(aka the Feast of St. Bride/Brigit Virgin and Martyr, and Saints Polycarpe, Ignace bishop and martyr, and Seriol; Candlemas eve
Imbolc/Oimelc; Imbolg; Olmeag; Ewomeoluc; Feast of Pan; Feast of Torches; Feast of Waxing Lights; Groundhog's Day, The evening of the 31st,
the day of the 1st)
This page was created by Marc Carlson
It was last edited 9 June 2004
This is the begining of Earrach, or the 2nd quarter of the year.
Imbolc is from purportedly Old Irish, and may mean; "in the belly";
while Oimelc may be Scot's Gaelic for; "ewe's milk", indicating the
beginning of lambing season. Ewomeoluc is purportedly Old English for "ewe's
milk". Imbolc is pronounced "IM-bullug" or "IM-bulk" with a guttural "k"
on the end. The holiday name Brighid is pronounced "bre'ed",
and Oimelc is "EE-mulk".
The days grow noticably longer, and so a ritual of the fires is held
against the coldest part of the year, hoping to bring an early spring,
and as a reminder of the reviving Earth.
The feast of the waxing light. The Child Sun born with the Solstice
begins to grow into himself, growing stronger as the days grow visibly
longer. This is the time that he becomes an individual, a unique
person, and we should emulate him. This is a time of initiation,
of beginning, when the seeds quicken in their dark places of slumber.
This is also the time of the coming of the Bright One, and to begin to
prepare for the coming battle.
It is a time to start preparing for the Spring's work, be it planting or
fishing. A time to have the tools of your trade (Nets, Plows,
Spinning Wheels, etc) blessed.
It is also a time to plan new projects and to prepare for the coming
It is a time to restock one's magical supplies.
In Latin, Februarius is "the month of cleansing", and Februum is a term
for a religious cleansing. The thawing in the spring can be seen
to bring about a flooding that cleans all before it (Brigid is also a goddess
of holy wells), and so all that was hindered by the winter is
released to begin flowing in the new season.
For many, this is an optimistic time, a feast to symbolize cleaning up
one's home and one's life, looking towards the end of the winter, and taking
stock of what you have and who you are.
This is a time of weaving talismans (such as the Brigit's Cross/Brighid's
crosses) that are given to friends and relatives as protective charms for
their homes, and of donating to the poor and needy. Such talismans
are most often woven from wheat stalks. At an Imbolc Eve feast, offerings
are made to travelers and, often children are sent out to beg,
symbolizing the donations to the poor. Fresh rushes are laid
on the door step, a sheef of oats or a loaf of bread is left out for the
poor to take. All work that requires wheel turning is suspended.
Corn Dollies, or Maidens, are made from corn and/or wheat (often the last
wheat or corn cut in the autumn's harvest.) These are sometime dressed
and carried from door to door, on Candlemas Eve, by young girls especially.
The older women of the community make cradles, commonly known as
"Bride's Beds", for the dollies to sleep in. It is purportedly traditional
to make miniature wands for the Corn Dollies/Maidens to hold. The
Corn Maidens are kept all year long as talismans of protection and fertility.
The Bride's Bed appears to be a popular in some modern celebrations of
Imbolc. This is basically a small basket, adorned with flowers and
objects representative of the Goddess. The Corn Dolly is placed into
the "bed", and given a wand, tipped with an acorn or other large seed,
and this phallic imagery is intended to represent the aspect of the ritual.
Candles are lit to each side of the "bed", and the symbolic "God" and "Goddess"
can then be further enchanted.
In many circles this is the time to initiate new members.
Some Circles use this time for melting and remaking sufficient candles,
such as their "Goddess" Candle to last the rest of the year.
A Celebration of Brigid, the Lady of Wisdom, whose triune nature involves
smithcraft, poetry and wisdom, and healing. Brigid's fire is
a symbolic transformation offering healing, wisdom, and tempering
of the soul.
Some interpret this as a festival to Oengus Og and Bridgit.
If you see a hedgehog, this is a good sign about the ending of winter.
The flames of Brigit's Sacred Fire predict about the coming harvest
and the next year.
This holiday was completely unknown to the pagan Anglo-Saxons.