Happy Imbolc! Imbolc is one of the Wiccan Sabbats celebrated annually, but this one is to mark the end of winter. It usually starts on February eve (January 31st) and goes until February 2nd. I know that for many of us it’s difficult to think that winter is ending when we look outside, but this is the time to be optimistic and think about the seeds you’ll literally and metaphorically plant for the future! Little seeds are beginning to stir, even in these cold temperatures, and life is here, there, underneath, above, around, and within us. Let’s get excited for what’s to come! (We are currently at the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.)
A big part of Imbolc is the connection to the Celtic goddess Brighid, who was sister the fae and a smithcraftwoman, the ritual of milking ewe’s, and the admiration for both fire and water. This observance is sometimes referreed to as “The First Light” or “Candlemas” because of how important it was to light candles during Imbolc. So how can we honor this occasion today? I’ve got ten ideas for you, and they’re all super doable.
10 Ways To Celebrate Imbolc
1. Create/Redo Your Altar – A perfect way to set the mood for Imbolc is to create an altar as a sacred space. Supplies/materials to consider using for your Imbolc altar include: flower bulbs, spiral symbols, books of poetry/poems, lots of candles, symbols of fire, faeries/fae symbolism, a bowl of water or glass beads, silver jewelry, a hammer or anvil, picture or statue of Brighid, flower crown, cauldron, cows, ewes, a Brighid cross, chalice, Basil, Myrrh, Frankincense, Garnet, Moonstone, Bloodstone, Peridot, Sunstone, Rose Quartz, and generally stick to reds, pinks, yellows, greens, and white.
2. DIY Candle Party – Make your own candle or DIY a store bought one with engraving, decoupage, painting, or any other artistic supplies you want to add to your candle. You can even have a candle making party to prepare for it!
3. Seven Candle Ritual – Set up your altar or working space so your cauldron is filled with soil from the earth, and there are seven candles (spell candles work well for this) lined up in a row. Assign an intention to each candle beforehand (write it down for yourself, so you can easily remember). Try to relate the intentions to Imbolc. (Ideas: Imagining winter ending with a bright light illuminating the snow outdoors; The beginning of the circle of life and animals and babies being born as spring begins; Releasing the hurt that has happened to you in this past winter and looking forward to what spring has to offer.) Slowly light the first candle and either say your first intention out loud or think it to yourself as you imagine it manifesting. Then move onto the next candle, and onward.
4. Make a Brighid Cross – This is a great DIY project made with yarn or reeds, which uses Celtic knotting. [Tutorial video]
5. Expand Your Coven – Welcome new people into your sacred group with beautiful, cherished initiation ceremonies. This is a great time to start or expand your coven!
6. Do Some Scrying – This would ideally be done with fire, but you can also do it with a mirror to represent water! The idea is that you create a fixed focal point on the flame of a candle and allow yourself to relax and meditate. What do you see dancing in the flames? What do you hear as the flame crackles? You can light one candle or surround yourself with a circle of them!
7. Cleansing Bath – Release the winter with a literal cleanse in the form of a ritual bath. Consider adding milk (and/or honey!) to your bath/ritual in some way, since milking ewe’s was a big part of the original celebration of Imbolc.
8. Research Brighid – Learn more about the goddess specifically associated with this Sabbat. Try making a drawing of how you interpret Brighid or even dressing up like her for a photoshoot!
9. Start Gardening – Depending on where you’re located, certain seeds and bulbs can actually be planted this early! And what better time to start a Faerie Garden than in honor of Brighid, the sister to the fae? [Read more about Faerie Gardening]
10. Create An Imbolc Ritual – Lastly, the best thing you can do for yourself is to just create a ritual that feels the best to you! There are tons of other things you can do to celebrate Imbolc that I haven’t mentioned, and maybe you want to incorporate those into your own personalized ritual. For example, a Imbolc party on February 2nd to see what the weather is like and determine how much longer it will take for spring to truly arrive, decorating your house, journaling reflections on the past year (especially things you’re grateful for), getting a Tarot reading, educating people on the origins of Imbolc, doing Imbolc-themed crafts, connecting to nature, say an Imbolc blessing/prayer, etc. Do what feels right to you!
I made you a downloadable cheat sheet with the colors, crystals, apothecary, foods, activities, and altar supplies for your ease. Download it for free below!
Photo: Maura Housley