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What is Imbolc? Snowdrops are a key symbol of Imbolc
29 Jan 2024

What is Imbolc?

Imbolc, celebrated around February 1st or 2nd marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is a Celtic festival that signifies the early signs of spring and the awakening of the earth from its winter slumber.

In the Northern hemisphere the days are lengthening and there is new energy in the air. Bulbs that have been hidden underground all winter now sprout and snowdrops are celebrated as one of the first flowers to bloom.

Imbolc is a time of anticipation and celebration as it heralds the approach of Spring, Traditionally this is a time for cleansing and purification of the home and self. This can involve, de-cluttering and cleaning spaces as well as personal reflection for fresh starts. Imbolc is often considered to be the perfect time to start new projects especially after the dark months of thoughtful introspection.

At Imbolc we ask ourselves what new potential lies in the new growth cycle to come? What do we wish to set in motion and begin? This is a great opportunity to change old habits and patterns and work towards changing our relationship with the natural world; to see ourselves as part of nature and the great web of life, not separated from it. Ask yourself how you will help initiate this understanding both in yourself and in your children? Seek new thinking patterns and new lifestyles that will create a more sustainable and integrated future for our children and for the Earth.

Imbolc is closely associated with the Goddess Brigid who represents healing, poetry and craftsmanship. Brigid’s Cross is an ancient Pagan symbol for Brigid. It is also known as a Celtic Sun Wheel or Solar Cross, confirming her status as sun goddess.

Candlemas is a Christian celebration which takes place on February 2nd. Lighting candles is a way to banish darkness and welcome the light.

Gardeners will know that this is a good time to plant seeds which is another way of looking forward with hope.

The Silver Birch is the first tree of the Celtic Tree Ogham. It is a great pioneer tree and is associated with boldness to begin and a new start. The Birch has the ability to change and transform a landscape by being the first tree to colonise new ground. Sit with this beautiful energy to find a sense of clarity and restored direction.

Inspired by Glennie Kindred

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