Imbolc should be my favorite Sabbat because I work with Brigid, the goddess honored on Imbolc, but I have dropped the ball several times. Last year, for example, we moved right before Imbolc, and everything we owned was boxed up, including a box of handmade candles that we blessed (I hope Brigid forgives me for that mess).
Below are ideas for solitaries, pairs, families, and covens, as well as many that would work with multiple configurations. Some require a little preparation or shopping, so I wanted to post them early enough that you can incorporate them into your Imbolc preparation. Remember, though, Imbolc is a six week long season and not just one day.
Note: If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere you will be celebrating Lughnasadh.
1: Altar Decoration: White and red are traditional colors associated with Brigid, who is said to have drank the milk of a white, red-eared cow. You can also decorate your altar with a solar theme, since Brigid is a sun goddess. Animals associated with Brigid include the cow, boar/pig, and fox.
2. Brigid’s Cross: The first craft that one of my witch friends and I ever did together was make Brigid’s Crosses, so this craft will always be extra special to me. It’s a relatively simple craft to complete and can be made as inexpensively as you like; I use green pine needles that I find on the ground. They should be hung over doors for protection all year, then burned on the next Imbolc after your new ones have been made. Directions can also be found easily online (this website is one example).
3. Candles: Brigid is associated with candles, so this is a perfect time of year to make candles, bless candles, or prepare spell candles. A candle blessing that I wrote for Brigid can be read here. Red, orange, and yellow are colors associated with the sun, so they are ideal to work with. Tealights can have sigils scratched into their surface easily with a toothpick, and larger candles can be decorated solo or by a coven. Stock up on yearly chime candles, and bless them all on Imbolc. If you’re feeling crafty, Imbolc is a perfect time to learn how to make your own candles.
4. Fertility Magick: If you are interested in fertility work, Imbolc is an excellent time to perform it. I recommend the “Brigid’s Bed” set up in Candlemas: Feast of Flames by Amber and Azarel K (pg. 64). I highly recommend the book as well, despite the name; the link goes to the correct page in Google Books.
5. Milk Offerings: Imbolc means “ewe’s milk” or “of milk,” and Imbolc is a wonderful time to make milk offerings. One of the tales that surrounds Brigid involves her drinking milk from a white cow with red ears. Milk is trickier in our modern world, often coming from harsh farming practices; consider switching to more ‘humane’ milk (every bit helps!) such as organic grass fed, or looking into local farms.
6. Pork Fast: One of my favorite Brigid stories involves a boar, and there’s even a little brass pig statue for Brigid on my altar because of it. The story goes that Brigid was in her convent when a wild boar burst through the gate; Brigid rushed out into the courtyard as a group of hunters pursued it. The men were not allowed in the walls of the convent, so they stood outside and demanded that Brigid send the boar out. Brigid announced to the men that the wild boar had requested sanctuary, and that he would always live safely within the convent walls. The men gave up, and the boar lived a long and happy life with the pigs in the barn. Because of this, boars are sacred to Brigid; to honor this beautiful story, consider going on a pork fast for the Imbolc season.
7. Seeds: Imbolc is all about planting the seeds for the new year and this act can be literal, symbolic, or both. A simple seed ritual is to write your intention on a piece of paper, place it at the bottom of a pot, fill it with soil, and plant a seed in that soil. As the plant grows, power to your intention is raised; if the plant fails to thrive, this may be a sign that your intention will not come to pass, or that this isn’t the right time.
8. The Story of Bride and the Cailleach: This time of year is when Bride (another name for Brigid) is freed, or breaks free, of ‘the winter hag’ the Cailleach. There are many different versions of this myth; do some research and consider adding one of the stories you find to your Imbolc ritual or family Grimoire.
I hope you found these Imbolc activities helpful and that you are able to find some ideas here for your own Imbolc celebration. Remember Imbolc is all about renewal and life beginning again. Blessed be, friends!
Imbolc by Carl F. Neal
Stock image via Pexels