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Imbolc – Candlemas

(Feb 1, 2024)


Key Words: Emergence. New life. Nurture. Hope. Reawaken. Initiate. Plant seeds. Transformation. First light of Spring in the dark of Winter. 


Imbolc is the midpoint between the winter solstice and the solar equinox. Referred to as First Light, it is the recognition of the first day of Spring for the Celts, a celebration of the early signs of new life as the great Wheel turns, Winter’s grasp wanes, and the earth continues its journey back towards the sun. Water begins to move beneath the ice, the days lengthen, and the first spring flowers emerge triumphantly through the snow and frozen ground as evidence that the earth is thawing and warming. 


Imbolc means Ewe’s milk. This is lambing season. In older times, lactating ewes would mean the difference between life and death to northern peoples at this time of year, providing milk, cheese, and butter after a long cold winter of dried and preserved foods. Imbolc represents hope, growth, and new life.


Brigid Celtic Goddess and Christian Saint


Imbolc is the sacred festival of Brigid, the goddess of transformation and new beginnings. She brings the flame, warmth and fertility back to a frozen land. Hers are the fires that light our way through the dark times of winter. Brigid is a threshold goddess, at home in the liminal spaces between light and dark, time and space. So this day, the doorway between winter and spring, is her day. A time to celebrate Brigid’s blessings. As we step through the threshold, with her help, we shed the old, set new intentions, and leave an open fertile space ready to nurture new life in the thawing ground and warming sun.


As Brigid is goddess of fire, hearth, and forge, many Imbolc traditions involve fire and cleansing. Common practices for Imbolc are spring cleaning the house, putting out and relighting the hearthfire, and placing a broom by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming in the new. Lighting candles and placing them in each room of the house is a beautiful way to honor Brigid’s flame.


In addition to fire, Brigid is also associated with holy wells and springs which represent purification, healing, and fertility.  There are many wells throughout Ireland dedicated to Brigid. Traditionally, people visit the wells at Imbolc and leave a ribbon or offering as a symbol of their prayers and intentions.


Snowdrop Flower

The snowdrop, symbol of spring,  is one of the first flowers to appear after winter poking up through the snow. Snowdrops symbolize resilience, innocence, purity and hope. According to legend, Brigid walks across the land strewing snowdrops from her mantle. As spring progresses, she flings open her mantle fully, scattering all its contents and the world turns green.


Brigid’s Cross

Brigid’s Cross or Fire Wheel is a cross woven from rushes with 4 arms tied at the end and a woven patterned square in the center. Traditionally, they would be made with straw from the last harvest or from wild harvested reeds, then hung over the door and in the rafters to protect the house from fire, sickness, bad spirits, and ill-luck for the upcoming year.


Manifest. Initiate. Plant seeds. Transform. Bring to Light.


Consider: what has been lying dormant and germinating throughout the winter months? What is ready to be brought into the light of the new sun as it gains strength and heat as the wheel turns and the year progresses?



  • Season: Spring
  • Colors: Light blue, Pink, white, light green
  • Crystals: Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Moonstone, Prehnite, Aquamarine
  • Incense: Red sandalwood, vanilla, lily, jasmine, chamomile
  • Astrological Sign: Aquarius
  • Tarot Card: The High Priestess • Intuition. Mystery
  • Tree: The Rowan Tree • Protection against evil:The tree’s red berries were thought to be a protection against enchantment. Sprigs of rowan were used to guard cattle and dairies from disease and mischief. Crosses made from rowan twigs and tied together with red threads were carried in pockets, sewed in the lining of coats, or hung over the lintels of the house. Red is also associated with Brigid’s fire
  • Moon: The Quickening Moon • People are restless as the winter ends and spring calls. The earth is still cold and frozen but hope, movement, and new life are stirring and calling.
  • Food and Drink: Sunflower and pumpkin seeds, seeded bread, oats, poppy seed cakes, mint tea, brandy, spiced wines, ale

Traditional motifs: Candles, bread, snowbells, inspiration, quickening, prophecy, purification, seeds

How to work with Imbolc Moon

  • Spiritually, it is a time to consider that which has been hibernating within you. During the winter’s long months of cold, what has been sleeping – waiting to emerge, transformed, into the light. Meditate on that which you need to leave behind to make room for the new. Release it with love, blessings, and rituals. Remember, it has served you and served a purpose, but now it is time to transform.

  • Pay attention to the stirrings of new life. What do you feel changing in your life and within you? Where are the transitions to something new occurring? The time is coming soon for you to emerge, but for now, anticipate what lies ahead. Make plans for the coming spring physically and spiritually. Embrace new beginnings

  • Light candles, be at peace, hold your intentions.

  • Plan your garden. What parts of the earth need to be turned over? What would you like to plant?

  • Start your seeds indoors so that they can gain strength before transitioning outside.

  • Gather friends and loved ones to celebrate the arrival of Imbolc. Light candles and incense to symbolize the increasing power of the sun, and arrange offerings of bread, honey, and milk to honor the goddess Brigid, the patroness of poets and healers.

  • Spring clean your house.

  • Make new plans. Do something you have never done before to help usher in the new and free yourself from old habits.