XIII - Sabbats: Imbolc

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Imbolc is one of the eight Sabbats.

Imbolc
- Other names: Imbolg, (Saint) Brigid's Day, Candlemas, Oimelc.

- Date: February 2nd (Northern Hemisphere), August 1st (Southern Hemisphere). Traditionally, in the Northern Hemisphere where Imbolc originated, the celebration began on the evening of February 1st and continued through the next day.

- In the old world this was the lambing season. The word Imbolc translates "in the belly", because many herd animals are pregnant or have given birth at this time.

- At this time we may start seeing the first signs of spring in nature. Little islands of green grass show up, and you might see crocus flowers. The Earth is waking up from the winter's sleep.

- Some consider Imbolc the beginning of Spring, while for some it is later on Ostara.

- "It is time to let go of the past and to look to the future, clearing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings. This can be done in numerous ways, from spring cleaning your home to clearing the mind and heart to allow inspiration to enter for the new cycle. It's a good time for wish-making or making a dedication."**

- Symbolism and meaning: awakening, birth, fertility, growth, hope, new beginnings, purity, rebirth, renewal.

- Colors: blue, brown, green, pink, red, white, yellow.

- Symbols: Brigid's Crosses, corn dolls, crocus flowers, eggs, fire, flames, flowers, grain, grass, homemade candles, milk, rowan, sheep, snowdrop flowers, springs and wells, swans, water, wheat, willow.

- Stones: amethyst, bloodstone, carnelian, garnet, malachite, moonstone, rose quartz, ruby, onyx, turquoise.

- Incense: basil, bay, chamomile, cinnamon, frankincense, jasmin, lavender, myrrh, rosemary, snowdrop, vanilla, violet, wisteria.

- Herbs: angelica, basil, benzoin, blackberry, celandine, cinnamon, coltsfoot, crocus, frankincense, ginger, heather, iris, laurel, myrrh, rosemary, snowdrops, tansy, violets, willow.

- Foods & drinks: breads, cheese, dairy products, garlic, herbal teas, lavender cookies, muffins, onions, peppers, poppyseed cakes, pumpkin seeds, raisins, scones, spiced wines, sunflower seeds, white meats, yogurt.

- Spells recommended for Imbolc: cleansing, dedications, fertility, fortune, health, inspiration, love, prosperity, protection, purification.

- Animals associated with Imbolc: bear, cat, deer, groundhog, lamb, serpent, snake, sheep, swan, wolf.

Imbolc activities and ways to celebrate:
• Make a Brigid's Cross. Use reeds, straws, or any material you can make it work with! Below is a guide for the crafting:

 Use reeds, straws, or any material you can make it work with! Below is a guide for the crafting:

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   Continue connecting the reeds until the cross is the size you like. Tie the four ends with string, thread, ribbon, reeds, etc. You can decorate the cross with whatever has meaning to you – ribbons, feathers, leaves...

• Have a spring cleaning – both physically and spiritually

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• Have a spring cleaning – both physically and spiritually. Clean your house from top to bottom and think of the saying "out with the old, in with the new".

• Decorate your house with the symbols of Imbolc. Perhaps go in nature and gather some.

• At sunset light a candle in every window of the house to celebrate the Sun's rebirth.

• Visit a river, stream or well. If it is clean and safe splash some over yourself as a symbol of purification. You can collect some water to use in a ritual or spell later.

• Plant seeds and start planning what you will grow after winter has passed – both plants and habits.

• Cook some foods with dairy products – a clear symbol of Imbolc.

• Walk three times around your premises smudging with a smudge stick, or sage or lavender incense. This will purify the space and give protection.

• Plant a seed, and while planting, think about a goal you want to achieve. Follow the growth of the plant throughout the spring and at the same time notice the progress you've made toward your goal. You can plant as many seeds as you want, each for a different goal!

• Make your own candles with friends or family. Candles made on Imbolc traditionally protect against fire, storm, and accidents.

Sources:
"Imbolc", site: wicca.com

**"Imbolc/Candlemas", site: goddessandgreenman.co.uk

"Brigid's cross", site: wikipedia.org

"How to Celebrate Imbolc", author: Holly Knowles, site: wiccanspells.info

"Imbolc Magickal Correspondences", author: Aurora Moone, site: plentifulearth.com

"Celebrating Imbolc", author: Cassandra Eason, site: cassandraeason.com

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