Happy and Blessed Imbolc to all of you!
Sorry I haven't posted this up yet, but I was at work veeeeeeeeery early today. Now, depending on your perception of Imbolc, you either celebrated it last night or you're celebrating today. Me... I'm celebrating this evening.
I like to whip out the tea lights, light as many candles as I can find, and bang around some pots and pans. I turn on some music. Dance. Raise some wonderful, new, exciting, beginning of spring energy. I purify my home with a sweep of my besom and some white sage.
I also light my altar candles and spend some time meditating, praying, and I've got a little ritual I perform - which is, as always, below for your reading, altering, and using pleasure. Also, I put a little information down there from my personal BOS concerning the history and traditions of Imbolc. Enjoy, and blessed Imbolc!
Love and Lyte,
Date: February 2nd
Also Called: Imbolg, Oimelc (ewe’s milk), Candlemas
Related Holidays: St. Brigid’s Day (Christian), The Feast Day of St. Blaize (France), Festival of Venus (Rome), Festival of Diana (Greece), Disting-tid (Norse), Groundhog Day (US), LUpercalia (Rome)
Imbolc was not originally a Sabbat, but a special day to honor the Goddess who was slowly turning the Wheel back to spring. This day, in large part, derives from the feast of the Great Mother Goddess Brigid, who was canonized as St. Brigid by the church who wished to turn people to Christianity. Imbolc means ewe’s milk, and signifies he time when pregnant ewes begin lactating, a sign among many others that signifies winter’s end and the fact that spring is beginning. A ritual drink can be made with cider, mashed apples, honey, and milk. Decorate the home with spring flowers, and celebrate with some magical spring-cleaning by cleansing your home, altar, and self.
Candlemas, another name for Imbolc, comes from the practice of ritually lighting fires to lure back the slowly waxing sun. In early European tradition, a young maiden – representing the Virgin Goddess – wore a circle of candles. Sometimes, this was worn on the head, and others it was carried. An easy interpretation of this can be placing a ring of 8 candles around an icon of the Goddess.
Weather prognostication has long been a tradition of Imbolc. Groundhog Day in America is a modern version of this tradition. Imbolc is the day the Cailleach — the hag goddess — gathers Her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend has it that if she intends to make the winter last a good while longer, she will make sure the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. Therefore, people are generally relieved if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, as it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter.
The Grain Dolly is also a pervasive symbol of Imbolc. This is made from sheaves of grain and laid in a small corn crib. This Dolly can be made into the form of a person or not; it can be dressed, but the one thing you should do is bless this Dolly. This is a form of crop fertility magic, and can be kept in your home all year and dressed appropriately to symbolize the Goddess of each Sabbat. Sun wheels and Brigid’s crosses can also be made to symbolize this exciting Sabbat!
Get ready to do your Spiritual spring-cleaning! Consider feeding the birds and wildlife around your home, blessing the food with protective energy. After all, they’re still waiting on spring to get here. When you gather with friends and family, make a stew with springtime vegetables and meat (lamb or beef), honey cakes, cookies, and lots of milk! It’s a good time to ask for a blessing from Brigid, so leave a piece of clothing out for her to bless near your hearth fire.
Lady of spring, Maiden Goddess, We praise you this night.
Praise be to the Lady, who awaits the return of the Sun God.
Great Lord, Bless you, and welcome back in this season of rebirth and renewal.
May the light of the world return, and turn the wheel to bring forth a fruitful, glorious spring.
Let me be cleansed of my past wrongs, able to greet this New Year without regret.