Updated: Apr 1
A look into the symbolism of Imbolc, its correspondences & magickal activities for the Sabbat!
Imbolc is one of the oldest celebrations that marks the beginning of Spring, a fire festival whose origins date back centuries, originally thought to have been a celebration of the Goddess Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of the Hearth, Fertility and Fire. The celebration of Imbolc can be traced back to Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, with variations of the festival being found across Europe. This Sabbat is one of the four ancient Celtic fire festivals and although originally a celebration of the Goddess Brigid, it was later Christianised to be St. Brigid's day. Imbolc is celebrated from February 1 - February 2, being the midway point between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara). The original name of the celebration is ''Imbolg'', coming from the Gaelic language and meaning ''in the belly''.
The Wheel of the Year is once again turning toward this sacred Sabbat and with this turn, the promise of a new season to come, Spring. Imbolc represents the promise of change, transition, and growth; light is beginning to return to the Earth after the darkness of Winter and the Sun is now lighting the way towards Spring. We can sense this change all around us as the weather becomes slightly warmer, the day's become longer and the colours are beginning to slowly transition from brown to green. The promise of Spring and of new life is still but a whisper, but all is "in the belly" of the Earth awaiting to be awoken with the glow of the Sun and with this awakening, life will blossom from the fertile ground to bring forth the new season of Spring. During Imbolc, we're stand in the middle of the two seasons, we begin to leave behind Winter and look forward to the promise of regrowth.
As we reach Imbolc, this Wiccan Sabbat brings forward an ideal time for us to take a step back and to reflect on the coming months. Just as we are leaving behind the dark days of Winter for the warmer and lighter days of Spring, so must we leave behind the old patterns/habits/circumstances in our lives that are no longer serving us in order to welcome the new possibilities and opportunities that the coming season will bring into our lives. This is the time to make use of the renewing and promising energy of Imbolc to carve out the way towards new beginnings, self-development and growth. An ideal time to work on ourselves and to reflect on what we wish to accomplish in the coming months, as well as a time to reflect on what we leave behind in order to move forward.
All burrowing and hibernating animals.
Herbs & Flowers
Activities for Imbolc
The Brigid Cross
The making of the Brigid's Cross is an iconic tradition to mark the first day of Spring. These crosses are normally hung above doorways and window frames as well as over the bed to protect the home against evil. It's believed that tucking a Brigid Cross underneath the mattress will aid in the conception of a child and historically, these crosses were used to bless seeds before planting to ensure a prosperous harvest. Brigid's Crosses are typically made of reeds or straws though any pliable material can be used to make them. They can then be decorated with feathers, ribbons or flowers of significance for you.
If you haven't made a Brigid's Cross before, here's an easy guide: Click Me
Spring Clean Your Home
Imbolc is an ideal time to give your home a proper, spring cleaning. Even the most mundane act can be made into ritual with intention! The Wiccan Sabbat is a time of renewal, of new beginnings and of new possibilities. Clean, scrub the surfaces down, reorganise and get rid of the clutter that is only serving to create stagnant energy into your home. Clear your home in order to be ready to receive the new blessings that will come your way in the new season! When mopping your home, begin from the back and out towards the front door to get rid of unwanted and toxic energy. Open your windows to allow fresh air to flow through your home (if it's not too cold!). Spring cleaning the home will not only clean the physical surroundings but rather it will also remove stagnant energy from your home.
Use the vibrant energy of this Sabbat in your magickal working. Imbolc is an ideal time to undertake the following work:
Cleansing and Purification Spells
All workings new beginnings.
Light the Fire
Another tradition and probably one of the most notable with Imbolc is the lighting of a fire. Light a fire and gather around with friends and family to reflect, celebrate and mark this sacred Sabbat. You can take small pieces of paper and within them write things you wish to dispel and get rid of from your life, then toss them in the bonfire for a simple ritual. Don't forget! Imbolc is also a time of feasting so take part in the tradition and make some dishes to share with loved ones. Traditional foods include anything with seeds, bread, honey cakes, bread puddings, foods with berries and more! If you can't light a bonfire, then candles make for an ideal substitute. Anoint the candles with a sabbat ritual oil to invoke the energy of Imbolc. This is a time to make wishes of what you wish to receive (prosperity, love, etc.) or you can carve them on the candles before anointing for a simple form of candle magick. You can make use of an oil such as the Imbolc Sabbat Oil to dress the candles.
Brigids Doll | Bridey Doll
Making a Brigid Doll is another activity that can be done to commemorate Imbolc. Similar to making a Brigid Cross, the Brigid Doll is made out of straw or reed and decorated with flowers, ribbons and fabrics. After being made, the Brigid Doll is placed by the hearth of the home (the fireplace) in order to bring blessings, good fortune and prosperity into the home.
Here's a guide to making a Brigid Doll: Click Me