Imbolc Customs and Traditions

January 15, 2021

Imbolc Customs and Traditions

Imbolc is considered the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. It is recognized from February 1 – 2 and is also known as, Imbolg, Brigid’s Day, Oimelc or Candlemas. It’s a time to celebrate the recovery of the Goddess Brigid (It's pronounced “Breej,” or in some parts of Ireland, closer to “Breeds.”). Brigid is the daughter of Dagda and is one of the most well-known Goddesses in Irish Lore. Brigid is a Goddess that is usually celebrated and honored during Imbolc. She is a Goddess of the hearth, home, and inspiration. A protector of women and children and she is also associated with midwifery. The Goddess Brigid is well-connected to fire and encompasses all things to do with poetry, healing, and blacksmithing.

Imbolc is the first Fire Festival in the dark half of the wheel. This is a festival where we begin to see light and life returning to the earth. The Earth is being reborn with new life! 

A Celtic originated holiday that is meant to focus on brushing off the cold and dark of winter days and welcoming the life-giving light and fertility of the sun. The celts celebrated around this time, the birth of new sheep and goats. In fact, Oimelc literally means “ewe’s milk”.

Imbolc is associated with fire and sun and also with divination, water, and life. Imbolc is the perfect opportunity to renew your devotion to your craft and/or to any deities. It’s a time of purification and of appreciation for the revitalization of the Earth.

Symbols of Imbolc

  • Seeds – symbolic for potential, hope, earthiness, reproduction, and trust.
  • Candles – If you don’t have a fireplace burn some candles for sacred fire.
  • Bonfires – to honor Goddess Brigid.
  • Brigid's Cross – represents the sun, which is growing in power thanks to the care of the Goddess Brigid.
  • Brigid’s Corn Doll – draws fertility and good fortune into the home.
  • Brooms/Besoms – purify space and remove negative energies.
  • Dish of snow – water is a feminine energy and connects with the aspects of the Goddess. Used for healing, cleansing, and purification. Also, associated with passion and emotion.

Food: Beer, cake, honey, seeds, dairy, garlic, onion, raisins, mulled wine, and breads

Colors: Red, white, pink, yellow, light green, and brown

Crystals: Amethyst, garnet, bloodstone, onyx, turquoise, and ruby

Herbs: Rosemary, lavender, jasmine, chamomile, bay leaf

Incense: Cinnamon, vanilla, jasmine, camphor, frankincense, and myrrh

Animals: Sheep, cows, goats, snakes, and swans


Here are a few ideas you can utilize to celebrate Imbolc:

Honor Goddess Brigid – Bonfires may be lit to honor the Goddess.

Set intentions with candle magick – invoke the energy of the fire elemental.

Make a Brigid’s Cross or Corn Husk Doll.

Explore and connect with nature – go outside and breathe in the fresh air, observe any signs of spring you might find.

Perform a cleansing ritual bath – using lavender and rosemary.

Use cinnamon; as this is the perfect, fiery spice to work with to connect with the energy of Imbolc. You could light a cinnamon incense or do some kitchen witchery to incorporate cinnamon!

Spells can include: Cleansing, growth, new starts and wishes.

Cleanse and adorn your altar using natural elements such as branches, antlers, white flowers, and acorns.

However, you choose to celebrate Imbolc, may it be filled with happiness and feelings of renewal and fresh beginnings.

Until next time, Live, Love, & Magick!

-Laurie Gouley, The Eclectic Green Witch

Try this recipe for Imbolc, it’s all done in one pan, so clean up is so easy!

Imbolc Ritual Cake

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can use gluten-free)

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

2 tbs. poppyseeds

1 tbs. zested lemon

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tbs. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

Powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking soda, and salt with a fork in an ungreased 9x9x2 baking pan. 

Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the powdered sugar. 

Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, and the top is golden brown. 

Remove from oven and cool. 

Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

Makes 8 servings. Enjoy! Happy Imbolc!

Laurie Gouley

via GIPHY


 


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