Imbolc is celebrated at the beginning of February (1st February 2018) it is also known as Oimelc an Irish word, which roughly translated is ‘Ewes Milk’.
It was an important festival centred on the new farming season. They hoped that by harnessing divine energies that their labours would be rewarded with a continuous food supply, over the next 6 months. Livestock were relied on heavily for their milk and so lambing etc would be long awaited.
This festival was also held to honour the goddess of fire Brigid. She represented healing, poetry, fertility and smith craft. She would symbolise fertility and during this time is in her maiden form. Brigid was said to be the daughter of Dagda, she had no mother but was said to have been born as the sun began to glow one morning. She was said to keep bees who`s magical honey would be used to make her sacred candles. She is said to represent creativity and her light can help to guide you through dark times.
We can still reflect on nature today and how its actions, however small can have lasting effects throughout the year. This can also be true for us…the actions we take now can shape the year ahead. It is a time to let go and move forward with new ideas. If we plan what we wish to achieve we can begin to take the steps needed to create the change. Looking at your finances now and planning ahead can prevent problems further ahead. How you eat and look after yourself can set you on the path to being healthier and happier.
Taking simple practical steps can get you thinking in a more productive way. Spring cleaning was actually an old ritual that would signify clearing out the old, taking stock of things that needed to be repaired, and clearing the way for the new. This also allows you to clear your mind as you take stock of your physical life you are also thinking about the future, the things that you need and those that will no longer be required.
As with most pagan festivals pulling together as a family or community played an important role during festivities. This was because many people would have worked together to produce and harvest the food that sustained them. Hold your gathering and remember the importance of the people in your life.
Plant your own seeds or bulbs. As you tend them, reflect on other ways you can begin something new and with hard work and dedication, see how you flourish and grow.
The snowdrop also known as the Candlemas Bell is a flower which represents Brigid and the Christian celebration of Candlemas the day after Imbolc. With the delicate first signs of this flower appearing, we know that spring has begun and the sun is beginning to regain its energy.
On your alter place snowdrops and light candles in the colours of Orange or Yellow to represent the Sun, White for purity and new beginnings. This will aid you, in your work with the Goddess Brigit. If you feel that you would like to start afresh and really create change, you could dress you alter completely in white. Meditate and focus on what you are unhappy with and clearly picture yourself moving forward into your new space.
As this is a Sabbat of purification, it is also a good time to clear and cleanse your home. Take stock….look at your herbs and candles, replenishing if needed. Look to the year ahead and what you wish to achieve. Start to plan and take the necessary steps that you need to reach your goals.