One of the 4 major Sabbats, Imbolc, celebrates the banishing of Winter and welcomes the Spring. At the time of Imbolc, the newborn Sun God is seen as a small child nursing from his Mother. Imbolc is a time to swept away Winter and nuture new beginnings. This Sabbat also represents spiritual growth. Imbolc is a good time to get your life in order, whether mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally. The name Imbolc, is derived from Gaelic, and means “ewe’s milk” after the lactating sheep that are feeding their first born lambs of the new season at this time of year.
Imbolc is also known as Imbolg, Oimelc, Candlemas, Feast of Brigid, Festival of Light, Candlelaria, and Anagantious and is celebrated on February 2nd.
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, poppyseed 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.
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.
Stones associated with Imbolc are: amethyst, garent, onyx, turquoise.
Animals and mythical beasts associated with Imbolc are: robins, sheep, lambs, deers, groundhogs, dragons, firebirds, berometz.
Appropriate 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).
Appropriate 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 techinques.
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.