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Imbolc

Imbolc, (pronounced "IM-bulk" or "EM-bowlk"), also called Oimealg, ("IM-mol'g), by the Druids, Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonni), Imbolic (Celtic), Disting (Teutonic, Feb 14th), Lupercus (Strega), St. Bridget's Day (Christian), Candlemas, Candlelaria (Mexican), the Snowdrop Festival. The Festival of Lights, or the Feast of the Virgin. All Virgin and Maiden Goddesses are honored at this time.  It is derived from the Gaelic word "oimelc" which means "ewes milk". Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brighid's snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, (the origin of Ground Hog Day), and in many places the first Crocus flowers begin to spring forth from the frozen earth.

The Maiden is honored, as the Bride, on this Sabbat.  In Ancient Pagan times Straw Brideo'gas (corn dollies) were created from oat or wheat straw and placed in baskets with white flower bedding. Young girls then carried the Brideo'gas door to door, and gifts were bestowed upon the image from each household. Afterwards at the traditional feast, the older women made special acorn wands for the dollies to hold, and in the morning the ashes in the hearth were examined to see if the magic wands left marks as a good omen. Brighid's Crosses were fashioned from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity in the coming year. Home hearth fires are put out and re-lit, and a besom (traditional broomstick) is placed by the front door to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Candles are lit and placed in each room of the house to honor the re-birth of the Sun, and it is customary to put every light in the house on for a few minutes. Some Wiccan traditions favour this as a day for initiations into the Craft, symbolizing the New Beginning.Imbolc Correspondences
Symbolism
Purity, Growth and Re-Newell, The Re-Union of the Goddess and the God, Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.

Symbols
Brideo'gas, Besoms, White Flowers, Candle Wheels, Brighid's Crosses, Priapic Wands (acorn-tipped), and Ploughs.

Deities
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses, Brighid, Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, and Februa, and Gods of Love and Fertility, Aengus Og, Eros, and Februus.

Herbs
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Violets, and all white or yellow flowers.

Foods
Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppy seed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Raisins, Spiced Wines and Herbal Teas.

Incense
Basil, Bay, Wisteria, Cinnamon, Violet, Vanilla, Myrrh.

Colors
White, Pink, Red, Yellow, lt. Green, Brown.

Stones
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise.

Activities
Candle Lighting, Stone Gatherings, Hiking and Searching for Signs of Spring, Decorating Ploughs, Feasting, and Bon Fires maybe lit.


 

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