Free gift with EVERY order!* All orders $60+ ship FREE!* **COVID19 may cause shipping delays**

Imbolc and Candlemas: Flames of Fertility

January 29, 2019 0 Comments

Imbolc and Candlemas: Flames of Fertility

 

Officially celebrated on February 1 at sunset, Imbolc, or Imbolg, signals the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. Its name derives from Celtic meaning "in the belly,” as it refers to the “just-showing” pregnancy or a stirring of new life that has just begun.  At its core, this Pagan holiday is a clearing and cleansing preparing us for rebirth. Imbolc focuses on fertility and the promise of returning light in the spring season.

However, Imbolc’s claim to fame is the Irish Goddess Brigid, also spelled Brigit, Bride, or Brighid. She was considered a triple goddess or triune representing maiden, mother, and crone. In this way she had several facets to her symbolism of fire, hearth, poetry, and smithcraft. Brigit was believed to bring fertility to land and its people and therefore also has a close connection to midwives and other healing touch. With Imbolc, Brigit takes on her maiden aspect as being pregnant with possibility with sacred fires representing inspiration, creativity, and cleansing.

As with most Earth-based holidays, Christianity adopted its own versions and the well-loved Brigit was honored as Saint Brigid. With the Christianization of Ireland, Candlemas was celebrated on February 2 instead of Imbolc. It was instead renamed the “Feast of Purification” and paid homage to the fertility and purification of Virgin Mary and her guiding light instead of Brigit’s flame.

Fortunately in both the Pagan and Christian versions of Imbolc, the Brigit’s Cross remains sacred symbolism. Usually made of reeds, it is a solar cross or wheel—she was a Sun goddess of sorts--woven together and used for protection. According to some Neo-Pagan rituals, a new one was made every year and then the old one was burned.

brigits cross

Brigit's Cross

Other traditional celebrations of Imbolc included putting out the main home fire and doing a thorough cleaning of the hearth. In other cases, entire fields purified with fire rituals or bread offerings to the Grain Goddesses. The adapted holiday Candlemas was honored in the Roman Catholic Church as a day to cleanse and bless the church candles. Below are more modern ways to celebrate Imbolc, Candlemas, or Brigit and her fiery fertility:

 

  • Create an altar with candles (duh), poetry books, chalice representing healing waters, flowers, or other spring symbols.
  • If you are feeling ambitious you could make a traditional Brigit’s cross out of reeds, there are plenty of resources online with an easy Internet search. See our example above.
  • Start cleaning out closets and dusting corners (this can also be an honoring of Marie Kondo)
  • Candle ritual with prayers or simple gratitude for what’s to come, if you want more inspo, check out the Energy Cleaning Kit or Fertility Ritual Kit
  • Wear red or other bright colors or decorate the home with some added elements (I bought some bright red tulips for the occasion)

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Farrar of Wild Witch of the West has her M.A. in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and has worked with many renowned astrologists and cosmologists. Read her bio here, and catch more of her work on Witch of the West.

______________________________________

Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!





Also in Esoteric Insights

Celestial Insights: June 2022
Celestial Insights: June 2022

May 26, 2022 0 Comments

Welcome to June, the midpoint check-in of the year and the month of the summer solstice—the longest day of the year on the 21st (also known as Litha to Pagan pals), where we can bask in the sun, ushering in the summer season, where light wins over darkness. We are in the post-eclipse season and Rx energy of May (Mercury stations direct on the 3rd!), so there are less bumps and more flow this month with inner planetary energies...

Continue Reading

June 2022 Tarotscopes
June 2022 Tarotscopes

May 26, 2022 0 Comments

June greetings to all, and happy solar return wishes to Gemini and early Cancer folks! Below are your intuitive tarot readings coupled with insightful astro snapshots by Richard, per sign, for the month ahead. I am also pulling a card for the collective, which you can use in conjunction with your personal tarot card to create a more robust narrative around what is calling your attention during this monthly cycle, or as a clarifier for your zodiac’s card....

Continue Reading

Celestial Insights: May 2022
Celestial Insights: May 2022

May 12, 2022 0 Comments

Welcome to May: Taurus AND eclipse season... This month has big, helpful energy coming in by way of a Jupiter/Pluto sextile on the 3rd, a beautiful transit for positive changes and transformation. We also have a slowing, stabilizing ribbon of energy for most of the month, as we are in Taurus season, plus a stellium in Taurus through the first half of the month (North Node, Uranus, Sun, Pallas Athena, and the moon on the 1st). There is also a stellium in Pisces...

Continue Reading