Jump to content
Monica Soto

Welcome Guest!

Welcome to UK Pagan; The Valley

Like most online communities we require you to register for an account before we give you access to read and post.

Only a small number of our forum areas can be read without registering for an account.

Caroline Voclain
The Magick Shop
Please consider visiting our kind sponsor: The Magick Shop
Guest Elunedd

Imbolc

Recommended Posts

Guest Elunedd

Imbolc is nearly upon us.

I'm going to quote extensively from wikipedia now:

Imbolc is one of the eight solar holidays, festivals or sabbats of the Neopagan wheel of the year, with some origins in Irish mythology and the pre-Christian Celtic calendar. Originally it was a pagan Irish festival celebrated on 1 February, which began, according to Celtic custom the evening before.

 

Other lore indicates that the date of the festival was based on when the local ewes' milk came in. This could vary by as much as two weeks before or after the start of February.

 

Today, most modern neopagans celebrate it on the 1st or 2nd, the 2nd being more popular in America, perhaps because of the holiday's later identification with Candlemas. In the southern hemisphere it is celebrated in August.

 

The name, in the Irish language, means "in the belly" (i mbolg), referring to the pregnancy of ewes, and is also a Celtic term for spring. Another name is Oimelc, meaning "ewe's milk"; also Brigid, referring to the Celtic goddess of smithcraft, to whom the day is sacred.

 

That Imbolc was an important time to the ancient inhabitants of Ireland can be seen at the Mound of the Hostages in Tara, Ireland. Here, the inner chamber is perfecty aligned with the rising sun of both Imbolc and Samhain.

 

In the modern Irish Calendar, Imbolc is variously known as the Feast of St. Brigid (Secondary Patron of Ireland) and Lá Feabhra - the first day of Spring.

 

The holiday is a festival of light, reflecting the lengthening of the day and the hope of spring. It is traditional to light all the lamps of the house for a few minutes on Imbolc, and rituals often involve a great deal of candles.

 

Some modern Pagans argue that the Christian feast of Candlemas, whose date depends upon Christmas, was a Christianization of the feast of Imbolc. On the other hand, there is no evidence that Imbolc was celebrated in pre-Christian times anywhere other than in Ireland (where the only written accounts of it appear), whereas the celebration of Candlemas began in the eastern Mediterranean.

 

Imbolc is often defined as a cross-quarter day midway between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara), and the precise midpoint is half way through Aquarius (in the northern hemisphere) or Leo (in the southern hemisphere). By this definition Imbolc in the northern hemisphere coincides with Lughnasadh in the southern hemisphere.

 

References to the festival of the growing light can even be traced to modern America in the Groundhog Day custom on February 2. If the groundhog sees his shadow on this morning and is frightened back into his burrow, it means there will be six more weeks of winter. The custom comes directly from Europe, and Scotland in particular, where an old couplet goes: If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year.

 

Imbolc is also a German acronym for "Internationale magisch Bildungsstätte für okkulte Lebenskunst und Credo".[1]

 

What does Imbolc/Candlemas mean to you? For me, I see it as the start of spring, but also as possibly the start of the harshest weather before the end of proper winter. The nights start to shorten (and about time too), and there's already snowdrops peaking out.

 

I'm also trying to think of a way to do a non wiccan celebration of Imbolc, but it's difficult as so much ritual stuff that is easily available online has become wiccan-ised.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ad from Google

Guest Blackie_Fen

For me,Imbolc is, as you say, the end of the long dark and the beginning of the shorter nights. Yes, there will be some horrible weather coming up, but there will be the rain and the sunshine needed to get everything growing again, and of course the winds that are almost nature's way of having a good spring clean and freshen up...

 

I don't do any formal ritual as such for Imbolc, but I make sure that light is taken into the house and into every room (each candle lit from the one taken into the house to begin with), and I'll be making an offering in the garden before starting work in Spring 'proper' to get it cleared and into some semblance of order. And given that my hearth and home are important to me, a candle will be left lit in the window for Brigid to invite her and her influence in with the light for another year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cosmic_Fool

I go for the Oimelc, but as there are few ewes in my vicinity (well not that would let me get close enough) I generally share an offering of goats milk.

 

I see it as the time when the land is waking but, as you say, Winter has yet to tighten its grip.

 

In many ways I see the time from Samhain to Imbolc as a time for rest, with the Sun being renewed at Midwinter, the rest is needed for life to fight its way through the coming winter before it finally wins the battle in Spring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Celticstar

This date is still celebrated with the traditional Brighids cross made of rushes and placed in the home, preferably above the fireplace, in lots of households in Ireland. They are usually celebrating the day as the Xtian candlemass, but the cross of Brighid is a pre Xtian design. It's very pretty, but bloody hard to make! As an Irish lass, albeit one living in England, I love Oimelc. It's a very happy feast, good food and lots of light are the order of the day. It's also traditionally a good time for all kinds of forcasting and fortune telling. The Wiccan rites for the day don't really apply, as they involve invoking the 4 elements, which is not a part of Irish tradition. We tend to go for Land, Sky and Sea, with sometimes a 4th called Spirit. Even when I was into Wicca, I dispensed with the 4 quaters for Oimelc and the other importand Irish dates (Lughnasadh being one that springs to mind).

