A Covens High Priestess may wear a crown of lights (candles) to symbolize the return of the Goddess to her Maiden aspect, just as the Sun God has reached puberty. Brigid’s snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, (the origin of Ground Hog Day), and in many places, the first Crocus flowers began to spring forth from the frozen earth.
The Christian religion adopted a number of these themes, as follows: February 1 became St. Brigit's Day, and February 2 became Candlemas, the day to make and bless candles for the liturgical year. The 'Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary ' adapts the Maiden Goddess theme. The alternative date of February 14, Old Candlemas, was Christianized as Valentine's Day is still employed by some Covens.
Imbolc is traditionally the great festival and honoring of Brigid (Brighid, Bride, Brigit), so loved as a pagan Goddess that her worship was woven into the Christian church as St Bridget. Brigid is a Goddess of healing, poetry, and smithcraft. She is a Goddess of Fire, of the Sun and Hearth. She brings fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and new-born babies. She is the Triple Goddess, but at Imbolc, she is in her Maiden aspect.
Imbolc, in the Celtic seasonal calendar, marks the beginning of the lambing season and signals the beginning of spring and the stirrings of new life. It is the quickening of the year. The original word Imbolg means 'in the belly'. Energy is pregnant and expectant - and physically only just visible if at all, like the gentle curve of a 'just-showing' pregnancy. It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life's insatiable appetite for rebirth.
Purity, Growth and Renewal, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new, Quickening
Herbs of Imbolc:
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.
Foods of Imbolc:
Seeds, Dairy (particularly cheese, butter, and milk), Eggs, Preserved foods, Storage Vegetables, Baked Goods (particularly bread), Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas
As with all Sabbats, fire is an important part of the day. Bonfires, hearth fires, and candles are common symbols of the day. Roasting and baking foods can harness the heat and warmth to be internalized to refresh your own energy.
Many of you don’t have schedules that allow for a full day of feasting honoring the Sabbat. So I am giving a free Imbolc Recipe Book with a full day worth of foods to bring a little magick into the meals you need to eat anyway…why not make them magickal? Many of these recipes can be made or at least set up a day or two ahead so your Sabbat isn’t stressful.