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History of Imbolc lore (FEBRUARY) pagan festival sabbat

posted on 29 January 2015 | posted in pagan  | ( 0 ) Comments

Imbolc Lore (Usually February 1st/2nd)

This Sabbat marks the early beginnings of spring. The longer days rejuvinate the Goddess after giving birth to the God, and the suns new warmth brings fertility, causing the seeds of life to germinate and sprout. This Sabbat is all about new life and purification after the cold harshness of Winter. The longer days feel inspiring and fresh, and at this time of the year we celebrate Imbolc as the festival of fertility and light. This is also one of the traditional times covens take on new initiates, bringing new life to the coven as a reflection of the world finding new life

Imbolc ~ Starting Clean and Clear.

Imbolc originated as a Celtic fire festival that celebrated the first stirrings of spring. Its name is said to come from a word that means " in the belly", which may refer to the life beginning to sprout under the earth or to the baby lambs that are often born at this time. Magickally and practically, this is a good time for new beginnings and setting your goals for the year. Because Imbolc is also a time for cleansing and purification, consider performing a simple ritual that combines both aspects of the holiday.
First, start with a ritual bath or shower. Use a sea salt scrub (easily made by combining sea salt and a few dried herbs like rosemary and peppermint) to gently scrub away old skin and old patterns. After bathing, smudge yourself with a sage stick. Now you can start your new journey.
Light a white candle and sit quietly with a pen and a pad or maybe your book of shadows. Write down everyday (mundane) goals, then your spiritual and magickal ones. Be specific, be reasonable, but dont be afraid to set goals you'll have to work hard to attain. It's a new beginning, after all, and the sky's the limit.

Imbolc, (pronounced "IM-bulk" or "EM-bowlk"), also called Oimealg, ("IM-mol'g), by the Druids, is the festival of the lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word "oimelc" which means "ewes milk". Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brighid'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 Maiden is honored, as the Bride, on this Sabbat. Straw Brideo'gas (corn dollies) are created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. Young girls then carry the Brideo'gas door to door, and gifts are bestowed upon the image from each household. Afterwards at the traditional feast, the older women make special acorn wands for the dollies to hold, and in the morning the ashes in the hearth are examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. Brighid's Crosses are fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year. Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom is place by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honour the re-birth of the Sun.

Another traditional symbol of Imbolc is the plough. In some areas, this is the first day of ploughing in preparation of the first planting of crops. A decorated plough is dragged from door to door, with costumed children following asking for food, drinks, or money. Should they be refused, the household is paid back by having its front garden ploughed up. In other areas, the plough is decorated and then Whiskey, the "water of life" is poured over it. Pieces of cheese and bread are left by the plough and in the newly turned furrows as offerings to the nature spirits. It is considered taboo to cut or pick plants during this time.

Also seen to be traditional upon Imbolc is, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house - if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honour of the Sun's rebirth. Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window. If snow lies on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, recalling the warmth of summer. With your projective hand, trace an image of the Sun on the snow.

Foods appropriate to eat on this day include those from the dairy, since Imbolc marks the festival of calving. Sour cream dishes are fine. Spicy and full-bodied foods in honour of the Sun are equally attuned. Curries and all dishes made with peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic or chives are appropriate. Spiced wines and dishes containing raisins - all foods symbolic of the Sun - are also traditional.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonni), Imbolic (Celtic), Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus (Strega), St. Bridget's Day (Christian), Candlemas, Candlelaria (Mexican), the Snowdrop Festival. The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin. All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honoured at this time. Imbolg, Oimelc, Feast of Brigid, Feast of Flames, La Feill Bhride.


Deities of Imbolc:
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Arachne, Athena, Blaize, Branwen, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Lucina, Vesta, Cupid/Eros, Diancecht, Dumuzi, Aengus Og 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, Candles, Candle and Sun Wheels, the Bride, Brighid's Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs, Burrowing Animals and Grain Dolly's.

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 and Milk.

Incense of Imbolc:
Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.

Colors of Imbolc:
White, Pink, Red, Yellow, Green, Brown and Blue.

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 BonFires maybe lit.

Key Action:

Open and Begin

Ritual Oils:
Jasmine, Apricot, Carnation, Sweet Pea, Neroli and Olive.

Ritual Meaning:
Honour of the Virgin Goddess, First Signs of returning life, and the Festival of Light


Cutting or Picking Plants.

Wolf, Snake, Swan, Vulture, Robin, Burrowing Animals, Sheep, Lamb, and Deer

Mythical Creatures:
Firebird, Dragon, Berometz.

Snowdrops, A sign of a New Beginning.


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