So, light some candles, give thanks in advance for a bountiful and pleasant spring and summer to come, and enjoy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest silverbirch

I too see it as a time where the land is waking up, I light candles to encourage and welcome back the sunshine and make an offering of milk to the garden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest seg

This will be my first one and havent really decided were to go with this yet.

 

I will be lighting candles in every window of the house at dusk :P as for the weather i love the rain and cold as long as i am in doors and i generally am during the winter lol . The bad weather just makes me love the good weather more and that cant be bad thing plus i live in a city so it doesnt really effect me much. when you say offer milk or something as an offering to the gods may i ask how exactly would that be done. I am so interested to know how others see things so i can rethink my way. :)

 

bb sarah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest psychopixi

I like lighting candles, although I have to be careful as my cats are into everything and are still prone to having mad five minutes' where anything in their way gets sent flying! I also like to have a bit of a spring clean at Imbolc. From here on in we're headed for summer, and though the weather may still be a bit pants(!) I enjoy the whole 'out with the old, in with the new' idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest silverbirch
This will be my first one and havent really decided were to go with this yet.

 

I will be lighting candles in every window of the house at dusk  :o_bounce3: as for the weather i love the rain and cold as long as i am in doors and i generally am during the winter lol . The bad weather just makes me love the good weather more and that cant be bad thing plus i live in a city so it doesnt really effect me much. when you say offer milk or something as an offering to the gods may i ask how exactly would that be done. I am so interested to know how others see things so i can rethink my way.  :o_bounce:

 

bb sarah

105599[/snapback]

 

personally I sprinkle a little milk around my young trees and the snowdrops/other bulbs that are emerging beneath them, I give thanks and meditate for a while while I am with the trees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Elunedd

Started my spring cleaning a bit sooner than planned when I found the beer fridge had gone mouldy on the inside...cue frantic cleaning at midnight one night!

 

Thanks for the tips folks, I'll be using some of these I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Midsummer

Small crumbs of comfort for this time of year - it's been a nice evening up here in Glasgow and I haven't had to turn the heating on. Such a blast to see the clock tick past 5pm and for there to be a hint of light in the sky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Fillionous

For me it is the start of the planting season... The ground is given a final dig and the compost heap is spread, soon the onion sets will be planted out and the first seeds started in the greenhouse and one the window sills. Outside stuff is pysical enough to keep me warm and inside stuff can be done when it is too wet.

 

Yes, the weather is still deeply cold (it is snowing as I type), but it feels very much now as the last desperate throws of winter and it struggles to maintain its grip against the lenghtening days. The snowdrops are already up and this more than any specific date are the sign to me that winters grip is breaking.

 

I will probably light one candle, just for me and my simple praise of the time and place.

 

Be bright, be bold

Fillionous

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ember Autumn Rose

*reviving*

 

For me, Imbolc marks the time of the year where life appears to start to stir. As it is the also towards the start of February (and my birth month), I also see it as a time of cleansing and purging. Leaving another year of my life behind, and moving onto my next solar revolution 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ember Autumn Rose

I will say this year has started oddly, as I've seen Daffodils for sale already in shops...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Veggie dancer

There are snowdrops out in somebody gardens near me and the shoots of other bulbs pushing up. The odd tree or 2 in blossom already. I'm really looking forward to spring getting underway but at the same time hope we get a bit more snow before winter departs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith

We celebrated Imbolc today.

We stood among snowdrops beside a holly tree with just a single berry left and in sight of a hawthorn whose buds are not yet moving.  Three of our four fire festivals all lined up.

I went to a moot in Shrewsbury for the first time last week where we were led through a simple candle ritual for Imbolc.  We were reminded that Imbolc is not necessarily a time for action but for preparing for action.  For our own celebration in the grove we took this idea - not yet sowing seeds but a time for looking through a sort of spiritual gardening catalogue.  All that potential and it is within our power to realise at least some of it.

It is also a new year of the pig - If astrology is significant I am a fire pig!  Sounds like crackling to me but the pig years have been wonderful.

No daffodills yet.

All as it should be this year.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Veggie dancer

I didn't make a New Years resolution for start it January this year so I'm making one for Inolc instead and that is to relax and chill out. Been far too stressy lately. And stressing out is not useful in any way it just stops you from being able to think or function so I'm giving it up best I can from now on. 

:o_hippy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonsmith

Interesting Veggie:  not only is it the Chinese new lunar year but two of the folk in the grove on Monday have been quite ill and have missed out January.  For them too, Imbolc was the start of a new year.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×