This cross quarter holiday and Greater Sabbat is celebrated by most Pagan traditions on February 2, although some groups celebrate on February Eve. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year and is the festival of the Maiden because from this day to March 21st, it is her season and a time for the earth to prepare for growth and renewal.From Samhain to Bride (pronounced BREED) the Celts observed a time called “the period of the little sun”. In old Scotland, the month fell in the middle of the period known as Faoilleach, the Wolf-month; it was also known as a’ marbh mhiòs, the Dead-month. In Scotland, the Old Woman of winter, the Cailleach, is reborn as Bride, Young Maiden of Spring, fragile yet growing stronger each day as the sun rekindles its fire, turning scarcity into abundance.
Although our Mother Earth rests at this time and her stirrings are still hidden from us there is life nonetheless. At Imbolg the long winter is almost behind us, The coldest times have been experienced and survived and now the days are becoming longer. The earth is coming alive and once again, it is time to begin anew. This is the time for banishing winter and preparing for the coming spring. On this day we celebrate the return of light, new beginnings, fertility of the land which is shown to us in things such as the the swelling of buds on bare branches and in many places the first Crocus and snow drops flower, springing forth brightly from the frozen earth.. We also celebrate agricultural fertility as evidenced by the livestock birthing new babes, the engorgement of udders and the planning and preparation for the coming planting times. For this reason many people chose this day to bless seeds and consecrate agricultural tools.
It is also felt by many traditions that the eve of Imbolc is the best time of the year to perform divinations specifically pertaining to the future welfare and prosperity of your family. While New Year’s resolutions are often about letting go of habits or things that you no longer want, Imbolc is the time for taking the first active steps toward what it is you want to draw into your life-a time of new beginnings.
On this day, Christians celebrate Candlemas, blessing all church candles for the coming year. Catholics observe the feast day of St. Blaze and share in the blessing of the throats with candles and fire.
This sabbat is sacred to Brigit whose name means “The Exalted One,” queen and mother goddess of many European tribes. She is also known as Brigid, Bridget, Brighid, Brighde, Brig or Bride and some scholars consider her name originated with the Vedic Sanskrit word brihati, an epithet of the divine. She is Goddess of inspiration, dying, weaving, brewing, poetry, wisdom, healing, fertility, midwifery, reflection, meditation, lore, research, great knowledge, intelligence, understanding and smithwork who, in later times, became revered as a Christian saint. She is closely connected with livestock and domesticated animals. She had two oxen called Fea and Feimhean who gave their names to a plain in Co. Carlow and one in Tipperary. She was also the guardian of Torc Triath, king of the wild boar, who gave his name to Treithirne, a plain in West Tipperary. These three totem animals used to raise a warning cry if Ireland was in danger. It is also said that Brighid’s snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, and this is thought to be the origin of Ground Hog Day.
Written and/or Compiled by Dawn Thebarge Hill all rights reserved