Imbolg, also known as Candlemas, comes six weeks
after Yule and six weeks before the Spring Equinox. At this time, Witches
honor the Celtic Triple Goddess Brid (pronounced Breed) in her maiden aspect.
Brid or Brigid is goddess of fire, inspiration, healing, craftsmanship,
and midwifery. She is patroness of the hearth, poets, smiths, craftspeople,
healers, and priests.
Imbolg is the winter Festival of Lights. It is
the quickening of the year, the first fetal stirrings of Spring in the
womb of Mother Earth. Spring lies within sight and the seed is prepared
for sowing. It is a fire festival, but emphasis is put on light rather
than heat -- light as it begins to pierce the gloom of winter.
February 2 is also Groundhog's Day (USA). The
groundhog is a manifestation of the God. He has been sleeping since Samhain
and stirs in his slumber to get a take on the coming light.
If Candlemas day be sunny and bright,
Winter again will show its might.
Imbolc is a time of purification itself. The concept
of Spring Cleaning came from this Sabbat. Traditionally the greens of Yule
that are left in place for our protection during the deepest Winter months
are now removed and burned in a sacred fire. The home is physically cleaned
from top to bottom. But its not only our outward surroundings that we can
spring clean, but also a time to look with in ourselves and 'clean out'
our insides too. To look at our relationships ~ is there any 'unfinished
business' that we need to take care of? Have we hurt someone and not made
recompense or sought forgiveness? Should they choose to forgive us
or not is their choice, but we can forgive ourselves and learn by our mistakes.
Are there old issues from the past that affect our present and hinder our
spiritual growth? Free from unnecessary baggage we are ready to face the
Spring Rites which are only a few weeks away.
If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon
will pass away.
The herbs of Imbolg play both a practical and
spiritual role, in some cases fortifying your strength and endurance, and
in others making you feel good about yourself emotionally and spiritually.
Cabot from _Celebrate the Earth_)
Imbolg's symbolic tree is the ash tree. Herbs
of the season are:
Heather, dried sage, celandine, lemon,
honey, dried chamomile, coriander seeds, garlic, rose hips, ash leaf or
wood, witch hazel or hazel leaves, sunflower seeds, dried sunflower petals,
vervain,violets, wheat, corn, grains, myrrh, storax, balsams, dragon's
blood, benzoin, mastic
Brigid in her maiden aspect.
The Three-Fold Fire of Brighid
Fire in the forge that shapes and tempers
Fire in the cauldron that nourishes and heals
Fire in the head that incites and inspires
Traditional foods are from dairy products and
spiced with onion, leek, garlic, shallot, and/or olives. The wine may be
spiced and the food may contain raisins. Bread puddings and creamy soups
Asparagus Spears With Herb
Wise and Creamy Salmon Soup
Campanelli, Pauline, Wheel of the Year, Llewellyn Publications
Moorey, Theresa, Paganism, A Beginners Guide, Hodder
and Stoughton 1996
Kightly, Carlo, The Perpetual Almanac of Folklore, Thames
& Hudson 1987
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