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Celebrating Imbolc

January 14, 2024

Celebrating Imbolc

Imbolc Celebrations: Honoring Brigid's Presence

Concluding our deity series, we turn our focus to Brigid, the Celtic goddess revered in Irish traditions for her associations with healing, poetry, and smithcraft. This blog post is also the first in a series about pagan celebrations and holidays. We celebrate Brigid during Imbolc,  marked by the Sun's return and the gradual thawing of the Earth in the Northern hemisphere.

The Celtic Sun Goddess

For centuries, Brigid has held a significant place in Ireland's religious history and mythology. She also appears in other cultures with Celtic origins, bearing the same aspects as the Irish deity. Witches, druids, and pagans recognize her as Brigid, Brighid, or Briggidda. A Sun goddess governing healing, smithcraft, and poetry, she also carries associations with fertility. Intriguingly, Brigid's aspects bear similarities to Saint Brigid of Kildare, Ireland's patron saint. Although researchers dispute whether or not they are the same entity, evidence shows that many attributes of Brigid were assimilated into the Catholic saint's narrative. Her iconic Brigid Cross is used by both pagans and Christians around this time of year. Usually made of rushes or grass, devotees hang the cross above the doorways of homes or businesses. Brigid is closely associated with the dawn in historically Celtic regions, and the cow and the ewe are common symbols of her. 

Brigid in Connection with Imbolc

Imbolc, an ancient Celtic fire festival observed annually on February 1st, stands as the third sabbat on the Wiccan wheel of the year. Marking the halfway point of winter, Imbolc rejoices in the imminent return of the Sun: it is this time of year when the days are getting noticeably longer, and the first of the spring flowers start to poke through the ground. Imbolc has long been intertwined with Brigid.
For an agrarian society such as ancient Ireland, Imbolc is the dawn of the new farming year and a sign that the cold, barren winter is ending. Brigid, believed to facilitate the healing of the earth and usher in the light, holds a central role during Imbolc.

Observing Imbolc and Honoring Brigid

If you would like to take part in this ancient tradition, there are many ways to get started. You can start with a simple offering of milk or cheese to Brigid, or you can use our Brigid Offering & Spell Kit to make your own offering. You can also fashion a Brigid Cross for yourself and hang it over the doorway of your home to ward off evil and to welcome in the light. Ingredients to use in your spell craft might include blackberry leaves, chamomile, dandelion, and acorns. As Imbolc is a fire festival, take this opportunity to light a hearth fire, or simply use a candle if that is what is available to you. You can also go outside and harvest decorations for your altar such as snowdrops, crocus, or other seasonal flowers. Explore our Imbolc Sabbat Box for further inspiration, which you can get through our online store or at our brick-and-mortar location in Asheville. Join us in honoring Brigid and embracing the magic of Imbolc.