Imbolc - The First of the Fire Festivals
Imbolc (im-bulk), meaning "in the belly", takes place midway between Yule and Beltane. This, the first of the Fire festivals, is the time of the year when our days are becoming visibly longer as the Sun spends more and more time in the sky with each passing day. At this time we can feel new life stirring “in the belly” of Mother Earth as we see the first faint green touches of Spring shyly peaking forth from the cold ground. Imbolc, also known as Oiemelc or "ewes milk", celebrates the first lactation of the ewes signifying the beginning of the lambing season and considered by ancient agrarian cultures as the first sign of the coming spring.
In many cultures this is also traditionally a time when signs are sought to foretell the next season's bounty. Most popular among these in western culture is waiting to see if a snake or a groundhog, (both animals which hibernate during cold winters,) would leave their winter den, thereby predicting the length of the remaining Winter.
Today we light a special candle and bring it into every room in the house to chase away the darkness of winter in anticipation of the warmth of Spring. We cleanse and decorate our altars with the seasons first growth, and burn magical candles for this season. This is a good a time to stock up on candles and focus on Fire Magic. What are you ready to shed light upon or burn away?
This day is Sacred, particularly to Brigid, the Goddess of Smithcraft, Poetry, Magick, Fire, and Light. In some traditions a dolly representing the Goddess is made from the seasons first greenery. Then a basket is prepared called the Brigid's bed. The dolly is placed in the basket and a white wand is placed in her hand. The basket is then set on the previously smoothed ashes of the hearth until morning. The next day if the ashes are disturbed the Goddess has blessed the house with prosperity for the coming warmer months. If the ashes are not disturbed, it was taken to mean that the Goddess was offended, and an offering must be buried in the ground where two streams meet.
The Wheel turns, and the Sun is gaining strength, as the young God keeps pace. The Goddess renews herself at the Well of Eternal Life, casting aside all memory of the Darkness of Winter, and is once again the Young Maiden. She is again wild and free, cavorting and playing through the budding growth of creation with the God, both of them full of the energy and potential of Life.
Supplies for your Imbolc