This sabbat honors Brigid, the beloved Celtic goddess of healing, smithcraft, and poetry. A favorite of the Irish people, Brigid was adopted by the Church and canonized as Saint Brigid when Christianity moved into Ireland. Her holiday is celebrated either on February 1 or around February 5, when the sun reaches 15 degrees of Aquarius. In the Northern Hemisphere, daylight is increasing and the promise of spring is in the air. Therefore, Imbolc is celebrated as a time of hope and renewal.
The Holiday’s Significance
Brigid is one of the fertility goddesses, and Imbolc means “in the belly.” This holiday honors all forms of creativity, of the mind as well as the body. Illustrations of Brigid sometimes show her stirring a great cauldron, the witch’s magick tool that symbolizes the womb and the receptive, fertile nature of the Divine Feminine. As goddess of inspiration, Brigid encourages everyone, regardless of gender, to stir the inner cauldron of creativity that exists within.
Brigid goes by many names, including Lady of the Flame, Goddess of the Hearth, and Bright One. Her feast day is sometimes called Candlemas due to her association with fire. In magickal thinking, the fire element is believed to fuel inspiration and creativity.
Although Brigid is an aspect of the Divine Feminine, her day falls under the zodiac sign Aquarius, a masculine air sign in astrology. Her blazing hearth is both the metalsmith’s forge and the homemaker’s cook fire. Thus, she represents mind and body, a blend of yin and yang energies, and the union of polarities that is necessary for creation.
Ways to Celebrate
On Imbolc, the Sun King’s chariot ascends in the sky; the sun’s rays grow stronger and days grow longer. Witches celebrate this spoke in the Wheel of the Year as a reaffirmation of life and a time to plant “seeds” for the future. You may wish to build a fire in a magick cauldron to honor Brigid. On a piece of paper, write wishes you want to materialize during the year, then drop the paper into the cauldron. As the paper burns, the smoke rises toward the heavens carrying your requests to Brigid.
In keeping with the holiday’s theme of fire, many people light candles to honor the Goddess. Candles are the most common tool in the witch’s magickal toolbox, used in all sorts of spells and rituals. Engrave words that represent your wishes—love, prosperity, health, etc.—into the candle’s wax. Then light the candle and focus your attention on its flame, while you envision your wishes coming true.
Excerpted from my book The Everything Wicca & Witchcraft Book, published by Adams Media, copyright 2008. To order this or my other books on magick, please click the link to my website www.skyealexander.com and go to the books page.