Imbolc Traditions And Ceremony
It’s nearly that time of year again Wheel Of The Year time. Where we celebrate the first of the Spring festivals Imbolc, clearing the debris of winter. The first stirrings of Spring are not just seen in the outer world but also, hopefully within our hearts.
Imbolc literally means ‘in milk” and has traditionally marked the lactation period of ewes. Ewes can only produce milk after they have given birth so in ancient times the Celts saw this as the first signs that the new life of Spring was on its way. It was customary to pour some ewes milk onto the earth as an offering of nurturing and to encourage fertility and generosity of the earth.
Like the other quarter festivals (Samhuinn, Beltaine, and Lughnasadh) this is a fire festival, but here it is more a celebration of the light rather than heat. Imbolc is a festival of Mother and Child, of light and water. At this time of the year, the crone of winter goes to the sacred well and comes away as the maiden of spring, the maiden goddess Brigid. It was traditional for women to walk through the treats carrying candles in water at Imbolc, which was symbolic of a child emerging from the waters of the womb. This also symbolizes the rising light of spring emerging from the creative feminine waters of the earth.
In the 11th Century the Christian church, after finding that they could not stop the pagans from honouring the Goddess at this time, incorporated Candle-mass into their religious structure. They replaced the Goddess (Brighid) with the Virgin Mary. Monks light a candle in their monasteries and the abbot consecrates each candle with holy water and incense in churches all around the world in honour of this pagan tradition. Brighid the light bearer, sometimes known as Brig, Bright, Brighouse or Bride was associated with sacred fire, healing, poetry and metalsmithing, weaving and prophesy. The essential elements of this festival are celebrating the first signs of the coming of spring, of honouring the Goddess and of Women.
Imbolc ritual solitary Wicca
If you are unable to attend an Imbolc ceremony with like-minded people,
* Take a long bath with candles all around or floating in the water
* Undertake a 3-day cleansing – drinking lots of pure water – for the purpose of healing.
* Do all the laundry
* Plant seeds in your garden.
* Drink milk with honey and nutmeg.
* Write a poem and dedicate it to Brighid.
* Connect with your mother and child
* Make a beautiful photo album of your pregnancy and the baby’s birth. – © Jyoti Eagles – Wheel Of The Year Handbook