Eight Imbolc Season Celebration Ideas

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 will be posted very soon. 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.

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Book Review: Imbolc by Carl F. Neal (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials Series)

Imbolc Llewellyn Sabbat EssentialsLlewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials series contains eight small books, one for each Sabbat in the pagan Wheel of the Year. The author varies by Sabbat with no author having more than two books in the series. Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes, and Lore for Brigid’s Day was written by Carl F. Neal. Neal is not an author with whom I am familiar; researching him it appears that his area of expertise is incense.

The standard sections in the Sabbat Essentials books are: Old Ways, New Ways, Spells and Divination, Recipes and Crafts, Prayers and Invocations, Rituals of Celebration, Correspondences, and Further Reading. There is also a Series Introduction that is the same in all eight books, so I won’t review it aside from saying that it is worth reading over annually. It also has two really beautiful Wheel of the Year illustrations, one for the Northern Hemisphere and one for the Southern Hemisphere, which is worth copying into your Book of Shadows.

The Old Ways section is as interesting as always, and contains a lot of helpful information about the history of the Sabbat. The section discusses what winter meant to people throughout history, and why that meaning makes Imbolc so important. Roman, Egyptian, Native American, and Asian traditions are discussed, as well as Celtic traditions and the goddess Brigid. The New Ways section discusses the difficulties of the Sabbat, and Brigid’s importance to Imbolc as well as modern paganism. Secular holidays are examined, and there is a brief examination of activities that can be done during the Imbolc season. Both of these section are quick overviews.

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Book Review: Llewellyn’s 2017 Sabbats Almanac

Llewellyn's 2017 Sabbat AlmanacThe Llewellyn’s Sabbats Almanac was started in 2009 and is published annually. The book is divided into eight sections, one for each Sabbat, starting at Samhain 2016 and ending with Mabon 2017. There are seven articles within each Sabbat’s section that repeat: an introduction, Cosmic Sway, the Old Ways, Feasts and Treats, Crafty Crafts, All One Family, and a ritual. This is consistent throughout all the Sabbats Almanac books, though occasionally the features are swapped out. For example, for the 2018 Almanac, All One Family has been taken out, and a plant feature has replaced it. Even though it’s rather late for this review, I marked more pages in this edition than the 2016 and 2018 volumes combined, so it’s still well worth picking up. Each section is about 30 pages long; I read each after the previous Sabbat has ended to get new ideas to add to my own coven’s celebration.

Aside from the Cosmic Sway section, which discusses particular cosmic timing, this Sabbats Almanac can be read any time. Because the Cosmic Sway section has essentially ‘expired’ by now, I’m leaving it out of the review, though I will say that I found the articles really useful at the time. The recipes in Feasts and Treats usually use meat in some way; there are multiple recipes provided, but since I’m vegetarian I don’t think I’ve ever used a recipe from a Sabbats Almanac. The Old Ways sections are always brief (about 3 pages) and go into Polish, Slavic, Russian, and Lithuanian traditions. I always really enjoy this section, but writing that under each Sabbat heading would be repetitious. Below are the highlights of each section, organized by Sabbat.

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