The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Are we to early for Imbolc?

 Good Evening,

Well, Yule is behind us and we've celebrated the beginning of the year for both the Celtic Calendar and pretty much the rest of the world in the past few months, so now what?  Imbolc, that's what!

We're talking a bit early about our next Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year because this Sabbat needs a bit of pre-preparation and I wanted you to have the time to gather the supplies you'll need. These supplies are candles. Lots of candles!

Imbolc is an ancient celebration that is centered around the growing sun becoming stronger and the return of the light in the midst of winter.  Imbolc is also considered our first spring ritual. I know!! SPRING!! I've said before how much I love the pagan calendar and spring for us is a mere 3 weeks away!  We celebrate Imbolc on February 1st.

Now many pagan calendars list Imbolc as February 2nd, but again I'm a traditionalist as you may know, f you read my discussions.  The early Christians adopted this holiday and moved it a day, and renamed it Candlemass in reference to the burning of the candles that is so predominant this Sabbat.  I prefer to celebrate the original day of this Sabbat, February 1st, rather than the modern pagan date of February 2nd. You of course can celebrate any time you desire.

Many pagans use this holiday to replace all of their altar and ritual candles with fresh new ones. It's also a time to clean your candle holders, re-dress the altar with new clothes and consider decorations to help bring in the spring. Cleansing using natural ingredients like lemon juice, lemon oils, vinegars and ammonia all help eliminate the old, stale and unnecessary energies and allow you to recharge the energies in your home with light, happy and fresh energies.

Imbolc is a Gaelic word that means 'in the belly' referring to the pregnant ewes and cattle of the field ready to give birth and the new life that springs forth this time of year, when the snows disappear and the greening of the fields begin. New hatchlings are chirping in their nests and you'll see around the first of February the Canada geese flying back to their northern homes.  It may seem a bit early, February 1st to celebrate the beginning of spring, but this holiday comes from the ancient Celtic culture from Western Europe over 1,000 years ago.  At that time, in that part of the world the first warming weather of spring did appear as early as February 1st.

Today we have a bit more cold weather up to two months after Imbolc, but nonetheless one can see the first signs of spring, should you just look. Ice on the rivers and ponds will often start to thin and break with the warming temperatures and in my garden the Cyclamen will start to bloom. Even in the snow the Cyclamen, a pretty low growing flower, will put forth a vibrant display that thumbs its nose at the winter and cold temperatures.


Its funny how many times in these days people will exit their homes sometime in late March or early April and exclaim in delight how spring has arrived, seemingly without our being aware of it. One day, its just here! Well, the witch tends to work with nature much as the ancients did. We notice the little signs and omens declaring spring to have already arrived, even though we're still bundled in our cloaks and hats.

I can feel the warm edge to a cold spring breeze. I look at the sunsets and can see the change which indicates warmer and milder weather. Have you noticed in the past week or so the vibrant, red hued, amazing sunsets we've been experiencing? The redder the sunset the milder the weather will be the next day. It might rain, but it will be warmer than typical for a winter day. We've had milder weather this month that the sunsets have been heralding with breathtaking beauty.

The witch spends time, lots of time, studying the natural world around her. Well .  .  .  at least this one does.  I grew up on a dairy farm in the cow country of central Connecticut and I've been paying close attention for many years now. This is an opportunity for you to notice the natural world around you. Make a point of looking for the earliest signs of spring you can find.  

Make a list of the candles you'll need. God/dess candles, elemental directional candles, Sabbat candles, spell candles, and luminary candles are all candles you will need throughout the year. The following list is the colors that are typically associated with the candles you will need.  We'll talk more about Imbolc as we get closer to the Sabbat. You have some supplies to gather!

North - Green
East - Yellow
South - Red
West - Blue

Imbolc - Red
Ostara - light Blue
Beltaine - Red or White or combinations of the two
Litha -  Yellow
Lughnasa - Orange
Mabon - dark Blue
Samhain - Black
Yule - Green or Red or combinations of the two

God/Goddess candles can be figure candles, gold, silver or white typically.  I love shopping for candles, have fun!

Peace and Happiness

© 2010-2012 Faith M. McCann.  Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website.  Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.

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