The word Imbolc comes from the Old Irish "i mbolg" meaning "in the belly". Referring to the pregnancy of ewes. There is also reference to the lactation of ewes.
It's a festival of hearth and home and a celebration of days getting longer and the early signs of spring.
Festival of the Maiden. The Maiden is honored as the Bride.
Brighid is the Goddess that watches over pregnant women and everything domestic. She is also the Goddess of the crossroads.
Also a fire festival.
One story I read that goes with the weather prognostication of this Sabbat is if the day is cloudy and dreary it is said that Cailleach is sleeping and winter will end soon. But if the day is sunny and bright, it means that Cailleach is out of her hiberation and is collecting more wood for her hearth and winter will last longer. This is probably where the concept of Groundhog's Day came from.
It's a time of:
Creativity - Love - Cleansing - Fire
Time to light candles and bless the candles that will be used throughout the year.
Corn dollies are made and placed in a basket made from wheat or oat straw with the bedding be made from white flowers. The corn dollies can be decorated with shells and colorful ribbons. Young girls would then carry this basket from door to door and the people would give gifts. At the feast the older women would make acorn wands for the dollies to hold.
The night before the hearth is put out and the ash would be smoothed out and in the morning if it had be disturbed then it was a sign that Brighid had visited them.
A piece of cloth or ribbon is laid out on that night to receive Brighids blessing. In the morning the cloth or ribbon is brought in and has the powers of protection and healing. Or make a green wrap and place that out as well and then Brighid can bless it then you can use it to wrap yourself in protection and healing energy.
It's the time to bless the seeds to be planted in spring and of the tools that will be used in the garden.
Have foods that are dairy based. Custards, homemade butter, breads, etc.
Make a Brighid's cross.
Clean the house of the old to make room for the new.
Do a cleansing of the house to rid the house of old negative energy to bring in new positive energy.
Do a cleansing bath.
This is a time to welcome in the new things to come into our lives.
Colors for this time would be red - representing the fire -- green - representing the new growth of plants -- white - to represent the melting snow.
In doing this research and learning I have finally realized what I want to do for Imbolc. I am going to set up my first altar and place all things that represent Brighid and the day of Imbolc. Going to have to get crafty for this but will make it all the better. And I am more than sure most of it will be out of clay as all my other craft stuff is packed. Dang it!!
Going to make a corn dollie...well more of a clay dollie. Does that still count? In my clay world it absolutely counts!! Also a Brighid's cross will be out of clay as well. I'm going to make some ivy out of clay as well. Getting the theme yet? I will place all these on my altar. Besides some white pillar candles that I will have to make some candleholders for as I don't have any for pillars. Maybe I will decorate those with the ivy leaves as well or maybe with some flames.
I think I will put out an offering plate as well to place some milk. (Hopefully MoMo won't think this is for him) Going to place some ribbons outside in hopes that Brighid will bless them.
As for a chant I'm not sure yet. Going to do more research on that before I decide on that part.
I'm sure other things will come up as I start crafting and getting things ready. I will definitely take some pictures when I have it all finished.
Again if I forgot anything important please let me know. Be my village please. :)
And as always....
May your day be filled with many smiles and blessings!!
P.S. Girl Scouts just showed up at my door with cookies!!! YEAH!!! I love thin mints!! Can you make an offering to Brighid with Girl Scout cookies? Would that be wrong? I know she would love them as much as I do. LOL