How To Celebrate Imbolc

The In Between Times February 1st - February 2nd

What is Imbolc?

The word Imbolc (pronounced IM-bolg or IM-bolk) is Old Irish for “In The Belly.”

It’s also known throughout the world as: 

  • Oimelc meaning, “ewe’s milk” and refers to the pregnant sheep coming into milk 
  • Candlemas or St. Brigid’s Day (Christianity).

A time between winter and spring. The divine energy of creation that was birthed in midwinter is growing, and nature is beginning to awaken.  It is a time to clear away and make space for the new growth taking place. To be joyful for the life that may seem dormant or even dead, but under the surface the energy of the earth is working magick, and the spark of divinity is awakening.

Once Yule has been celebrated the next Sabbat is Imbolc, which (depending where you are geographically) starts on February 1st sundown and ends February 2nd sundown.

On the wiccan wheel of the year Imbolc is one of the 8 Sabbats.  A time when the first lambs were born and animals were carrying life ready to be birthed, with the approaching spring, a time associated with fertility.

Imbolc Origins

Imbolc originated in pre-Christian Ireland and was celebrated the ancient Celts. Imbolc was celebrated to honor the first stirrings of life. 

Bonfires were lit in honor of Brigid and girls carried small dolls made of straw or oats representing the goddess from house to house to bless them. Sometimes offerings were left tied to trees near small springs called clootie wells.

The Imbolc Goddess Brigid

This pagan holiday celebrates the Celtic Goddess Brigid (pronounced Breed or Breej) was the daughter of Dagda, the oldest god in the Tuatha dé Danann or Celtic pantheon. Brigid is a fertility goddess. She rules the fire of the hearth as well as the fire of imagination through poetry.

When Christiainity came to Ireland, Brigid became Saint Brigid

Some pagan families would sing songs to welcome Brigid.

Here is an example of one by Lisa Thiel:

Blessed Woman come to me
Woman of the Fires,
Woman of Poetry
Blessed Woman come to me
Woman of Healing,
Woman of Skillful Means
Blessed woman of the land
Guide my heart and guide my hand
Blessed Woman of the streams
Guide my soul and guide my dreams

Blessed Woman come to me
Woman of the fires
Woman of Poetry,
Blessed Woman come to me
Woman of Healing
Woman of Skillful Means.
Blessed Woman of the hills
Heal all wounds and heal all ills
Blessed Woman of the flame
Awaken me to renew again.

Things to do for Imbolc

To take part of this life bringing energy there are many things you can do.  Here are some suggestions.

Make a Brigid Cross

After you make it, hang it in your house for protection

For instructions on how to make a Brigid Cross Enter Here to check out this website among many others

Make a Brigid Corn Dolly

(See Below)

Create a Priapic Wand

(See Below)

Feasts and fire

If you can find a place to have a bonfire or use a firepit, light a fire to ignite the welcoming of spring and honor the Goddess Brigid, and prepare a feast to give thanks for the blessings.

Spring Clean Your Home

Prepare your home by getting rid of old things that no longer belong and cleanse away those energies to make way for the rebirth of spring and all its new growth

Plant Something

On the Wheel of the Year, Imbolc is the first of three Spring festivals and a perfect time to plant your seeds.  As it may be winter outside and too cold to plant (depending on where you are), you can start your seeds indoors and when the weather improves and the last frost is safely in the past, plant your seedlings outdoors.

Some Keywords of Imbolc

  • Home and Hearth
  • Renewal
  • Growth
  • Birth
  • Fire
  • Purification
  • Creation
  • Cleanse

The Corn Dolly

Just like the Corn Dolly (Corn Mother) created at Lammas, during Imbolc, The Brigid corn dolly is created and placed into Brigid’s Bed, which can be made from a wicker basket, wooden or cardboard box and then decorated with paint, ribbon, flowers, herbs, and essential oils. The bed made for Brigid symbolizes gratefulness towards the goddess of the season and can be placed on your altar or as tradition by the fire of the hearth.  This dolly represents fertility and good fortune.

This dolly should be dressed in white, red and gold and placed into Brigid’s Bed with a priapic wand, discussed below.

The creation of the Brigid bed and Corn Dolly invites this goddess to come and stay for the night in your home, while blessing your family with fertility and healing. 

The Priapic Wand

Also created for the Brigid bed was the priapic wand to complete the fertility symbolism.

This wand was named after Priapus who was a god of fertility, always depicted with an erect phallus.  In some parts of the pagan and wiccan cultures  a Priapic wand (phallus like in appearance) is created to be used in rituals to bring in the new growth and birth of spring.

Once you have the Corn Dolly and Priapic Wand ready you place them  into the bed, and traditionally you should chant, “Brigid is Come! Brigid is Welcome!” three times.

Remember you can choose to honor this day in the way that feels right for you. The intent here is to honor the birthing of new life.