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The Festival of Imbolg



Imbolg, which is also sometimes called Oimelic, which literally means butter bag. This comes from part of the festivals origins. The festival would be celebrated when the sheep would start to lactate. This festival is not so much a community celebration as it is a personal, or family celebration. In the western isles of Scotland Imbolg is celebrated with family at home.



The name Imbolg mostly occurs in old literature. The modern Gaelic word for this is Oiche Fheil Bhrighide (oi-chi ayla vree-jida), which means Eve of the festival of Brighid. In the non-Gaelic areas Imbolg is sometimes called Candlemas. This festival is connected with St. Brighid, or St. Bride. This was carried over from the Celtic times were this festival was the celebration of the Goddess Brighid of the Tuatha De Danann.



In Ireland, and Scotland, the eve of bride is a time for celebration, and ritual. The main part of the celebration is for women to make an oblong basket that would be in the shape of a cradle, and this was called a Leaba Bride (lah-ba breeju), or Brighids Bed. When all is ready the women would call out that the Brides bed is ready, and another woman would call out Let the Bride come in, The Bride is welcome, Bride come in, Thy bed is made. Then a corn figure of Brighid is placed in the basket, along with a small white wand, this wand signifies justice, peace, and purity, and its giving mirrors the coronation of the Irish Kings when they were given a wand for the same reason.



Afterwards the men are invited in to give their respects to Brighid. They would then give their gifts of a shell, stone, or flower, and after this the celebration would take place.



The festival of Imbolg has old Celtic origins, which honor the Goddess Brighid, along with the return of spring.



Things Connected with Imbolg



Symbols;

Candles, evergreens, and snow



Colors;

White, and blue



Herbs and flowers;

Angelica, basil, bay, benzoic, blackberry, celandine, coltsfoot, heather, iris, myrrh, snowdrop, tansy, violets, and white and yellow flowers.



Foods;

Breads, cake, curry, dairy foods, garlic, honey, leeks, muffins, onions, peppers, raisins, scones, seeds, spicy, and hot foods, herbal teas, and spiced wines.



Activities;

Burn the Yule greens to send winter away



Make the Brides Bed using the corn or wheat doll make the previous Lughnasadh.



Make a candle wheel



Create a sun wheel or Brighids cross for each room in the house. Burn the old ones.



Hang a scarf outside on the eve of Imbolg and Brighid will bless it with healing powers.



Place three ears of corn on the door as symbol of the Triple Goddess and leave until Ostara.



Imbolg is a traditional time for Witches' dedications, rededications, and initiations.



Cleanse your sacred space and altar tools with a simple Imbolg besom rite.



For a simple Imbolg observance, light a white candle and burn sandalwood.



Cleanse the area where you do card readings or scrying with a censer, burning rosemary or vervain, and say:



By the power of this smoke, I wash away the negative influences that this place be cleansed for the Lady and her babe.



Make dream pillows for everyone in the family.



On Imbolg Eve, it is customary to leave food and drink out for Brighid -- buttered bread, milk, grains, or seeds. Also leave buttered bread in a bowl indoors for the faeries that travel with the Lady of the Greenwood. Next day, dispose of it outside as the "essence" has been removed.



Let this be the traditional time that you make candles for the coming year, infusing them with color, power, herbs, and scent depending on the magical purpose. Bless candles that you will be using for rituals throughout the year.



Imbolg is the traditional time to collect stones for new magic circles and general magical use.





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