by Tara Pilaprat
Imbolc begins at Sunset on January 31 and continues throughout the following day of February 1 and is a time where many witches choose to honour the Celtic Goddess Brigid, in her many aspects (Isis, Cerridwen, Kali etc).
Imbolc season lends itself to magical work related to purification, as well as protection, creativity, fertility, healing, and miracles.
In front of a fire or flame. Light a fire in your fireplace, create an outdoor fire, or just light a red pillar candle on your altar, and meditate. Merge your awareness with that of the fire and let it burn away negativity or stuck energy while awakening your spirit and enlivening your soul.
2.) Light every single one of any partly-burned candles at sunset.
If you have a bunch of half-burned candles, here’s an opportunity to put them to good use: place them around your home, and then safely light every single one of them at sunset on February 1st. Then take a moment to ritually welcome the Goddess Brigid into your space, along with her blessings of purification, miracles, and healing.
Keep them burning as long as you can safely attend to them, and then extinguish. When it’s convenient and desirable, repeat this process periodically until the Equinox, or until the candles are burned all the way down.
3.) Add Epsom salt, sea salt, and baking soda to your bathwater, and burn a candle as you bathe.
The ancient shrine of the Goddess Brigid in Kildare, Ireland had a constantly burning flame. The Goddess/saint also has a sacred well nearby, which is believed to have healing properties.
Draw upon the healing energy of Brigid’s healing waters and fire by calling on her before lighting a candle and soaking in a purifying salt bath.
4.) Hang a Brigid’s Cross over your front door.
Using dried rushes or a similar dried plant material, you can craft a Brigid’s cross to hang it over your front door to protect and purify your home. At Imbolc, next year, throw it on a fire and craft a new one to refresh its power.
5.) Tie some tiny bells to your broom and sweep the floor.
Brooms are powerful things and so are bells! Simply sweeping with intention is a beautiful way to clear out old energy and make room for the new.
And by tying tiny bells to your broom, you add the benefit of sprinkling the magical blessings of early Spring throughout your space while cleansing the vibrations in the air.
BONUS: How to make an Imbolc Altar
Depending on your preference and your available space, there are numerous ways you can set up your altar for this Sabbat.
NOTE: These are just suggestions, you should set up your altar to your liking and with what materials you have. Be sure to place your altar in a spot where you’ll be able to see it and work with it, even if it’s just a quick acknowledgement, during the Sabbat season.
THE IMBOLC ALTAR: Imbolc is a Moon festival, Celtic festival of lighting of the new fire and feast of Goddess Brigid.
Imbolc is a festival of hope and trust and the time when new life is stirring and there is promise of Spring and rebirth in the air. It marks a time for inner reflection as well.
You may wish to include a statue of the Goddess on your altar or a symbol of the Goddess such as a Brigid’s Cross. The altar cloth can be whatever you choose, but white is appropriate.
Use lots of red and white candles to welcome back the light. Use a small set of candles or lights to brighten your altar in acknowledgement of this fire festival.
You may include a small bowl of seeds and sprouts as a symbol of fertility and rebirth.
COLOURS: Traditionally, the colours of red and white are associated with Brigid. The white is the colour of the blanket of snow, and the red symbolizes fire. In some traditions, the red is connected with the blood of life.
Brigid is also tied to the colour green, both for the green mantle she wears and for the life growing beneath the Earth. Decorate your altar with a white cloth. Feel free to add green candles in silver candle-holders.
BEGINNINGS OF NEW LIFE: Imbolc is the harbinger of Spring, so any plants that symbolize the new growth are appropriate.
Add planted potted bulbs and Spring flowers such as Forsythia, Crocus, Daffodils, and Snowdrops. If you don’t have much luck planting bulbs, think about making a Brigids Crown as a centrepiece; it combines flowers and candles together.
OTHER SYMBOLS OF BRIGID/IMBOLC:
- Cauldrons or chalices — she’s often connected to sacred wells and Springs.
- A small anvil or hammer as Brigid is the Goddess of smith-craft.
- A Brigid corn doll and Priapic (acorn-tipped) wand.
- Sacred animals such as Cows, Sheep or Swans.
- A Goddess statue representing Her in the Maiden aspect.
- A book of poetry, or a poem you’ve written as Brigid is the patroness of poets.
- Faeries. In some traditions, Brigid is a sister of the Fae.
- Healing herbs — she’s often connected to healing rites.
- Lots of candles, or a cauldron with a small fire (or Earth and a small candle) in it.
- Pictures or statues of the Goddess.
- White clothes, white candles, white ribbons, white flowers or the first flowers of the season.
- Brigids bed and cross.
- Lamps and candles.
- Silver candles, silver candlesticks and silver bowls.
- Melted snow in a bottle or bowl.
- Pictures or statues of the God.
- Representations of animals of the season.
- Witch’s broom to symbolize the sweeping out of the old.
- A sprig of evergreen.
If this essay resonates with you, please join our WITCH email list by using the forms on this website so we can stay in touch.
About the Author:
Tara Pilaprat is a co-founder and teacher at fxywlf. She currently is spending her time writing a Sabbat series for her Magical Magazine, Issue #2 IMBOLC is available now! FXYWLF Magical Magazine’s focus is on the theme on the Wheel of the Year. Tara is also creating a practical magic course on the 7 planetary days of the week, called Slay. She is able to channel esoteric concepts and understandings, so that they can be applied, experienced, and then taught (no longer just theory). Her purpose is to teach ancient wisdoms as modern truths and daily practices. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and learn more about her on the website, www.fxywlf.com
featured image source