|Also known as: Candlemass, Imbolg, Bride's Day, Oimelc, and Brid's Day|
|Date: February 1st or 2nd|
|Symbols: Candles, Brides, Grain Dolly, Burrowing Animals, Ewes|
|Colors: White, Silver, and Pale Yellow|
|Deities: Virgin or Child Goddesses, Gods as Young Men or Boys|
|Herbs: Basil, Bay, Benzoin, and celandine may be burned; Angelica, myrrh, yellow and white flowers may be used as altar decorations.|
|*Imbolc is THE Sabbat which honors the Goddess as the waiting bride of the returning sun God. Before the Nordic influence, it was also the Sabbat in which the Celts saw the sun as being born anew. In Ireland it was, and still is, a special day to honor the Goddess Brid in her guise of bride. The modern Irish know this as St. Briget's Day, St. Briget being a vaguely disguise and Christianized version of the Pagan Goddess.|
|Celts would often dress grain dollies, representations made from dried sheaves from the previous harvest, as brides, and set them in a place of honor within their homes. They were usually placed in cradles called Bride's Beds, and nuts, symbols of male fertility, were tossed in with them.|
|This is also a Sabbat where candles are lit in profusion, often within a wreath, another symbol of the Wheel of the Year. These are symbolic of the heat and light of the returning sun.|
At Imbolc the deities are still youthful and not yet joined as one through sacred marriage. They are innocent and fun-loving, and are waiting just as anxiously for spring as we are.
|*from: "Celtic Myth and Magick"- Edain McCoy|
Activities: Here are a few suggestions for Imbolc activities, some of which can be incorporated into the Sabbat celebration or simply as someting to make the day more special, especially for children.
Burn the Yule greens to send winter on its way.
Make the Bride's Bed using the Corn or Wheat Doll made the previous Lughnassadh. Dress the doll in white or blue with a necklace that represents the seasons. Lay it in a long basket adorned with ribbons; light white candles on either side of the basket, and say:
"Welcome the bride both maiden and mother;
rest and prepare for the time of the seed;
cleansed and refreshed from labors behind her;
with the promise of spring she lays before me."
Next morning, remove the dress and scatter the wheat outdoors (or if you use corn, hang it up in a tree for the squirrels and birds). this can be seen in terms of the Lady's recovery from the birthing bed and readiness to begin the turning of the seasons anew.
The Imbolc Corn Doll represents the mother nurturing her son, who will grow and become her husband. This is the earth and the sun, which is still weak but gaining in strength.
On Imbolc Eve, leave buttered bread in a bowl indoors for the faeries who travel with the Lady of Greenwood. Next day, dispose of it as the "essence" will have been removed.
Place three ears of corn on the door as a symbol of the Triple GOddess and leave until Ostara.
Light a white candle and burn sandalwood incense.
Cleanse the area where you do card readings or scrying with a censor burning rosemary or vervain, and say:
"By the power of this smoke I wash away the negative
influences that this place be cleansed for the Lady and her babe."
Cleanse the altar and equipment, do a self-purification rite with the elemental tools representing earth (salt) for body, air (incense) for thoughts; fire (candle flame) for will; and water (water) for emotions.
Make dream pillows for everyone in the family.
Create a Solar Cross from palm fronds, make enough to place one in each room of the house. Place a red pillar-style candle center to the front door; with palm crosses in hand, light the candle and open the door and say:
"We welcome in the Goddess and seek the turning
of the wheel away from winter and into spring."
Close door; take up the candle and go to each room of the house and say:
"Great Lady enter with the sun and watch over this room!"
Leave a Solar Cross in the room and proceed thusly throughout the house. This is great for the kids as you can divide up the tasks for each to do - one can hold the palms, another can open doors, another can carry the candle, and so forth. The last room should be the kitchen and here you say:
"Mother of the earth and sun,
Keep us safe and keep us warm,
As over our home you extend your blessings."
*Activities taken from "Green Witchcraft" by Anne Moura (Aoumiel)
|For an Imbolc Ritual Click Here|
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