Related Deities: Bridget, Brid, the Maiden, any Spring Goddess, the Young Lord

Related Herbs: Angelica, Basil, Bay Leaves, Myrrh, Snowdrop, Rowan, first flowers of the year.

Related Stones: Quartz Crystal, Opal, Moonstone, Aventurine, Sunstone, Amethyst, Turquoise

Also known as Imbolg, Oimelc, Brigid’s Day, Bride’s Day, Candlemas, Brigantia, Brigid, Feast of Lights, Celtic ‘Candle Festival’ and Groundhog’s Day.

Imbolc is a major sabbat, a festival of the White Goddess as Brigid, Bride or Lucy the Light Bringer. Astrologically the exact date of Imbolc is when the Sun is 15 degrees Aquarius. It celebrates the first stirrings of Spring. Traditionally Wiccans celebrated with purification rites and lighting bonfires as Brigid is a Goddess of Fire.

Imbolc means: “in the belly”. Another source cites Imbolc coming from the word oimelc meaning “sheep’s milk.” This is the quickening of the year. Winter buds appear on the trees and green life stirs beneath the frozen earth. The infant Sun (the God) grows in size and strength as the Goddess recovers with the lengthening periods of light. A fire festival and festival of lights, it is sacred to the Irish Goddess Bridget. Candles are lit to illuminate the winter darkness and start spring cleaning like with cleaning the house, general repair work, ect. To welcome the change from old to new. Traditionally, the candles are lit in every room to honor the Sun’s rebirth and to guide the returning Spring to the Earth. If snow is outside on the ground, walk in it to remember the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun in the snow.

A Celtic myth concerning Bride repeats the theme of a captive being. The time of the “little sun” from Samhain on November Eve to Oimelc, the eve of February 2 is ruled by the Cailleach (Old Woman), a blue-faced hag with an evil temper who flies over the countryside blasting vegetation with her staff and freezing all living things with her icy breath. During her reign she holds Bride prisoner in a cave. But on February Eve, the god Aengus of the White Steed, Aengus the Ever-Young, sees Bride in a dream and sets out to rescue her. The Cailleach tries to stop him but cannot prevail, and although she vents her rage in wild storms, valiant Aengus frees Bride.

A parallel myth from an earlier source is recounted by F. Marian McNeil in The Silver Bough.

“On the Eve of Bride, the Cailleach repairs to the Isle of Youth, in whose woods lie the miraculous Well of Youth. There, at the first glimmer of dawn, before any bird has sung or any dog barked, she drinks of the water that bubbles in a crevice of a rock, and having renewed your youth, emerges as Bride, the fair goddess at the touch of whose wand the dun grass turns to vivid green, starred with the white and yellow flowers of spring.”

Lavender and white candles can be burned to honor this holiday. One tradition is to take three ears of corn, one to represent each aspect of the Goddess (Maiden, Mother, Crone), tie them together and hang them outside the home for protection and wealth till the day after the Fall Equinox and then bury them.

A traditional time for Coven and Self initiations. Purification is the theme of Imbolc, symbolized by the sweeping of the circle and cleaning of the home to make way for changes and new things to come.



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