Written by Algoth’s Grove
“…the Winter has been bitterly cold, but my heart warms just a little more knowing that The Quickening has arrived… we will light the candles on the new moon.”
New Moon 1st / 2nd August (Southern Hemisphere)
New Moon 1st / 2nd February (Northern Hemisphere)
White, Pale Greens
Imbolc, Oimelc, Brigid’s Day, Brigantia, Candlemas, The Quickening
Rededication, Pledges, Initiations
Placement of the Deities:
Child of Promise become the Conquering Child, John Barleycorn is brought into the home, Goddess has passed through the underworld and she now emerges to peek at the world as the flower maiden, she will only fully emerge at Ostara.
Before Imbolg held place as a Sabbat, it was simply a day to celebrate the Goddess Brigid who was slowly turning the wheel and bringing warmth to the lands. It was customary for young girls to knock at your door asking for donations by uttering, “Got ye a penny for poor biddy?” It was considered fortunate to give whatever you had set aside for the Goddess. Poor biddy was a nickname given to the Goddess Brigid. Brigid is a Celtic mother goddess who runs between youth and motherhood throughout the year. She is guardian of children, blacksmithing, poetry, medicine and creativity.
Honoured throughout the lands, the church had no choice but to keep this day sacred and named it St. Bridget’s Day, a day honouring the saint who is in effect the Goddess herself. Imbolg is indeed one of the 4 main fire festivals of the Celtic placement on the Wiccan wheel of the year. We must note that Imbolg does not use a bonfire like in the other fire festivals but instead uses a circle of candles to mimic the light and strength of the sun at this time of the year.
Imbolg is between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara) and it is important to practice it on the New Moon. How to look for the New Moon in this digital age is to see what level the illumination of the moon is. At 0% illumination you have the Dark Moon, at 1% and 2% you have the New Moon. Why is it important that you celebrate on the New Moon? New Moon energy and Imbolg energy are extremely similar. Imbolg is used for thought, planning and preparation for the coming year. It is a time to call in the Goddess into your home. To bring John Barleycorn from the proverbial barn (harvest at Lammas) and into the warmth of your house. It is imperative that you begin planning for the seeds that you wish to plant at Ostara. This is the foundation work for the rest of the year. If you want a positive year then you need to do the groundwork and do it properly.
Imagine a little seed under the earth with human qualities… it opens its eyes for the first time from its long Winter slumber and it gets butterflies in its stomach… it now prepares for the direction that it will grow. Similarly, the Goddess is under the earth with her eyes open, she hears the chanting and she feels the candle light and she knows of the beautiful decorations and hard work you will do in planning. At Ostara when she emerges and we find that even Persephone too returns to her mother Demeter, we will be blessed for the preparation done at Imbolc.
This was also the time when the ewe’s began to give milk, and this would signify that spring was on its way. The day of Imbolg is celebrated in almost every culture, from the French with their holiday celebrating Saint Blaize, to the Roman board game between Crone, Dragon and Maiden with Lamb… every culture realised the importance of bringing back the sun and it was the duty of the faithful ones to work hard and assist in the quickening of bringing back life on earth.
It is interesting to note that stones on this day are particularly cherished and used for the rest of the year. It is in line with planning and it is Imbolg where we plan, collect and create our magickal supplies for the rest of the year. Creating a magickal divination set that is carved into stone, blessed and used for the year will serve you well.
It is also customary to create a Brigid’s cross and below is wonderful tutorial on how to make one.