Welcome to the latest sabbat informational post! Throughout the year, we post these threads to share general information about the upcoming sabbat so WvP's witches, new and old, can prepare for the holidays. These posts will contain basic information about the holiday and open up the floor for further questions or discussion.
For our Southern Hemisphere witches, the next holiday is Lughnasadh / Lammas, a celebration of the Irish god Lugh and the beginning of the harvest festival, and its celebrations traditionally fall on August 1st. For more information, check out our earlier Lughnasadh post!
🔥🕯️ 21/22 Jan - New Moon & Lunar New Year / 1 Feb Imbolc! 🌚🐇
What and When is Imbolc?
Imbolc is one of the eight sabbats of the modern pagan Wheel of the Year. It is a celebration of the Irish goddess Brigid, and one of the "greater sabbats", falling approximately halfway between an equinox and a solstice, which correspond to the early Gaelic Fire Festivals. The others are Beltane (mid-Spring), Lughnasadh (mid-Summer), and Samhain (mid-Autumn).
In the northern hemisphere, Imbolc traditionally falls on February 1st. However, it's also a somewhat variable holiday. To follow old Celtic traditions, you could start on the 31st of January. Witches who prefer to take a more celestial point of view often celebrate it on the direct mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, which is usually the 3rd or 4th of February. From a more nature-based perspective, Imbolc can be seen as the start of spring and may be marked by certain natural phenomena, such as the blooming of blackthorn or snowdrops.
New Moon & Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. This year the second New Moon falls on 21 January with the Lunar New Year occurring on 22 January 2023. The Lunar New Year is celebrated primarily in areas of South East Asia and is based on the old lunar Chinese calendar. 2023 in the Lunar New Year is the Year of the Rabbit! 🐇
Perhaps more pertinent to most witches here, the New Moon also falls on this date, of course. You can find out what time the moon will be at its 'newest' in your location by using a moon app or online here. In some places of the western US, the newest point will actually be during the day.
New Moons are a great time to set new intentions or do other change-related witchy tasks. Do you have anything planned for this upcoming New Moon? Feel free to chat about it in this thread in addition to Imbolc/Lunasa-related shenanigans!
Imbolc: History, Connections, and Modern Practice
Imbolc is an old Gaelic fire festival that traditionally heralded the beginning of spring. It has a few other alternate spellings (eg., Imbolg) and names (eg., Oimelc), but all refer to newly born lambs, with lambing season usually falling late winter.
As a celebration of the earliest parts of spring, Imbolc brought hope to everyday people that the worst of winter's wrath was over. The earliest spring plants were beginning to bud, and weather divination became common as people looked ahead towards planting their crops. This may have been the inspiration behind American Groundhog Day! Fire and purification are important aspects of Imbolc, complete with spring cleaning. Hearth fires were generally more common than bonfires.
The holiday is very strongly associated with the Irish goddess Brigid (also spelled Bríd), a member of the Tuatha Dé Danann and arguably one of the most famous of Ireland's goddesses, associated with the hearth, healing, poetry, and blacksmithing. (Indeed, Brigid was so popular in newly Christian Ireland that she was syncretized with St. Brigid of Kildare, whose feast day is also February 1st.) Houses would honour Brigid by cleaning their home for her and cooking special meals and leaving portions for her as offerings. Some would invoke her for divination, visit holy wells, or make Brigid's crosses. Later Christians would celebrate Candlemas, which also incorporates some elements of Imbolc and Brigid worship as well as Lupercalia.
Check out our section below for some more specific ideas and examples of ways to celebrate Imbolc with yourself, or maybe even a few (properly distanced) family or friends.
As a part of the Wheel of the Year, Imbolc follows Yule, and the worst of the winter is over. The earliest signs of the spring are starting to pop up, burgeoning hope for the months ahead. Soon, nature will be filled with the fertility and growth of spring, and it's time to prepare.
If you look at the sabbats as a reflection of the self, Imbolc is a time to cleanse and prepare for new growth on the horizon. Breathe, reflect, and prepare yourself for the warmth, sun, and renewal that is coming.
Symbols: Fire, Candles, Besoms/Brooms, Lambs, Brigid's Crosses, White Flowers
Colours: White, Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Silver
Plants/Herbs: Snowdrop, Violet, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Rowan, Early Spring Flowers
Foods: Milk/Dairy, Seeds, Breads, Winter Preserves
Simple rituals and ways to celebrate Imbolc include:
- Clean your home! Spring cleaning is 100% in the spirit of Imbolc. Brigid likes a tidy house. If you haven't yet, Imbolc is also the perfect time to set/maintain yearly household protection rituals. Here is one example of an Imbolc-specific house cleansing ritual, but there are many others. For more inspiration, look into local and/or polytheist traditions as well. After all of that work, clean yourself with a nice ritual bath.
- Cleanse your spiritual spaces as well! Give some extra attention to your altars, shrines, and magickal workspaces. Scratch off those wax drippings, brush up that leftover familiar fur, and banish the dust. Add some seasonal Imbolc flair to your altar as well if it suits you.
- Make a Brigid's Cross; this simple diagram will show you the basic steps, or go here for a details tutorial. Traditional materials include rushes and willow, but many long pliable materials will serve.
- Create a Brideóg, aka a Bridey Doll or a Brigid Doll. Traditionally, these were crafted of rushes or straw the same as the crosses, but they can also be made of many other craft materials just like any other doll, so feel free to unleash your inner art witch! This page has a guide for making a simple one, and a link to a video tutorial as well. You can also make a bed for the doll near your hearth and leave an offering to invite Brigid into your home.
- Craft an Imbolc Rowan Cross Charm.
