Intro to the Sabbats - Imbolc – February 2nd


Imbolc (another name commonly used is “Oimelc”) means “ewe’s milk” and it was at this time that pregnant ewes began lactating, which was a sign to early Europeans that spring was on its way.  Crocuses, a flower traditionally associated as one of the first signs of spring, were used to adorn altars, homesteads, and people.  This was also the cue to really begin to get things in order for planting crops for the upcoming growing season.  This holiday is also referred to as Candlemas in the Anglo-Celtic cultures and this most likely would be, because of a custom of lighting candles in the hopes that their flames would draw the warmth and Sun back to their land.  In one custom, a young woman, representing the Virgin Goddess, would enter the ritual area carrying a circle of candles that were lit.  This circle closely resembles the Wheel of the Year, blazing brightly, another form of coaxing warmer seasons to them. 


Before we had heating in homes supplied by gas, coal, oil, fire was the household’s only source of heat.  The importance of fire goes far beyond heat and light in the house – the fireplace was also a central gathering place.  Stories were spun, the days event’s told, teachings passed down, guests entertained, etc.  This was truly the social center of the household.


The heart has been adopted as one of the Symbols of Imbolc, and we know it today as a symbol of Valentine’s Day (also known as Lupercalia prior to that).  In some of the cards we see in celebration of that day, there is a young woman waiting patiently for her distant lover to return.  So it is for us – we wait for our cold, barren winter season to pass, so that we may enjoy the warmth, and beauty of the fertile spring and summer months.  This is a time to make plans, not just what to do over the next few days, but long term (for the entire year).  If there are some life altering decisions to be made, this is the time to decide exactly what you want, and set out a game plan for accomplishing it.  Want to take a cruise in September?  Then start now, by figuring out where you want to take this trip to and how much it will cost.  If you are like some of us, you aren’t made of money, so you need to budget and save.  In other words, plan ahead for whatever it is that you want to accomplish for the year.


Imbolc was also a time to collect stones for new magic circles and even for general magickal use.  Stones contain within them the Earth energies, which is also symbolic of renewing a connection with the land.  They often are a marker for ritual space, and you will even see them now as property markers as they are viewed as semi-permanent.  Because of their strength and durability, stones are quite often used in strength and protection rituals.  Other activities that are traditional for this time are making grain dollies and sun wheels. 


The grain dolly may be in human form or woven like a mat and rolled up, and was used probably as a form of crop fertility magick.  Made from dried grains kept aside from the previous harvest, she is dressed throughout the year, to represent the Goddess aspect being celebrated in each Sabbat.  At Imbolc she is dressed as a bride and is often referred to as such.  At Midsummer and Lughnasadh she is shown as being “with child” and mirrors the wish for fertile and abundant crops, and as the year winds down, she is shown to be the crone during Mabon and Samhain.


The Sun wheel is also known in some traditions as Brigid’s Cross, since Brigid is one of the Goddesses associated with Imbolc.  One of Brigid’s correspondences is fire, which is as we saw above, central to the theme of the occasion.  Sun wheels are an equilateral cross encased in a circle, which represent the Wheel of the Year.  This also reminds us that to everything there is a season and a cycle – nothing is permanent.


Sabbat Correspondences

Other Names:

Imbolg, Oimelc, Candlemas, Disting-tid, Feast of Brigid, Festival of Light, Fest of the Virgin, Festival of Milk, Anagantios, Feast Day of St. Blaize, St. Briget’s Day, Candelaria


Candles, the Bride, Burrowing Animals, Grain Dolly, Sun Wheel, Heart


White, Yellow, Pink


Gods and Goddesses as children, all Virgin Goddesses


All Virgin Goddeses, All Flame Goddeses, Anu, Arachne, Arianhrod, Athena, Audhumla, Aradia, Arani, Artio, Attar, Branwen, Brigid/Brid, Brynhild, Cardea, Dahud, Februa, Frimia, Gaia, Inanna, Kebenut, Laufey, Lucina, Selene, Triduana, Vesta


All Dragon-headed Gods, All Flame Gods, Bannik, Braggi, Cupid/Eros, Dainichi, Diancecht, Dumuzi, Essus, Februs, Pax, Trusto


Candle Lighting, Searching for Signs of spring, Gathering Stones


Cutting or picking plants


Robin, Burrowing Animals, Sheep, Lamb, Dragon, Deer


Turquoise, Amethyst


Milk, Honey, Poultry, Pork, Lamb


Evergreen, Willow, Rosemary, Clover, Dill

Sabbat Meanings:

Honor of the Virgin Goddess, First Signs if returning life, Festival of Light

Attunement Teas:

Chamomile, Red Clover, Rosemary, Blackberry

Ritual Oils:

Jasmine, Apricot, Carnation, Sweet Pea, Neroli, Olive

Mythical Creatures & Key Actions(s):

Firebird, Dragon, Berometz – open and begin


from "Wicca Handbook" by Eileen Holland

"Ancient Ways" by Pauline and Dan  Campinelli