Celebrating Imbolc

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Imbolc is one of our favorite pagan festivals, celebrated by the northern hemisphere on the 1st or the 2nd of February and the southern hemisphere on the 1st or 2nd of August! We know that it’s a little more difficult to get together with loved ones at the moment but whether or not you practice solitary witchcraft, are part of a wider community or a coven, or are still hiding safely in the broom closet, let us share with you our favorite ways to celebrate Imbolc and the Pagan deity Brigid.

For those of you who don’t know, or are new to the Pagan religion, Imbolc is a Pagan festival that we use to celebrate half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. We use it to appreciate the sun and its warmth beginning to return to the earth after winter,  the celebrate the lengthening of the days and to surrender to the cyclical nature of the changing of the seasons. The celebration is Neolithic in its origins, dating back to early Gaelic Pagan settlements. It is mentioned a lot in early Irish literature, and was a massive symbol of fertility, nourishment and good things to come due to the introduction of new foods back into the diets of the people (such as milk, from the birthing yews).

At Imbolc we give offerings to and channel our intentions through the pagan goddess Brigid. Brigid is the goddess of the hearth and the home; she embodies everything that is warm and life-giving about the approaching of spring and she is often connected to maternal roles in nature. She is said to be a ‘mother to all’, often believed to protect the young people and the homesteads of pagan communities. The animal most frequently connected to Brigid is the swan, a wonderfully elegant creature who is a fierce and strong protector of children. She is also often linked to philanthropic endeavors, encouraging communities to engage in charity work and taking care of the most vulnerable people among them, so she is a symbol of good will within the pagan religion. Brigid was such a well-loved deity that when Ireland transferred from Paganism to Christianity, the people made her a Saint and were still able to celebrate Imbolc through St Brigid’s day or ‘Candlemas’, during which celebrations people would light candles in her honor. Brigid is often depicted with the images of fire and the colour red, representing the incoming of warmth, making way for growth.

Common crystals that are often used to celebrate at Imbolc are ones that are also associated with fire and forage or just general good vibes and good fortune. So, if you’ve got some carnelian, sunstone, amethyst, malachite or citrine, you better got those babies out and on your alter. Use the energy from the crystals to intensify your intentions whilst you are reflecting, manifesting, conducting rituals or casting spells this Imbolc.

Herbs that you can use to celebrate at Imbolc are the bay leaf, ginger, basil and cinnamon, or any other herb or spice that you personally feel connects you to this time of year and warming of the earth. You can use the herbs as part of your cooking or baking during Imbolc, which you can enjoy as part of a feast (a popular way to celebrate) or you can use them in tea, burn them, use them in rituals or in a smudge as part of your house cleansing.


Some of our favorite rituals at this time of year that you can easily take part in are as follows –

  • Candle ceremony

You can light candles either in your outside spaces or inside the house, using a specific candle to represent Brigid and the sun returning to the earth for longer periods. You can even light candles to represent yourself and your family. You can use this time to reflect on the things that Imbolc represents whilst setting your intentions for the coming season. If you are outside you can place the candle on the ground, representing fire, light and warmth coming back to the earth, it’s even better if it’s been snowing. There are many ways to do candle ceremonies, feel free to explore different rituals using candles.

  • Water from the garden

If it has been snowing outside, you can bring the snow inside for it to melt, once the snow has melted you can use it to water the plants that you have around your house. Again, this represents the warming of the earth, nourishment of life, fertility and the changing of the seasons.

  • Bay leaf burning

A fun way to focus on manifestation is by writing your intentions down on a bay leaf. You can focus on things that you want to draw into your life to nourish you, or things that you plan to expel from your life in the coming season. Once you have set your intentions you can put them out into the universe by burning the bay leaf.

  • Feast

Many pagans love to celebrate this time of year with a feast accompanied by their loved ones. Whether you live alone or with family/friends/significant others, you can cook up a storm using seasonal offerings and ingredients that are associated with this time of year and enjoy!

  • House cleansing

Imbolc is the perfect time for new beginnings, this is why so many people partake in what we now refer to as spring cleaning. To clean the homestead physically sets you up to begin the next phase of the yearly cycle happily and healthy. You can also cleanse the energy of your home by burning a sage smudge stick, you can even incorporate Imbolc related herbs in your smudge stick if you would like!

  • Divination through ash

Ancient Celtic traditions saw pagan people carrying out divination using the ash from the fire they burned on Imbolc. The day after the festival, once the fire had burned out, the ashes would be scattered in front of the fire, people would often pick out patterns in the ashes as signifiers of what they could expect moving forward. If they couldn’t pick out any patterns it was assumed that nothing would change too much. You can do this yourself this Imbolc using any divination practice you feel most drawn to. If you have a real fire inside your home, you could even give the ash throwing a whirl!

Great things to put on your alter for the festival of Imbolc are naturally foraged things at this time of year. You can keep an eye out for things that you feel drawn to on you daily walks (if you partake) keep a special eye out for oak trees as the oak is often associated with the goddess Brigid, you could collect acorns for your alter, leaves or foraged items. Due to the feminine and maternal nature of the festival things like cauldrons are perfect for your alter at this time. Of course, you could incorporate Imbolc related crystals and herbs. You can even use candles or figures to be a representation of Brigid upon your alter.

We hope this has been helpful and we wish you a very joyful Imbolc and a prosperous spring time!