On or around the 1st February in the northern hemisphere and 1st August in the southern, Imbolc is often seen as the first of three Spring festivals.

It is hard sometimes to think of Spring in what feels like the depths of Winter. But if we look at the ground we can see the first shoots of green beginning to reach towards the Sun. Imbolc can be celebrated on either the 1st or 2nd February, or more naturally when the Snowdrops cover the ground.

Imbolc by Damh the Bard
As the dark, cold morning gives way to light,
And the world shows its face dazzling in her nakedness,
So the twigs and leaf-bare branches,
Bow to the passing dance
Of old Jack Frost.
His crystal breath on the earth,
And the corners of houses weep icicles of joy.
But where is the Sun’s warmth?
Where is life?
A small flower, delicate and pure-white,
Looks to the earth,
As if talking to the waiting green,
“Not yet,” it seems to whisper.
“When I fall, then you can return.”
And she nods her head,
as the Lady passes by,
Leaving more flowers in Her wake

A small flower, delicate and pure-white. Looks to the earth. As if talking to the waiting green. "Not yet" it seems to whisper. "When I fall, then you can return".

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Spiral triskelion (formed from mathematical Archimedean spirals), occasionally used as a Christian Trinitarian symbol

Deeper into Imbolc

by Coifi

This is the Feast of Imbolc. The Light of the Sun in the Wheel of the Year stands in the North East, within the Cone of Darkness. This is a time of hope and preparation. This is the time of the growing of the Light

This Feast is known by many names to many people, for the Truth is reflected from many mirrors. It has been celebrated as Februa and Candlemas. Our ancestors called it by names long forgotten, and our children will call it by names as yet unconceived.

At this time, our ancestors saw the Sun, the weak and helpless Child of Light, grow stronger day by day. The land still lies in darkness, but the rule of the darkness is challenged by the infant Lord of Light. Little by little, the skies grow light and the blessed Earth gives forth her first flowers, snowdrop and crocus, as promise of the Summer that is to be when all creation will rejoice in the One Universal Light.

spring awakening 3132154 1920, Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.

This Feast of Imbolc is sacred to the Lady, the child-woman, the virgin who is known as Brighid and Athena and Britomartis and names without number. She it was who brought forth the Child of Light out of the Darkness in the darkest of the Dark Days. She it is who has nurtured the Child and now brings him forth as the new hope. She it is who has prepared the sleeping Earth to bring forth her bounty in the Summer which even here has its first beginnings.

As we see the Child of Light grow stronger day by day in the arms of the Mother, so do we understand that we ourselves will grow under the protection of the Mantle of the Lady, and the Light that shines within us will bring forth a great harvest in the ground that She has prepared. This is our knowledge and our affirmation.

This is the Holy Word that is written in no less than the Earth and the Sky and in all things that are made. This is a wonder and a marvel.

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More About Imbolc

Read posts from fellow Druids and OBOD members with musings, experiences, songs and stories about Imbolc:

Imbolc ~ A Solo Ritual – If you are by yourself this Imbolc but would like to take part in a ceremony, find out how in this solo ritual.

Imbolc ~ This Tender Blooming – Maria explains how Imbolc is traditionally seen as a festival of inspiration and a relief to anticipate those first green shoots after a long, cold winter.

Brigit – Read Susan’s blog post about the Celtic Saint and Goddess of Poetry, Healing and Smithcraft, worshiped by the Celtic people as a Saint for over fifteen hundred years.

Brighid and the Fires of Love – Read about why Brighid holds a special place in Akkadia’s heart and discover some of the inner meanings of the outer symbols associated with the Goddess.

Rekindling the Fire – Maria talks about re-connecting to spiritual practices after periods of loss and how her relationship with Brighid guided her out of her own personal wasteland.

Imbolc online: Meditations & Explorations – Watch videos of an online Imbolc ceremony hosted by OBOD chief, Eimear and Damh the Bard and a guided Imbolc meditation video hosted by former chief Philip.