Celebrate Imbolc



If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas day clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
- E. Holden



IMBOLC OR CANDLEMAS

February 2 - Cross-quarter day, Earth festival, The year’s first fire festival


Imbolc is halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox making it a cross-quarter day on the wheel of the year calendar. Imbolc celebrates the waking of nature as Imbolc means ‘in the belly’ which referred to the pregnant ewes who were about to birth their lambs replenishing the food stores with milk and meat that were depleted from the barren winter months. Life in the past was reliant upon hard work and staving up for the winter. Crops were grown and kept in storage for the months when the ground would be barren. With the receding light, poultry stopped laying, the livestock stopped producing milk. A community’s food supply began to dwindle as the cold, winter months stretched on.


Ancient man lived so close to nature she became deity, the gods and goddesses each an expression of her many aspects. After surviving the hardships of winter, human hearts swelled with joy and relief when the sun returned to break the hold the cold long nights held on the world. For as the earth warmed life and bounty would soon return.







This is the Feast Day of Brigid, the Celtic goddess of fire, healing, and childbirth, inspiration, and creativity. Imbolc is about making change and setting goals for success in the coming year. It is about recharging our own personal power. Now is the time to shake off the winter blues and rekindle your passions. Gather around the hearth fire and reveal in its warmth as you come up with plans for the coming spring. Draw up that project you've been longing to start. Plan out your garden. Now is the time to breathe life into the ideas that were only dreams during the long winter months.


Long ago sacred fires were lit on hilltops to encourage the return of light. Later it became customary to place a candle in every window of the home. Today we can greet the returning light by turning on a light in every room on the eve of the holiday. Or better yet, start this day with a sunrise ritual. Get up and greet the dawn. Quietly watch the sun as it rises, or sing it up into the sky. Make this a day rich in ritual. As children our lives are sprinkled with small, magickal rituals from nightly prayers, to singing skipping songs, blowing dandelions to blowing out birthday candles. As adults practicing daily ritual allows us to once again experience those magickal moments. Through ritual we can reprogram the unconscious mind so we have a different set of expectations about how the world will respond to us. Through ritual we can find our way to the places in our lives that exist in between the tick-tock of everyday living and the luscious places of dreaming, the magickal places that connect us to the Divine. The power of ritual comes from heritage, tradition, and most of all something being emblazoned in your brain over time. Set aside part of this lovely day to create your own personal ritual, something filled with meaning to you that will mark this as a sacred day.





Make a Brigid’s Cross

While the Brigid's cross is widely believed to be a Christian symbol its origin lies in much older traditions that celebrate the life-giving goddess, Brigid of the Tuatha de Danann. She is known by many names: Bride, Bridey, Brighid, Brigit, Briggidda, Brigantia,and Breet. She is the traditional patroness of healing, poetry, and smithcraft. She is a female solar deity associated with rivers and wells. She is known as The Mistress of the Mantle representing the sister, or virgin aspect of the Great Goddess. She is the Goddess of physicians and healing, of divination and prophecy, and in an older incarnation she was Breo-saighead, or fiery arrow, with the attributes of punishment and divine justice. In modern Britain, she is known as the warrior-maiden, Brigantia, and venerated not only as justice and authority, but also as the personification of Britain symbolizing the nation for 2,000 years, whose image is routinely mistaken for Boudica, Queen Victoria, and even Margaret Thatcher. There are three rivers named for her, the Brigit, the Braint, and the Brent in Ireland, Wales, and England respectively.


Brigid is the daughter of the Earth God, Dagda. She was born with the sunrise and was nourished on the milk of a sacred cow. She survived Christendom by becoming a saint, the patron saint of smiths, poets and healers. Sir James Frazer wrote of St. Brigid in the Golden Bough, “An old heathen goddess of fertility, disguised in a threadbare Christian cloak.”



The Brigit's cross is a Celtic Sun Wheel woven from rushes or reeds. They are oftem made at Imbolc and hung at the entrance of the home as a blessing and for protection. To make one you will need You will need 16 reeds, rushes, or pieces of straw.

Click Here for Instructions





As the very name Imbolc referrers to milking, especially of sheep who by themselves replenished the family’s depleted food stores, it is not surprising that dairy would have a focus at this festival. Sheep cheese and herb and honey butters were served with freshly baked breads. Gifts of milk, butter, and cheese were left out for the Goddess and a bed was made up for her by the hearth in exchange for a blessing on the household, in the form of prosperous herds and abundant crops.





Imbolc was a Feast Day

As the very name Imbolc referrers to milking, especially of sheep who by themselves replenished the family’s depleted food stores, it is not surprising that dairy would have a focus at this festival. Sheep cheese and herb and honey butters were served with freshly baked breads. Gifts of milk, butter, and cheese were left out for the Goddess and a bed was made up for her by the hearth in exchange for a blessing on the household, in the form of prosperous herds and abundant crops. Milk, butter, and cheese hold magickal energy to nurture love, enhance beauty, and fuel rituals for prosperity and protection.


Imbolc was a time to honor the Goddess and ensure the return of fertility and abundance as she spread her green cloak across the land. Today we can greet her with some Imbolc themed dishes as we gather with friends.


Click Here for seasonal recipes