(pronounced 'immol'g', with a slight unstressed vowel between the 'l' and the 'g')
IMBOLIC (Celtic), IMBOLGC BRIGANTIA (Feb. 1, Caledonii), LUPERCUS (Strega), CANDELARIA (Mexican Craft), DISTING (Feb 14, Teutonic Tradition), CANDLEMAS, IMBOLC, OIMELC, and LADY DAY.
Imbolg means 'in the belly'. The first stirring of spring are beginning to pierce the gloom of winter.
In ancient Rome, February was cleansing time-Februarius mensis, 'the month of ritual purification'. The tradition of February cleansing remained strong. By Imbolg, all the Yuletide decorations had to be gathered up and burnt, or hobgoblins would haunt the house. By this time, the new flow of life through the whole world of nature made people want to get rid of the past and look to the future. Spring cleaning was originally a nature ritual.
No matter what you call it, they all involve celebrations of banishing the Winter Season.
"Thus we banish winter,
Thus we welcome spring;
Say farewell to what is dead,
And greet each living thing.
Thus we banish winter,
Thus we welcome spring!"
An easy way to remember Craft holidays is to associate them with seasons. Imbolg, Ostara, and Beltane are the three Spring festivals. Imbolg welcomes the change from old to new, Ostara invites the fertility energy of the earth to awaken, and Beltane represents the fertility and love energy awakening in humans.
Imbolg is a FIRE FESTIVAL which celebrates the coming of Spring. The aspect of the Goddess invoked at this Sabbat is BRIGID, the Celtic Goddess of Fire, Wisdom, Poetry, and Sacred Wells. She is also a deity associated with prophecy, divination, and healing.
In Europe, the Candlemas Sabbat was celebrated in ancient times as a torchlight procession to purify and fertilize the fields before the seed-planting season, and to honor and give thanks to the various associated deities and spirits.
The Christianized version of the Candlemas processional honors the Virgin Mary, and in Mexico, it corresponds to the Aztec New Year.
This Sabbat also represents new beginnings and spiritual growth, and the "sweeping out of the old" is symbolized by the sweeping of the circle with a besom, or Witch's Broom. This is traditionally done by the High Priestess of the Coven, if you belong to one, and she wears a brilliant crown of thirteen candles on top of her head.
This Sabbat marks the time to welcome the spring. This festival is for fertility and to celebrate the things that are yet to be born, just barely waking under the heavy cloak of winter.
This is also a good time to look over your magickal cabinet to determine what you are low on and what you may need for the coming months.
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Beltane / Summer Solstice / Lugnassadh / Autumn Equinox
page constructed 17 Jan 2000