Wyldwood Grimoire

Magic of the Wyldwood

Imbolc

Imbolc - Lambing

Alternative names: Imbolg (Alternative Irish spelling), Oimelc (Used by some neo-Pagans)

Similar festivals: Candlemas (Christianity), Tsagaan Sar (trans. White Moon, Mongolian), Chinese New Year, Lupercalia (Roman)

Translation: In the Belly (referring to the pregnancy of Ewes) or Ewe's Milk (from Oimelc)

This festival was associated with the Irish Goddess Brighid (Brigantia, Rigatona, Rhiannon, Britannia). Brighid has since been canonised by the Catholic church as St. Brigit who remains important in the Christian festival of Candlemas. Brighid, which translates roughly to Bright, High or Rising is a Goddess of fire, healing, smith-craft, prophecy and poetry and is among the most important deities in Gaelic mythology (As Brigantia was to British Celtic people under her many names). She is similar to Norse Frigg and Freyja.

Due to the association with Brighid, holy wells, flames, snowdrops (Galanthus Nivalis) are also associated with Imbolc.

Imbolc Customs

  • Unsurprisingly feasting played an important part in the celebration of Imbolc and so a feast could be woven into any ceremony you wish to perform. Presumably this feast was to celebrate the end of the depths of winter, however winter in the British Isles is more often than not at its deepest and coldest at this time.
  • A libation of milk could be offered at holy wells for healing and prophecy, or on a field to help guarantee a good harvest.
  • Lighting a candle to represent the returning strength of the sun, and to celebrate the Goddess of fire can also form part of a ceremony.

Tags: Pagan, Cosmology, Time, Celtic, Gaelic, Imbolc,