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Celebrating Imbolc

The Festival of Brigid

Pronounced IM-bolg or IM-bolk, Imbolc is a Gaelic holiday that’s honored in many traditions. Also known as St. Brigid’s Day, Imbolc marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Imbolc means “in the belly” in Old Irish. It’s a time of the year associated with pregnancy, and it’s the time to honor the fertility goddess Brigid.

Brigid is also the Celtic goddess of fire, fertility, and poetry. She symbolizes the coming of spring.

This time offers an invitation to recenter with nature, to reflect on where we found ourselves at the Solstice, and where we are now.

To honor these first stirrings of life, the Celts lit bonfires. Small dolls made of straw or oats representing Brigid were blessed and shared by children, and there were even offerings of rags tied to tree sprigs called clootie wells.

Clootie Well, Munlochy, Scotland (photograph by Davie Conner)

If you want to create an Imbolc celebration of your own, here are a few ideas:

  • Make Brigid dollies or Brigid crosses for your home.

  • Bake oatcakes and leave milk outside for Brigid on Imbolc eve.

  • Adorn your altar with red white and orange colors and candles. Other Imbolc gifts are wool, daffodils, and images of the sun.

  • Enjoy some milk and cheese.

  • Enjoy a warm fire. Bonfires aren’t really in alignment for our planet today, so instead I suggest a scented few candles.

  • Plant seeds. You can begin planting your seedlings indoors,like snapdragon and pansies. Bachelor buttons, Delphinium, Poppies, and Violas will do well in pots outside. You’ll want to consult your zone for what to grow when, but the significance of planting, is to remind us of the invisible magic that is taking place all around.

If we look to the Tarot for support in celebrating Imbolc, the Ace of Pentacles volunteers as our anchor for this time.