

For Imbolc incense and oils you can use any of the following scents, either blended together or alone: frankincense, jasmine, apricot, sweet pear, olive, neroli, carnation, rosemary, basil, myrrh, wisteria.

Colors associated with Imbolc are: white, yellow, pink, red, light blue, light green, brown.

Animals and mythical beasts associated with Imbolc are: robins, sheep, lambs, deers, groundhogs, dragons, firebirds.

Imbolc Goddesses are: all Virgin Goddesses, Flame Goddesses. Some Imbolc Goddesses are: Athena (Greek), Brynhild (Teutonic), Branwen(Manx-Welsh) , Vesta (Roman), Brigid/Brid (Irish), Lucina (Roman-Norse), Triduana (Scottish), Artio (Gaulish).

Imbolc Gods are: all Dragon-headed Gods, Flame Gods. Some Imbolc Gods are: Bannink (Slavic), Diancecht (Irish), Essus (Gaulish), Pax(Roman), Braggi (Norse), Dainichi (Japanese), Februus (Roman), Trusto (Teutonic).

Altar decorations can consist of: a crown of 13 red candles, a spring of evergreen, a besom (Witch’s broom), a small statue/figurine of the Maiden aspect of the Goddess, candle wheels, grain dollies, sun wheels.

Traditional activities during Imbolc consist of: lighting all the lamps in your home (either at sunset or after your ritual) – even if only for a moment, or placing lit candles in each room on Imbolc eve, gathering stones, searching for signs of spring and learning about alternative healing techniques.

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