The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Imbolc is February 1st! Our first spring ritual of the year!!

 Good Evening,

Imbolc, also spelled Imbolg, is a Pagan ritual that has its origins in the ancient Celtic Irish culture.  It was traditionally celebrated on February 1st until the early Christians absorbed and Christianized the holiday moving it to February 2nd when they also renamed it Candlemass.  It has always been a spring ritual, the first in a series of three spring rituals we celebrate today. Ostara and Beltaine being the following two.

There is a specific Goddess, the Irish Goddess Brigid (also spelled Brighid) who is known also as Bride, that is associated with Imbolc. She also was absorbed and Christianized by the early church and later sainted.  The early Christians came up with an old woman who had lived and died that they claim was the person sainted but the Goddess Bridget had been worshiped for centuries before the woman the church named Saint Bridget was even born.

The Goddess Bridget was known as a triple Goddess, and was considered a bard, a mother Goddess, a Smith (one who works metal), a poet to name a few of her attributes. She is considered one of the Tuatha de Danaan, the magickal race of people who legendarily is believed to have founded the Irish culture.  She was also considered the Goddess of sacred springs and healing wells, and the tying of rags or clooties from a tree next to a sacred well was an offering to the Goddess and a petition or prayer asking her for her blessings regarding something special, many times asking for healing. It was believed as the cloth ribbons or rags disintegrated so to did the special favor asked for materialize.

A symbol of Brigid is the Brigid's Cross, a sun wheel or pagan wheel made from rushes or straw and woven together in a simple manner. It is considered a symbol of the Goddess and is often depicted at this time of the year.  I have included a picture of one here:

The early church claimed February 1st to be Saint Brigid's feast celebration day, while celebrating February 2nd as Candlemass.  We celebrate this holiday as Imbolc, a ritual that before one often  replaces candles used in ritual and cleaning of the altar room and a general first spring cleaning of the home. I myself, have been cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering for the past few weeks and it feels so right!

If you are interested in replacing your used candles, the following may be helpful in choosing the candle colors you will need. The color scheme I choose is the traditional American-Wiccan colors most often used in rituals in this country.

Elemental candles for each compass direction:

North, the element of Earth is Green
East, the element of Air is Yellow
South, the element of fire is Red
West, the element of water is Blue

For Deity candles:
If you use a God/Goddess candles combination the God can be white, yellow or gold while for the Goddess the candle can be black, red or silver

I use a triple Goddess combination, with one white candle for the maiden, a red candle for the mother and a black candle for the crone.  I do not use a candle for the God, though I do invoke him in ritual. Do what feels right for you. It's your ritual after all.

Illumination candles should be white as that color throws the most light, and there are no dyes in the wax to lessen the illumination.

These are the primary candles that should be replaced and refreshed. Take your old candles and place them aside to burn in the summer bonfire or in an outdoor fire pit. If you don't have an out door fire pit then discarding them in the trash is the next best alternative. I wouldn't burn them in an indoor fireplace. The wax can damage your fireplace and cause smoke and odor to permeate your home, not ideal and very smelly!!!

Some people bury them, but candle wax won't biodegrade and is best consumed in fire to release all of the energy that may be contained.  If you don't have a fire pit, then buying a portable metal fire box (many times they are round) at a local home and garden store is also a way of burning them up. It may take a few fires to use them all up, but it can be done. Please check with your local fire department as far as the laws in your community regarding open flame fires. If you find that you just can't burn up your candles, start burning them now to get them as used up as possible and then wrap the remains in brown paper and put in the trash.

 I'm lucky that I have a fire pit and frankly I don't know what I would do without it!! Fire is a big, BIG part of my magickal, spiritual practice and without it, well it just wouldn't be the same for me. 

These are just a few tid-bits regarding this upcoming Sabbat ritual and feast celebration.  I hope you are looking forward to Imbolc, I know I am!

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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