The festival of Imbolc (pronounced ‘Immolc’) falls on the 2nd February and means ‘in the belly’. It may still be very cold and the ground may be hard and white with snow and frost, but the light us growing and we have proof that Spring is on it’s way.
The belly of the earth stirs and begins to produce the first green shoots; we also see the first little lambs around this time. We feel this within ourselves too as a small thrill of excitement as the light grows; there is brightness, whiteness and hope and this is celebrated at the festival of Imbolc.
Flowers are quite literally thin on the ground at this time of year, but if we are lucky the snowdrop peeps out of the frosty earth to announce that Spring is on its way. Snowdrops symbolise purity and legend has it that it is unlucky to bring them into the house on Valentine’s Day because the unmarried girls in the house might then remain spinsters!
Another way to consider this however is that the white of the snowdrop is the colour of the Maiden aspect of the Goddess, who is fearless, adventurous and independent. She belongs to no one and is a virgin in the old meaning of the word in that she is possessed only by herself, although she may have relationships with anyone of her choosing. So the snowdrop speaks of hope and feminine strength. The Maiden is the huntress and athlete….full of the exuberant energy of youth. She gives herself where she wishes, yet belongs to no one. So Imbolc is perhaps the most ‘feminine’ of the festivals; it has a delicacy and determination, a gentleness and a ruthlessness in the gifts offered and the cleansing aspect that is stressed.
So, what does the festival of Imbolc mean for our own lives? As light begins to grow in the outer world it is time to ask what needs to be revitalised within us. What needs to take root and grow, and what needs to be swept away as the winter winds and frosts have scoured the land? Where should we direct our energies and which new projects should we embrace?
This is an opportunity to formulate fresh goals and eradicate the things that stand in our way. It is time to get in touch with what is seeking the light of day within us, and to let go of anything outworn. New Years Resolutions are usually timed for the 1st January but now would be a better time to embrace these….for now we are more likely to feel the strength within us to tackle objectives that may have seemed daunting in the depths of Winter.
Candles are particularly important at Imbolc as a perfect symbol for the light that is now growing out of the darkness. A simple ritual to do at this time might be to light a single white candle whilst contemplating Imbolc and all the meanings it has for you.
As Imbolc is also a festival of creativity it would be an excellent opportunity to devote a day to a craft or creative enterprise of your choice such as cooking, writing, painting or photography.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post on the meanings and symbolism of Imbolc. We have various supplies in stock including Imbolc incense, oil blends and candles, and not forgetting beautiful crystals. Only upstairs at Earth Spirit!