Can you feel it? The sun is getting stronger and the days are getting longer once more! After Yule, the cycle of the seasons moves on back towards the light and promise of spring. This is Imbolc. In my native Vermont, February happens to be one of the coldest months of the year. Spring is still a long ways off, but even so you can still start to feel the warmth of the sun once more. In the warmer places I’ve lived, like where I currently live in Japan, spring is far closer. As Imbolc approaches so too does the time for sewing seeds! I can hardly believe it, but in the coming weeks I will be planting and preparing my garden for spring!
What is Imbolc?
Imbolc is historically a Gaelic festival that marks the beginning of spring, as it marks the half way point between Winter Solstice, and the Spring Equinox. Imbolc celebrations have historically been celebrations of the goddess Brigid. Celebrations included the making of Brigid’s Crosses, Brídeóg (a doll associated with Brigid), and offerings of food and clothing to the goddess. These celebrations were later Christianized to St. Brigid’s Day when the goddess Brigid was associated with St. Brigid. Today, modern NeoPagans and Wiccans celebrate Imbolc with celebrations that honor the goddess Brigid and many of the old customs. St. Brigid’s Day remains an important Christian holiday in Ireland.
Modern Imbolc is a time of transformation and purification. It marks the beginning of change, and biding farewell to darkness and that which holds you back. Purification and cleansing rituals are especially appropriate at this time of year. Imbolc is the time to welcome back and celebrate the returning light and greet it with a fresh perspective and open mind.
St. Brigid’s Day, Candlemas
Looking for more Imbolc inspiration, information, & ideas?
When is Imbolc?
Activities to Celebrate Imbolc
- Plant seeds.
- Make a Brigid’s Cross.
- Make a Brídeóg
- Light candles throughout your home.
- Or, light every lamp in your house.
- Make a cake that includes seed (like lemon poppy seed).
- Make a birdseed wreath for the wild birds.
- Donate food or clothing to charities.
- Plan your garden.
- Brigid’s Cross
- Brídeóg/Bridey Dolls
- St. Brigid
- Triple Goddess as the Maiden
- Light Green
- All white flowers
Stones & Gems
- Anything made with seeds.
- Dairy Products
- Chamomile Tea
- Breads & Cakes
- Spiced Wines
Imbolc is the perfect time of year to look forward and embrace the future yet to come. It is the time to plant the seeds you will reap in the later months of the year. Now is the time to embrace life, release that which holds you back and step into the light.