Imbolc also called Imbolg, Candlemas and Brigid’s Day is a traditional Gaelic festival. Traditionally held February 1st or 2nd. Some practitioners wait to celebrate the Sabbat until the sun reaches 15 degrees in Aquarius (around February 5th). Personally, I’m not coordinated enough to keep track of that, so February 1st it is!
The Imbolc festival marks the beginning of the lambing season and signals the beginning of Spring and stirrings of new life after winter. The word ‘Imbolc’ means ‘in the belly’.
Originating from ancient pagan traditions honoring the goddess Brigid (goddess of fertility), it was later adopted by Christian converts as the festival/feast of Saint Brigid.
The Imbolc Sabbat is a great time to let go of the past. Clearing out the old and making both outer and inner spaces ready for new beginnings. This can be done in many ways, from Spring cleaning to making personal resolutions, and opening the mind and body to allow for new experiences.
The goddess Brigid is a beloved Pagan Goddess. Her correspondences include healing, poetry, smithcraft, and fertility. She is a Goddess of Fire, the Sun, and the Hearth. Because of her relation to fertility, she is closely connected to midwives and newborns. As a triple Goddess, she takes on the Maiden aspect at Imbolc.
Brigid is often depicted as stirring a large cauldron, which symbolizes the womb and the receptive, fertile nature of the Divine Feminine. Though she represents the Divine Feminine power, she also represents the polarity of mind and body, which is essential for all creation.
- Fire – flames, candle crowns, hearth
- Water – cauldron, springs, wells
- Grains – corn sheaf Goddess effigy
- Creatures – white crow, wolf, snake, swan, and vultures
- Talismans – Otherworld mirrors, Spinning Wheels
- Herbs and Berries – Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Ginger, Blackberry
- Flowers – all white flowers
- Trees – Rowan and Willow
- Foods – Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, bread, dairy products, peppers, Raisins, spiced wines, and herbal teas
- Scents – Basil, bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla and Myrrh
- Colors – White, Pink, Red, Yellow, Brown and light green
- Stones and Gemstones – Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise
Decorating your Imbolc Altar
Red and White are colors associated with Brigid. White symbolizing the snow and red symbolizing the rising sun or coming of life. Decorating your altar with a white tablecloth and a red runner is a great way to incorporate Brigid’s colors.
Potted bulbs (don’t worry if they’re not blooming yet) and spring flowers such as forsythia, crocus, daffodils, and snowdrops are great greenery to embellish your altar.
A Brigid’s crown, made of candles and flowers is another fantastic tradition and the perfect way to decorate your altar this Imbolc.
Brigid is a Celtic Goddess, incorporate Celtic designs such as Brigid crosses, knots, etc.
Images of sacred animals such as cows, sheep or swans. Images or even a small anvil or hammer. A book 0f poetry or a poem you have written.
In some traditions, Faeries are also associated with Brigid.
A water-filled cauldron or chalice due to Brigid’s connection with sacred wells, springs, and healing waters.
The Brigid Cross
Brigid Crosses are traditionally made from reeds but can be made from any natural fiber that is pliable. I have made a short tutorial below using scrapbook paper.
Imbolc is the time for hope and renewal, a good time to place a reaffirmation of life, and a time to plant seeds and dreams for the future.
*Affirmation and Wishes to Brigid
On a piece of paper, write the wishes you wish to materialize throughout the year. In a cauldron start a fire and honor Brigid. Burning the paper in the cauldron, as the smoke rises it will take your wishes and affirmations to Brigid.
Another way to make affirmations is to carve your wishes on a candle and burn them during your Imbolc ritual. Releasing the energy of your wishes into manifestation.
*Children and the Imbolc Sabbat
One fun way to encourage children to get into the celebration is to have them write poetry in honor of Brigid and the coming of spring or to write about their future dreams and aspirations.
Other Imbolc activities
- Lighting candles all over the home to honor the return of the sun
- Gathering stones
- Hiking in the snow looking for signs of spring
- Baking bread or cakes
- Making Priapic Wands tipped with acorns
- Make a Bridey Doll or Spring Brigid doll
- Planting seeds
- Spring cleaning
- Placing your Brigid Cross above a doorway to bless the home
Hope you have enjoyed this roundup of the Imbolc Sabbat! Feel free to share.
Love and Light