|**graphic by Sonja Bannick**|
Merry Meet and Brightest Imbolc Blessings to all of you.
Imbolc is typically celebrated on the 1st or 2nd of February. It is also known as Candlemas, or Brigid's day. Today we honor the Celtic Goddess Brigid, goddess of fire, artists, smiths, and healing. When the Irish were converted to Christianity, the Christians made her into a Saint, as she was very much loved by her people. When they did this they set St.Brigid's day to honor her. St. Brigid's day is typically the day before Imbolc. Her festival was originally known as Imbolc. In Irish Gaelic the name for Imbolc is Oimelc which translates to "ewes milk." It's named this as it is the time of the newborn lambs and the promise of spring coming soon.
In Ireland, at this time of year, even though it was still cold and harsh, they began to prepare their land for Spring farming. In ancient Pagan times they would circle the field with torches to purify and make ready the land. In the Celtic traditions today is the day that we would remove any Yuletide greenery still in our homes and burn them to make ready the coming of spring.
During this Sabbat we honor the Maiden as a Bride. Traditionally corn dollies would be made from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets filled with white flowers. You will also see Brigid's crosses made from wheat, and exchanged to symbolize protection and prosperity.
Deities of Imbolc: All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.
Symbolism of Imbolc: Purity, Growth and Re-Newal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.
Symbols of Imbolc: Brideo'gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid's Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.
Herbs of Imbolc: Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.
Foods of Imbolc: Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.
Incense of Imbolc: Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.
Colors of Imbolc: White, Pink, Red, Yellow, lt. Green, Brown.
Stones of Imbolc: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.
Activities of Imbolc: Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Snow Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Making of Brideo'gas and Bride's Beds, Making Priapic Wands, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires maybe lit.
Love and Blessings,