Pagan’s call this celebration ‘Imbolc’ others ‘Candlemas’ – and some call it ‘St Brigids Day’. It is one of the Wiccan holidays better known as Sabbats. In the Northern Hemisphere it is celebrated on the 1st – 2nd February and the Southern Hemisphere on the 1st – 2nd August.
Imbolc is a celebration in preparation for spring. In some places its a kind of beckoning out the beginning of the spring and also in preparation for celebration of new life coming. By now the days of beginning to get longer and there is new hope coming, and of course we can celebrate the Sabbat for all these reasons, too. And a very important part of it is making room for the new by getting rid of any unwanted old energies items, situations, pretty much anything that you need to clear out to kind of get your mind in order.
The sun and the earth, Brigid, which obviously is where the name of Brigid’s day comes from brought fertility to the animals and the lands and the people, and also growth as the earth begins to warm up. She also helps connect people and animals to earth and nature and the land, and all the creatures living in it.
Firstly, cleaning out any unwanted items from your room, objects, clothing, or even any unwanted situations or friendships or relationships that you may not be completely happy with. I know it doesn’t really sound like a celebration as such, but doing these things can clear your mind, make you feel at ease and feel like you can move forward. We need to start making room for new beginnings.
At this time of the year crystals like Amethyst, Bloodstone, Ruby, turquoise stones are said to be good for helping you cure yourself from the past.
Around January time snowdrops are the first sign of spring on your alter. White candles recommend the white of snowy winter. and green candles the snowdrop leaves. Green represents the future and the land don’t let these candles burn down completely and never leave them unattended. other incentives are Bay, basil vanilla. It’s about fresh ascents since we are preparing the spring.
Also burning Sage around this time can help cleanse any bad energy. Spells and activities that you can do on these specific days, you can do a simple house blessing spell, which involves calling upon spirits or energies in your home and asking the good and the positive energies to stay and the bad and the negative energies to go.
For witches its affective to do Imbolc tarot layouts at this time, there are lots of tarot layouts to help you get out if you are in a frozen patch in your life, or you feel like you need insight of what needs to be cleared.
St. Brigid of Ireland
St. Brigid of Ireland was born in 451 AD and died February 1st, 525, though she died before the establishment of the Catholic church. She shares a name with a Celtic goddess from whom many legends and folk customs are associated. Brigid is recognized as the patroness of Ireland, dairy-maids cattle, midwives, Irish nuns, and newborn babies. Her feast day is celebrated on February 1st (Imbolc). Brigid was born into slavery and it was immediately known she would lead a Holy life when the Druid who owned her mother attempted to feed her. But she was unable to hold any food down as he was impure. Legend states, a white cow with red ears sustained the infant Brigid. When she was old enough to return to her true owner who happened to be her father, Brigid made a charitable habit of giving his possessions away to the hungry and poor.
When he discovered this, he attempted to sell her to the King of Leinster. As he spoke to the King, Brigid gave his jewelled sword to a beggar so he could barter it for food for his family. When the King, who was a Christian saw this, he recognized her heart and convinced her father to grant her, her freedom by saying her merit before God is greater than ours. Newly freed Brigid returned to her mother’s side, where her acts of charity led the Druids dairy to prosper and also led to her mother’s freedom.
Though she was arranged to be married. Brigid entered the monastery instead, and eventually she founded a monastery in Kildare, called the Church of the Oak. It was built above a pagan shrine to the Celtic goddess Brigid, which was beneath a large oak tree. Brigid and seven friends organized communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland, and she founded two monistic institutions, one for men and one for women. She invited a hermit called Conlan to help her in Kildare as a spiritual pastor and later founded a school of art that included metalwork and illumination, which he led as well.
It was at this school that the book of Kildare, which was praised as the work of angelic and not human skill, was beautifully illuminated. Saint Brigid helped many people in her lifetime, but on February 1st, 525, she passed away from natural causes.
St. Brigid is depicted holding a Reed cross, a Crozier or a lamp .
There is also a wand which is made of acorns or the kind of seasonal seeds and nuts tied or bound onto a stick often of Rowan or Willow which is then used to carry out your magical workings during the season.
The basic idea of it is that you do divination from the day of the sabbat up to the day of the next sabbat. So it’s a really interesting way of doing divination and tying it into the seasons. Alongside this is doing bias scrying or even water scrying in a cauldron. These two things are deeply connected to home of the hearth, the kitchen or the cauldron, and fire divination can also be done in a cauldron or can be done with candles.
It is a Celtic fire festival and connected to Brigid, but it’s a great time light candles to do candle magic, to do working surrounding fire and the fire element and all the spirits connected with fire. It’s a really great way of connecting with these kinds of energies and entities that you may not have connected to for the rest of the year. It’s a good time to work magic, to burn incense related to your intention, to do lots of fire-related magic.
The next thing is to create a Brigid bed. This ties in both the acorn wand and the doll, and they can work together if you want. The idea of this is that Brigid is a spiritual being, a deity that can come and go as and when she pleases. Therefore, on Imbolc, you anoint the doll with oil and lay out a bed for her, just in a small shoebox or a basket with a small blanket and place your deity doll into it. You keep this either by a lit hearth or by safely secured candles overnight, and she helps to bring abundance and prosperity into your life if she chooses to visit.
You can increase the power by including the acorn wand. This is designed to bring fertility into the home so if you are trying to conceive or to grow your family this is a way to help bring this prosperous fertile energy of Brigid into your life.
You can do it Imbolc cooking, kitchen magic, imbuing your energy into your food. Having a feast or magical food at Imbolc is different than other times of the year because you are in the hardest point of the year. If you go back to the historical traditions of Imbolc it is when food is getting scarce. It is getting harder to find food, especially fresh food. Any kind of dairy products, milk, yoghurt, cheese is good to eat at this time of year. If you eat this kind of food because of the connection to the farmland, to the agriculture, to that kind of country lifestyle. But also seeds and nuts are really good, as well as oats and bread.