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IMBOLC: A Midwinter Celebration

By Elizabeth Barrette


Midwinter in Colorado is a beautiful sight. Although, the weather gets intense from time to time with the snow, the slush, the ice and the bitter cold. During this time, I am reminded of the olden days when getting through a winter, for most people, was a serious and arduous undertaking! Thus, is January!

However, on this path of the craft, we will soon be celebrating the midwinter sabbat of Imbolc. On February 1st, this pagan/Wiccan holiday falls midway between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Vernal or Spring Equinox (Ostara). This is the time to celebrate the stirrings of spring, and the promise of a new beginning. This is also the time we honor and celebrate the Goddess Brid (aka Brigid) who is most often thought of as the Goddess of Ireland. However, she is also venerated in surrounding lands of the UK and parts of western Europe. Brid was so popular with the people that the Christian church made her a saint hoping to bring more pagan folk to the church. Brid is known as the Goddess of the flame, as well as smithing, poetry, inspiration, transformation, healing, creativity and education. She has many important qualities including the three aspects of the Goddess: Maiden, Mother and Crone.

There are several wonderful ways to celebrate Imbolc. In the past, we have often made Brid's crosses which involved weaving of reeds and similar materials into an equal-armed cross. The cross is then given a place of honor in the home for protection, etc. During ritual, it was a common practice to dance the circle and pound the floor or ground with a staff chanting out loud, "Maiden come awaken," coaxing and stirring the earth to respond to our calls for Spring to come forth.

We have our favorite sabbat fare of Irish soda bread, butter, cheese and a warm, nourishing stew to enjoy. These are just a few ideas, but if you do your research, there are plenty of books to dive into on this subject.

Imbolc is also a time to reflect on the state of your life and also for hopeful futures. It's a good time for grounding, centering and meditation. Journaling your thoughts can often help you with your self-awareness, as well as diving deep into you psyche.

Remember, you are energy. It is in you and all around you. You have a special place and purpose in this beautiful world. What you do with it can be magickal!

Love & blessings,


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