Honoring Imbolc: A Celtic Tradition

Looking to celebrate the first Sabbat of the New Year? Imbolc falls on February 1st and goes until sundown on the 2nd. Based on a Celtic tradition that honored the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, it’s often known as Feile Brighde (“the quickening of the year”). Imbolc, derived from Imbolg, meaning “in the belly.” All is expectant and pregnant during this time. It is the promise of renewal in spring — of hope and rebirth.

During Imbolc, we honor the goddess Brigid, AKA Brighid, Bride, Brigit (evoked in fertility rites and oversees poetry, crafts, & prophecy). She was considered to be one of the most powerful Celtic gods and myths say she was born with a flame in her head and drank the milk of a mystical cow in the spirit world. Ever heard of keening? “Brigid is credited with the very first keening, a traditional wailing for the dead practiced at funerals by Irish and Scottish women” (History). Click here to listen to an example of keening. It could make an interesting backdrop to your Imbolc preparations in honor of Brigid. Overall, it’s a time of cleansing and renewing promises or vows made. Here are some suggestions for celebrating Imbolc this year:

How to Honor Imbolc:

Plant seeds for spring crops. [Here is a great DIY project using recycled water jugs as mini greenhouses]

Burn a lamp or have a bonfire.

Make a Brigid Cross or Doll.

Participate in a fire scrying ritual.

Take a warm milk bath and add clary sage essential oil to it.

Redecorate your home and then cleanse it with herbs like sage.

Have a feast with breads, root vegetables, and dairy.

Take a nature walk.

Imbolc Nature Correspondences:

Swans, bear, deer, lamp, sheep, acorns, snowflakes, willow, & evergreens

What to Add to Your Altar for Imbolc:

Green and White Candles

Brigid Cross or Doll

Rosemary or Frankincense Incense



Snow water

Lavender or rosemary plant or sprigs

Crystals to Honor Imbolc:

Garnet, Onyx, Ruby & Bloodstone

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