Saturday, August 1, 2009


The 31st of July is Imbolc in the southern hemisphere. It is the time when we start to notice the changes that began at mid-winter: the days are starting to get longer, the weather is warmer and all that lives is starting to sing with the promise that spring will soon be upon us.

The word Imbolc means 'in milk' in reference to the lactation of ewes that commences around this time. This sabbat has been known by many names, including Anagantios, Candelaria, Candlemas, Disting-tid, Feast Day of St. Blaize, Feast of Brigid, Feast of the Virgin, Festival of Light, Festival of Milk, Imbolg, Oimealg (Druidic) and St. Bridget’s Day.

Some of the themes and symbols associated with Imbolc are Besoms, Brides, Brighid's Crosses, Candle Wheels, Candles, Dispensing of the old and making way for the new, Fertility, First signs of returning life, Growth, Ploughs, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), Purity, Renewal, Re-Union of the Goddess and the God and White Flowers.

The colours of Imbolc are all around us - brown, green, pink, red, silver, white and yellow.

We are well before the first harvest but the changes in the available food is still significant at Imbolc. Some of the foods associated with this time of year are dairy products, garlic, herbal teas, honey, lamb, milk, muffins, onions, peppers, poppyseed cakes, pork, poultry, pumpkin seeds, raisins, scones and breads, spiced wines and sunflower seeds.

There are a wide range of flowers, herbs and incense that are appropriate for Imbolc, such as angelica, basil, bay, benzoine, blackberry, celandine, cinnamon, clover, coltsfoot, dill, evergreen, heather, iris, laurel, myrrh, rosemary, tansy, vanilla, violets, willow and wisteria.

Celebrations at Imbolc are often focused on Brigid (also spelt Bridget, Brigit, Brighid or Bride) who is honoured as the Goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft, although many sources also refer to her as the Goddess of fire (the forge and the hearth), childbirth, peace and unity, song, physicians, divination and prophecy, light (knowledge), inspiration, creativity and fertility. In Christianity she is revered as a Saint.

Whether you celebrate Imbolc or not, this is a wonderful time to clear away the dust of the confines of winter and clear out your house, your mind and your spirit. It is a time of initiations and beginnings so reflection and celebration of this sabbat aligns with these aspirations beautifully.

Whatever you chose to do this Imbolc, my wish for you is that you are taking action to fulfil your dreams. Imbolc blessings to all.


greekwitch said...

Happy Imbolc to you! During Imbolc i usually make my own magickal candles. It is pretty fun but you can also infuse them with whatever energy you want.Have a wonderful time whatever you decide to do.
Blessed be.

Sylvia said...

Thank you for reminding. This year I've been having so many disgraces in my life that I completely forgot. In my homeland it is called The Lady of the Candles. I loved your choice of magic and medicinal plants.

Shadow said...

...and i'm right there where you describe. thanks for the reminder. there are a few things i'd like to do. will get on with them now.

Wendy said...

Blessings Georgina, Sylvia and Shadow. I hope the magic of this sabbat has been with you this year.