Free crystal with every order! All orders over $75 ship free in the continental US!
January 29, 2019
Officially celebrated on February 1 at sunset, Imbolc, or Imbolg, signals the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. Its name derives from Celtic meaning "in the belly,” as it refers to the “just-showing” pregnancy or a stirring of new life that has just begun. At its core, this Pagan holiday is a clearing and cleansing preparing us for rebirth. Imbolc focuses on fertility and the promise of returning light in the spring season.
However, Imbolc’s claim to fame is the Irish Goddess Brigid, also spelled Brigit, Bride, or Brighid. She was considered a triple goddess or triune representing maiden, mother, and crone. In this way she had several facets to her symbolism of fire, hearth, poetry, and smithcraft. Brigit was believed to bring fertility to land and its people and therefore also has a close connection to midwives and other healing touch. With Imbolc, Brigit takes on her maiden aspect as being pregnant with possibility with sacred fires representing inspiration, creativity, and cleansing.
As with most Earth-based holidays, Christianity adopted its own versions and the well-loved Brigit was honored as Saint Brigid. With the Christianization of Ireland, Candlemas was celebrated on February 2 instead of Imbolc. It was instead renamed the “Feast of Purification” and paid homage to the fertility and purification of Virgin Mary and her guiding light instead of Brigit’s flame.
Fortunately in both the Pagan and Christian versions of Imbolc, the Brigit’s Cross remains sacred symbolism. Usually made of reeds, it is a solar cross or wheel—she was a Sun goddess of sorts--woven together and used for protection. According to some Neo-Pagan rituals, a new one was made every year and then the old one was burned.
Other traditional celebrations of Imbolc included putting out the main home fire and doing a thorough cleaning of the hearth. In other cases, entire fields purified with fire rituals or bread offerings to the Grain Goddesses. The adapted holiday Candlemas was honored in the Roman Catholic Church as a day to cleanse and bless the church candles. Below are more modern ways to celebrate Imbolc, Candlemas, or Brigit and her fiery fertility:
Rebecca Farrar of Wild Witch of the West has her M.A. in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and has worked with many renowned astrologists and cosmologists. Read her bio here, and catch more of her work on Witch of the West.
Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!
Comments will be approved before showing up.
February 15, 2019
Every Full Moon is an exchange between the masculine Sun and the feminine Moon, illuminating the sky and shining a light on certain subjects. This particular illumination is at a 0 degree, suggesting this is both a new beginning (zero) and a completion. This matchup on the Virgo Pisces axis is a reflection of the balance between tending to our responsibilities while being sure we aren’t taking on more than we can manage. A major epiphany may surface that you are taking on the energy or responsibility of those around you. This may be both physically ...
February 02, 2019
There are a few things you should consider before starting your ritual. How does the ritual fulfill your intentions? How does it aid in discovering your intentions? Magic, especially modern magic, tends to be unifying rather than dualistic. The goal is to unify the higher (mind/divine) and lower (physical/experiential). Magicians do this by making things happen through uniting themselves with the universe at-large, by spell-casting (magic) and/or being mindful (mysticism). Lastly, it is crucial to record every step in a journal along with all external factors that affect you and the operation. This is one of the only ways to observe and adjust your practice as you develop.