The Sabbat Imbolc is midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox when the light is beginning to return to the world and it is celebrated on February 2nd. Wiccans associate the Imbolc Sabbat with fire as they do at the Yule Sabbat. Can you see a theme here? This is for a reason: Fire honors the god and gives him strength. And who doesn’t like a nice warm fire on a chilly night during the cold part of the year?
At Imbolc the goddess has finally recovered from the strains of giving birth to the god. She is now back and ready to start the growing season of the year. Now purified, the goddess becomes the young maiden once more. Because of this, the act purification is a large part of this Sabbat.
At Imbolc we honor the goddess Bridget, the goddess of fertility and birth. She is the Celtic goddess of fire and rules the art of forge craft or metalsmithing. Bridget provides inspiration and represents domestic arts like healing and cooking. We often use fires in the home as a nice way to honor Bridget, the goddess of the Earth.
Wiccans memorialize Imbolc, the time of purification, with the tradition of lighting candles. Candles provide inspiration and symbolize the growing light and strength from the sun god. Candles help coax the light into the year to come and bring on the bounty of nature. Imbolc is translated as “in the belly.” This refers to the coming of new life to the land.
At this time of the year, the ewes give birth to their lambs. Since the ewes’ lactation period has peaked at Imbolc, Wiccans view milk as an appropriate drink for this Sabbat. They enjoy lamb’s meat cooked on a sacred fire, paying homage to the goddess.
As the time of beginnings (births and the starting of new life), Imbolc is a good time for initiations and rededications for us. With the waxing year our intentions grow along with the light. And so our dedications to the gods grow in strength at this time.