Imbolc is coming up very soon! For those of you who are not familiar with this celebration, it is the second of the eight Sabbats on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year:
Imbolc has several possible pronunciations (see the videos below) and means either “in the belly” or “ewe’s milk”. This is because sheep were traditionally lambing at this time of year. Imbolc takes place on February first or second and is equidistant between the Winter Solstice (Yule) and the Spring Equinox (Ostara). It is a fire festival and we celebrate the first signs that spring will come again. The days are starting to get noticeably longer, and it is a time for rest and reflection, spring cleaning, and getting ready for spring planting. At Imbolc, the Goddess is in her maiden aspect and the earth is quickening. I think this is perfectly captured in this painting titled “Awakening of Spring” by Michael Hiep:
We had some winter storms here recently and were snowed in for a week!
The snow was lovely, but our very long driveway was covered in three to four-foot drifts:
It was very cold, and this was the indoor temperature in my work area! It was only 17 degrees Fahrenheit in our unheated back room!
So, we made muffins and planned what we would do to celebrate Imbolc! My mom had found blackberries on sale before we were snowed in, and they reminded us of summer!
We got out last year’s decorations:
Then we read blog posts and watched YouTube videos to get some new ideas. Here are our favorite ones:
We cleaned out our closets and found things to donate. We also started putting all of my recipes into notebooks. I had been meaning to do this for awhile, and we are nearly caught up now:
We took advantage of the back room being a walk-in freezer and emptied out our large freezer so we could defrost it:
We listened to my Imbolc playlist as we worked!
We also gathered snow to use for Imbolc. We put some in our freezer, and melted the rest:
Once the snow melted enough to get out again, we went to the store for craft supplies and gathered some reed-like plants to make Bridget’s crosses. (The Goddess Bridget is especially honored at Imbolc and many of our celebrations will involve her.)
We got a rag doll book from the library, fabric and yarn from the craft store, and baskets and a wooden frame that will work as a doll bed at the thrift store. My mom drew the patterns for our Bridget doll, and we will make her this weekend:
(We will also be making candles and doing a seed blessing, but we still need to shop for supplies.) Finally, we thought about our menu for Imbolc. We will be using many traditional ingredients and celebrating our Celtic heritage:
Breakfast: scones with dried fruit
Lunch: braided bread loaf with three kinds of seeds and potato soup
Tea: cardamom and poppyseed cake
Dinner: pasties, colcannon, roasted root vegetables, “beef” gravy, and lemon tarts
I will be sharing some of these recipes soon! We hope you are staying warm and wish you a Blessed Imbolc!