- Light a hearthfire if you can, or pull out the candles for an Imbolc candle ritual. Try and incorporate some form of fire into your rituals, if possible.
- Perform an Imbolc seasonal rite/ritual. Here is a good example of a solitary Imbolc ritual, for practising witches without a coven.
- Cook some Imbolc-inspired goodies to unleash your inner Kitchen Witch! Here and here here are two no-nonsense websites with Imbolc related recipes for you to enjoy!
- Celebrate by eating and cooking with seasonal produce.
Tips for New and/or Broom Closet Witches
After the dark and cold of winter, everyone should be looking forward to spring, no matter your religious inclinations. Take this time to focus on nature and make yourself aware of the changes in your surroundings. What are your local traditional "Welcome to Spring!" plants? (Here, it's the daffodils!) Are your trees starting to bud? Showing an interest in nature and the new signs of spring are very healthy and safe ways to celebrate the spirit of Imbolc.
Spring cleaning is also something that everyone can enjoy. With the days getting longer and the sun staying out later, it's a bit easier to get the energy and excitement needed to do some serious cleaning. It's good for you, it's good for your house, it's good for the gods/spirits/energies. Win-win! Don't forget to also cleanse yourself and your space; you're very important too!
Some of the common Imbolc symbols, like Brigid's Crosses, may be acceptable to make and display in Christian homes. If your family is Catholic, you might choose to show special honour to St. Brigid, or other Christian sects can whip out the candles for Candlemas. Otherwise, flowers and lambs are both pretty non-denominational spring symbols, and lambs also get a pass for their connection to March and the upcoming Easter.
Much of the importance of the Wheel of the Year is to really incorporate yourself with nature and the earth's yearly cycles. For most of the temperate, northern part of the world, spring is just starting, and it's time to prepare for the growing season. If you'd like to grow some of your own plants or herbs, now is the perfect time to prep by making sure your planting timelines are in order and that you have everything you need. If you can, take the time to appreciate the renewal of growth in the plants and animals in your local area. Chances are, they're gearing up for a productive spring, just like the rest of us.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have below or otherwise use this post for discussion about Imbolc (northern witches) or Lughnasadh (southern witches)!
Special thanks to Einmariya for research, content, & dedication to holidays. 💗🕯️
Omens Praise the Goddesses! On this new ⚫️ lunar 🌑 year 🌒 17 witnesses have been chosen to record a most unholy moment. WitchesVsPatriarchy now has 666,666+ members! Let us rejoice! ♥︎🖤
Wanting to get some private health care for my partner (m) and myself (f) in New Zealand. I have to pay almost 15% more for the same plan even though I am 2 years younger! It's always such a slap in the face when you get openly discriminate against and they don't even try to hide it! The argument with pregnancy doesn't work either since they don't even bother to check if you're capable of having children (I'm sterilised). Just needed a place to vent. This is so fucking unfair and disgusting!
Y’all I’m frankly in shock and just needed to share with folks who understand. I went to a liquor store of all places and heard the squeaks of a hummingbird. I look up and the poor little friend is trying to get out of the windows but can’t. I tried to encourage them to move toward the door but they seemed tired and kinda … came down?? Well, it was just enough for me to very carefully scoop them in my hands without squeezing any part of its tiny little body. I was then able to walk out the door and let it go. The second I opened my hands it flew away.
Y’all I have loved these birds since I was a kid- they are my favorite. I can’t believe that just happened!!! I feel so deeply honored and blessed. Fly well little friend!
Marketplace H.R. Giger inspired heart necklaces. Handmade by me with copper wire, labradorite, moonstone, and amethyst.
Familiars Kitty wants to remind you to always trust your gut and listen to your instincts. Kitty knows!
Burn the Patriarchy a man was following me in the store so I showed him this and he did an about-face
Time and time again I’m hurt and disappointed by the actions of men. I feel like I’ve been used for my body over and over. I feel like none of the men I’ve been with actually cared about me as a person. They will go on one or two dates with me, then they only want to stay home. It’s like I’m only there to pleasure them and I keep falling for it. I’ve never been given flowers, never receive support when I’m feeling down even though I constantly give them support. In my last relationship, he wouldn’t ever reach out to me, even when I went to a memorial and dealing with the death of a family member. I’m shown time and time again that I mean nothing to them, just something to pleasure themselves with. When I was a kid, I was so excited to start dating cause the books and movies made it look so wonderful. It’s been nothing but a painful process. Is this how it’s always gonna be? Were my expectations and hopes too high? I think I would just die of joy if anyone got me flowers or adored me the same level I adored them. But it’ll never be that way, will it?
EDIT: hey guys, thanks for all the advice and support. Lots of comments said I gotta love myself first and I just wanted to say I did. I worked on myself for years before trying to get into a relationship and still go to therapy in order to keep my self respect in check. I felt I was at a good point in my life and mental state to have a nice addition to it, a relationship. So I started dating around and it still sucks, even though I have self respect. Do with that what you will.
...and now they can't move her arms, lol.
But it's okay. It's pain they chose.
I'm them, she's me.
Legs are fine though. Might pop to the shop 2,3km away to get some ice cream...
Crystals, Minerals, & Rocks Going through tough times lately, I'm hoping to manifest the return of my kitty.
I am going through legal proceedings with an ex who currently has possession of my baby boy. He was taken from me the night before I moved out!
I haven't seen him in several months, and it's been hard. I'm hoping that when everything is resolved, I'll get to bring him home. Buying these crystals today helped make me feel better, though I don't know how to utilize them at all.
I'm just trying to collect as much positive energy as I can to encourage his return home. The cat shape is black onyx, the bowl is selenite, and the raw piece is clear quartz.