SpiritFirst - Terry Folks

What is Imbolc?

Image credit: Raff Lui on Unsplash

“Dear Ms. Terry, What exactly is Imbolc? 
Curious, Esther”

Dear Esther,

Imbolc (pronounced em-bulk) is February 1st this year. In Celtic spirituality, Imbolc is about halfway between Winter Solstice/Yule (December 21st) and Spring Equinox/Ostara (March 19th). It is an important celebration of Brigid, the Celtic goddess of fertility, waterways, fire and smithwork.

If you want to celebrate Imbolc, you can go outside and look for signs of emerging green life. Look for emerging crocus noses! At the same time, you can also include the more modern whimsical tradition of Groundhog Day. We often include Spring Cleaning around this time, considering it a type of spiritual cleanse. Sometimes we have our first fire on Imbolc, or we meditate beside a river or creek.

As a craft, you could try your hand at making a Brigid’s cross, a national symbol of Ireland, and thought to provide a blessing of protection for your home. In Goddess Spirituality, this is an important time for dedicating yourself to a particular path for the year, and choosing a commitment for your spiritual growth.

Brigid's cross example
Image credit: Haley Owens on Unsplash

To quote Patricia Monaghan in her book, The Goddess Companion:

In contemporary women’s religion, this is the day for inner transformation: the day on which you dedicate yourself to the goddess path; the day on which you assume a new name; the day on which you pledge to make specific changes in your life. It could be thought of as a kind of goddess-specific New Year’s Eve, a time for resolutions and rituals that move the inner self toward a greater clarity of vision.” 

Esther, I hope you find ways to make Imbolc personal and meaningful for yourself this year. 

In Light, Terry