Wheel of the Year: Imbolc

Imbolc is the third sabbat holiday, using Samhain as the starting point for the beginning of the Pagan new year. 

We celebrate this sabbat between January 31st and February 2nd. Imbolc is found at the midway point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. In many regions, it was regarded as a season unto itself, represented by a time of change, when the days are longer and the sun is stronger.

🐑 Imbolc celebrated the festival of the first lambing and ewe’s milk. 🐑

🕯️It’s also known as Candlemas, the purification of the Holy Virgin forty days after the birth of the Christ child. 🕯️

It’s easy to see how the Imbolc celebration developed over the ages, from its Pagan roots to what it represents today. In America, we call February 1st, Groundhog Day. It’s a time of weather augury to see if spring will come early or later.

MabonHouse.com explains:

“Imbolc (pronounced Em-bowel-k) means In the Belly, and is a not-so-subtle reference to fertility and new beginnings for the harvest season.  Also known as Oimelc (Oy-melk), Imbolc is generally celebrated on February 1, though some people opt to celebrate it closer to February 5th, when the sun reaches the exact astronomical midpoint of 15 degrees Aquarius or on the second full moon after the Winter Solstice.” 

Imbolc has ancient Celtic roots and is closely associated with the Celtic goddess Brigid.


Brigid is a Celtic goddess associated with spring and the element of fire. She is often revered as a patroness of poetry, art, and healing.

Mythopedia.com shares:

“Brigid was a goddess of fire, passion, poetry, and invention. Even well into the Christian era, Irish writers credited Brigid as their inspiration. Through her connection to high architecture, she was a learned goddess—in part through her connection to high architecture—and inspired not just smiths, but craftsmen of all trades. Her connection to healing and wisdom may have been aspects passed on from her father, the Dagda, who was a master of magic and mysticism. Her ability to always know what was needed was one of her many sacred gifts.”

Women and children created Bridgid’s Crosses to hang above doorways to bless and protect their homes.

🐑 Purchase St. Brigid’s Cross on Amazon.com 🐑

It’s believed the ancient Celts listened for the song of a lark on Imbolc. If they heard the Lark’s song, it meant God had returned to the Goddess and spring was on its way.

The Catholic Church adopted the Goddess Brigid in the middle ages. She was canonized as St. Brigid of Kildare, whose saint day is February 1st. Nineteen nuns, similar to the all-female priesthood of the Goddess Brigid, attended her shrine. 


Make a Brigid’s Cross

Making a Brigid’s Cross is also a study in mindfulness. Its origins are older than the Christian cross. When you add a Brigid’s Cross to your home, it’s believed to protect against negative energy, evil spirits, fire, and hunger.

Visit a holy well or a sacred spring

Ireland has many holy wells dedicated to (Saint) Brigid. Check out the water sources in your area. Make a pilgrimage. Say a prayer to St. Brigid.

Light a candle

A traditional symbol of Imbolc is fire, as Brigid is the guardian of the holy fire. To celebrate, light a candle in her honour.

Spring cleaning

Imbolc encourages cleaning, clearing, and purifying in the many layers of your life. 

  • Clear away clutter. Sweep, dust, and vacuum.
  • Use sound to clear your spaces—bang on a drum, rattle, ring bells or simply clap your hands to move the stagnant and stuck energy.
  • Burn incense to clear the air. Be sure to crack a window, so the negativity has somewhere to go.

Feast (nourish)

In our ancestors’ time, milk and cream eaten at this time of the year would have been life-changing to health and nutrition.

So follow in the steps of our ancestors. Enjoy some milk, cream, yogurt, or cheese.

Plant seeds

At Imbolc, it’s a symbolic ritual to sow seeds of intention for the coming months. While you’re at it, plant some seeds at Imbolc to plant in your garden.

Leave out milk and biscuits (offerings to the fae)

Brigid has always been connected to the fae (good neighbors). Honor this connection by leaving an offering of milk and biscuits (or cake).

Make Brigid’s mantle / cloak (Brat-Bhríde)

On January 31st leave a piece of fabric outside the house, overnight. I use a green ribbon placed on a windowsill on our porch.

It’s believed the Goddess will pass by my window during the night, blessing the ribbon. This ribbon, endowed with Brigid’s blessings, can be used throughout the year for healing and protection. I keep my Brat-Bhríde (green ribbon) on my altar throughout the year.

My Ancestor Altar featuring Kwan Yin

Up Next: Ostara – The Spring Equinox

This post may include Amazon affiliate links. I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

14 thoughts on “Wheel of the Year: Imbolc”

  1. Love this Colleen… and Love your Alter and your information..

    Well I must have made a good start to the Imbolc year… As I have been planting seeds, and doing some early Spring Cleaning, Plus, I am always burning incense sticks or wax melts 🙂

    I used to have a Brigit’s Cross that a friend brought me back from Ireland many years ago, that I had hung over the inside of my back door for years.. I just have my Greenman hung there now..
    Tomorrow the 31st is our Wedding Anniversary… So interesting to note I didn’t know that about the fabric…And I may just do that Colleen…. I have some green ribbon too…. 🙂 Any Goddess with Love and Blessings is welcome to pass my door..

    Lovely post dear Colleen.. ❤ Sending Love and Hugs your way my friend 💚💚💚💚💚💚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sue, you’re such a joy! I love Imbolc and the changes in the amount of daylight are more noticeable now. The video was so good for instructions on how to make a Brigid’s cross. She’s a special goddess for poets so one of my favorites. Happy Imbolc blessings to you! 💚💚💚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome. Many of the pagan gods and goddesses were absorbed by the church. If you could control the belief systems of the people, you had the power to control them. What I really enjoy, is reading how many of these old Pagan beliefs are still popular today. Many people are finding a path back to nature by following the moon phases and featuring an ancestor’s altar, like mine. Honoring the past, is an honorable activity. I’m glad you enjoy the Wheel of the Year, Yvi. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.