The Imbolc period on the Wheel of the Year, is about halfway between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox. Obviously, the the start of the Imbolc season is the second period in the Wiccan calendar. Therefore the date is usually around the 1st of February.**
** This date is for the northern hemisphere of course. So, for the southern hemisphere, Imbolc is 6 months forward on the calendar.
The Winter is almost coming of the end now, so we begin to see rebirth taking place in many ways. For example, some animals may start to wake from hibernation. We may also see new plant growth and buds opening. Although this may be true in some areas, some may still be experiencing cold which slows the process. Nonetheless, we can all see the days getting longer. With this in mind, there is much expectation, a time of excitement and more awareness.
God (the Sun) was born weeks ago and the Goddess (Earth) is beginning to prepare herself for her new role once again. Therefore, we have all got through the dark, cold season together and we all have a role to play.
First, we must cleanse ourselves from any negative energy that may dominate after months of inactivity and darkness. Think of this as a time for self-purification. Witches may also use this period for renewing pledges and planning for the year ahead. They may also lay out their tools in the stronger sunlight for extra cleansing.
Wiccans should obviously thank the Goddess and God for the lighter days and the rebirth in the cycle of life. However, there are many more things you may thank them for.
Your altar should have decorations from the new growth, for example, early flowering bulbs and plants. Of course, yellow and red candles will also be appropriate too.
The Imbolc period allows for new life ahead, therefore, initiations into covens is normal practice. However, self-dedication into the Wicca religion as a solitary Witch is also the norm at this time. Initiation into a coven has specific rituals but self-dedication can involve your own initiation process.
Abundance will come soon, so feasting is normal at this time of year. It is also the fertility period. After all, this is the season that we associate with new life.
Celtic Pagans dedicate this period to the Goddess Brigid who comes from pre-Christian Ireland. But all Pagans can participate in this celebration too. We associate Brigid or Brigit with fertility and healing. However, her association with poetry allows us to be a little more creative in this area. So, present your poetry at Imbolc if you created any throughout the year.
Also make good use of Brigid’s Cross (below) and consider a Brigid corn doll. Since Brigid comes from the pre-Christian period, you are likely to see Christian symbols too. This is fine as there were many mergers as Christians adopted to Pagan ways and vice versa.
By Culnacreann – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3500722