What is Imbolc?

February 2, 2019

I want to share a little bit about IMBOLC which occurs on February 2, every year and is the first of 7 festivals in the Celtic Wheel of the Year.

Imbolc is when we begin to tap into the Maiden aspect of ourselves – the other aspects being Mother and Crone which are represented at other times of the year.

The word Imbolc means ‘in the belly’ and it is a festival of the Waxing Light, of Brigid’s Day in Ireland and Groundhog Day in North America.

How You Can Celebrate Imbolc in Your Home

I suggest you start with a crocus plant. Every year at this time I go to a flower shop and buy crocus plants for the womyn in my spirituality group. They all leave with a plant at the end of the ceremony. But if you are celebrating on your own, buy yourself a crocus plant, place it on your altar or sacred space, light a candle and initiate yourself into something new for this coming year.

The crocus plant is a symbol of the coming of spring. This plant is one of the first we see pushing its way up through the cracks of the earth as winter begins to fade away and yet is still making its presence known in cold temperatures and snow for those of us living in some parts of North America.

The crocus cracking through the earth is also a metaphor for what might be cracking through our life now. For example, you might want to live a goddess-inspired life. Simply say 3 times, I AM the Goddess, I AM the Goddess, I AM the Goddess – and you are on your way. You could also say, I AM an artist, I AM an artist, I AM an artist – and you are on your way. Whatever you want to bring forth, Imbolc is your opportunity to step on your path.

Brigid, The Goddess of Imbolc

Her name is Brigid, from Ireland.

This ancient Goddess with fiery red hair, wearing a red cloak and belt around her waist known as a ‘chris’ in the shape of a serpent brings a lot of energy to us. Her legend goes back 5000 years and there is a Holy Well and a Sacred Flame in Kildare Ireland to honour her spirit.

How Brigid Inspires Us

Her First Gift is Fire

To live a goddess-inspired life we need to find the FIRE WITHIN THE BELLY. Think of Katy Perry’s song, Firework. Think about where you can reFIRE your life this year. I refired my life about 5 years ago moving from a long time career in social work to a vocation dedicated to the Goddess. So use the fire of Brigid’s flame to reFIRE your life.

Her Second Gift is Water

I did an experiment recently. For years I’ve eaten dried apricots, I guess because I thought they were good for me. One day I decided to soak them overnight in hot water. The next day I was amazed as I put the now plump apricot in my mouth, it was moist and delicious. The water transformed the dried fruit completely.

This serves as a reminder that we need to drink lots of water and give thanks because water is becoming scarce on our planet and without water, we cannot live.

Water in the Goddess tradition is also associated with wells. Wells were often gathering places for womyn and the well was a sacred place. When Christianity arrived in England and France the site of wells were often chosen as sites of a church. In some cases, like at Chartres Cathedral in France, the Church was literally built on top of a Sacred Well.

The well is also a metaphor for our inner well. Brigid encourages us to not be afraid of our deep dark secrets or truths. She can give us the strength to bring all of our life to the surface where we can be healed and whole once again. We see this happening on a global scale with the #metoo campaign. Womyn are being freed to tell the truth of their life.

Our inner holy well is where we find the Goddess, and behold she is ourself.

Her Third Gift is Poetry

The third gift from Brigid is poetry so, I would like to invite you to write a poem. It doesn’t have to be a Shakespearean masterpiece, it can be 4 lines or 40 lines, you get to decide.

The Purple Goddess wishes you all the best at Imbolc

  • Buy your crocus plant
  • Initiate yourself into something new that is in your belly waiting to be birthed
  • Find your fire
  • Find your inner well of truth
  • And write a poem

I’ll conclude with a poem which is really a gathering song that I learned at a Brigid Festival written by a woman named Selchie.

We come together at Brighid’s Well
We kindle the flame within.
We come together at Brighid’s Well
We kindle the flame within.
Come gather, come gather and dance in the place of change.
Come gather, come gather where nothing remains the same.

Blessed Be