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Celtic Traditions of Imbolc

As it feels that we are just scratching the surface of our winter season here in Denver, today, February 1st, the Earth stirs under our feet. While Spring won’t arrive until another month and a half, we may feel today we can celebrate the Celtic holiday, Imbolc. Also known as Candlemas and Brighid’s Day in Celtic tradition, February 1st marks a time of promise and growth of light. The Earth is awakening, as is creativity and inspiration within us. Let your Spring maiden re-emerge and begin to spiral outward with energy and love. This particular holiday represents the coming of spring and is a perfect pinpoint and reminder that we are halfway through winter solstice and the spring equinox. 

Now, let’s all take a minute and let that excitement sink in as I say it again, we are halfway through winter. Goodbye carrot nose snowman and hello fertility goddess, otherwise known as St. Brigid! As we feel the heaviness of the pandemic and darkness of these winter months it’s important to surround ourselves with inspiration and let the light in wherever it can. St. Brigid and Imbolc are a great example of how we too can celebrate seasons changing as we look forward to brighter and warmer  days ahead. 

Imbolc ritual drink: 

1 part oatmilk

1/4 part honey

1/4 part whiskey

30 drops of Love Tincture for radiance

In Celtic and Gaelic culture, various households show appreciation for the new budding vegetation and the fertile soil that St. Brigid brings. A popular way to celebrate the coming of spring and St. Brigid, by preparing a meal and bed in hopes she will visit on the night of January 31st to bless the home. Some also provide a wand next to their bed made of birch to help aid St. Brigid’s process of promoting regrowth. The birch tree itself represents beginnings, renewal and purification.  Similar to the feeling one may get at the start of a fresh new season, the thought of warmer days, and hope for light and peace at the end of these dark and unsettling times.

Rosemary is used on Imbolc for purification and to enliven your spirits.

Riuals and Herbs for Imbolc

Herbs to celebrate and incorporate into your Imbolc ritual that symbolize growth, purification, and connect us to the sun’s energy include basil, dandelion, heather, rosemary, and chamomile. You may also light a candle to invoke sun energy into your spirit. I love sipping on my Imbolc Ritual Drink (above) and setting out herbs, burning candles, writing in my journal, and feeling protection and introspection as I am wrapped in my Brighid’s blue scarf from Ireland. Adding in a little bit of your favorite tincture or misting yourself with a renewing aromatherapy mist can also enhance your rituals that you weave into your day.

May you feel the light shine and embrace the new growth in the world, seasons, and in yourself!