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Beeswax candles glowing in the window. Milk and honey set on the altar. A brisk walk to collect some of nature’s treasures… celebrating imbolc is a beautiful festivity to honor the return of longer, lighter days.
As mother nature reawakens and the winter cold starts formulating thoughts of departure, the celebration of Imbolc marks the halfway point between winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara).
I can’t wait to share with you my favorite Imbolc rituals and all the details regarding this humble, age-old holiday.
Grab a cup of cacao and let’s dive into the complete imbolc ritual guide.
What is Imbolc?
Imbolc is an ancient Celtic holiday that is celebrated today within many different belief systems.
Pagans, Christians, Wiccans, Neo-Druids and Witchy friends alike (hi!) all have marked this day as symbolic for various reasons. The common thread is tied around the marking of spring’s return, celebrating more light and longer days, and honoring the goddess Brigid which we will get further into below.
As the halfway point between winter solstice (Yule) and spring equinox (Ostara), Imboc is a beautiful time to celebrate the reawakening of the earth and the magic of new beginnings.
Reap in the rich energy of excitement and renewal as you celebrate Imbolc and the changing of the seasons. Cheers to the abundance of spring on its way!
You May Also Like: 2023 Spring Equinox Ritual Guide: How to Celebrate Ostara
Where does the word Imbolc come from?
The word Imbolc is an old Irish term that refers to a ritual cleansing of the self, tying into the celebration we know today that invites us to cleanse away the dust of winter and make way for our new year’s intentions to bloom.
You may also like: 13 Rituals for New Years: Manifest Prosperity in the New Year
In a more literal sense, Imbolc is also known as Imbolg (modern Irish) which means “in the belly.” This refers to the pregnancy of ewes and birth of new lambs, further emphasizing the symbolism of the new beginnings that spring offers.
Another name for Imbolc is Oimelc which means the time that sheep’s milk comes or the beginning of spring.
It is also known as Brigid’s Day, Candelmas, Oimelc, and the Feast of Waxing Light.
When is Imbolc celebrated?
Imbolc is usually celebrated around February 1st- February 2nd, which is typically the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox.
Who is Brigid and why is she associated with Imbolc?
Brigid is the ancient Celtic goddess associated with fertility, healing, creativity and the hearth. Many honor Brigid for being a triple goddess as she embodies the three aspects of a woman’s journey- the maiden, the mother and the crone.
Since she’s known for bringing warmth, abundance, new life and new energy, it makes sense she is honored at Imbolc. At a time when spring is beginning to pierce through the dark of winter, you can call on Brigid for warmth, protection, hope and renewal.
Where does Imbolc originate from?
In the ancient Celtic world (before christianity arrived in Ireland) Imbolc was first celebrated to honor the manifestation of life after a long, dark winter in the north. As baby lambs were born and early plants bustled through the snow, the Celts began to honor Brigid for the blessings she delivered.
Can anyone celebrate Imbolc?
Yes! Celebrating Imbolc is not a closed practice. Anyone who wishes to live in tune with the cycles of nature can partake. Imbolc is celebrated by many different cultures and beliefs, so adding its celebration to your life is not taboo or inappropriate.
I do suggest further research into its roots and the religions that do honor this special day, so that you can be more embodied in your spiritual practice.
That being said, you don’t have to practice a certain religion or belong to any regulated set of beliefs in order to celebrate Imbolc. If you’re happy about the return of spring and the longer days it brings us- happy Imbolc to you!
And remember, there isn’t any one correct way to celebrate Imbolc. You can do a few rituals (plenty of ideas for those below!), gather around the bonfire with friends and family, or just take a moment to reflect upon the changing of seasons.
As long as it aligns with your heart, enjoy this day.
20 Imbolc Ritual Ideas
1. Imbolc Cacao Ritual
One of my favorite tried and true ritual friends is ceremonial cacao. It’s a wonderful plant medicine that helps to open your heart and bring you to the present moment- often accompanied by a burst of inspiration.
To have your own Imbolc cacao ritual, make yourself a cup of ceremonial cacao (instructions can be found here).
Be sure to charge your cacao with the magic of Imbolc by stirring your intentions into the cup as you prepare it. Focus on the energy of renewal, the changing of seasons and call on the goddess Brigid, if that resonates with you.
I recommend this Heart of the Earth Ceremonial Cacao. It is my go-to for ritual use and you can get a discount using code BLOOM.
2. Candle Ritual: Anoint, Dress, Light
- Using a candle of your choice (I like to use chime candles like these for my rituals), anoint the candle with Imbolc inspired oils. I recommend frankincense, myrrh, clove and/or cinnamon.
Frankincense brings protection and purification, while myrrh is used to honor the divine feminine. Clove and cinnamon are both warming and energizing oils, perfect for the intention of welcoming back more sun and brighter days.
2. Sprinkle Imbolc inspired herbs like rosemary, bay leaf, angelica, hyssop, or white sage around the candle. These herbs have various associations, such as purification, protection, and fertility.
3. Light your Imbolc ritual candle and focus on what you’re looking forward to with the coming arrival of spring.
4. Enjoy a moment of gratitude.
3. Create an Imbolc Altar
Create an altar dedicated to Imbolc. This can be a small corner of your home or even on a windowsill. Decorate your altar with things that symbolize the coming of spring or the goddess Brigid. I’ve included some Imbolc altar decor ideas below:
Imbolc Altar Decor Ideas
- Symbols of light or the sun. I love beeswax candles for this.
- Symbols of renewal, rebirth and purification: a white candle, a glass of water, a mini broom or even the seeds you plan to sow in your garden.
- Items that symbolize the end of winter and the coming of spring, such as snowflakes, sun symbols, lambs, or a sheaf of wheat.
- Greenery is always a beautiful way to decorate your altar. You can use fallen pine branches or evergreen boughs.
- Stones, crystals and minerals to represent the elements of nature: sunstone, citrine, selenite, clear quartz.
- A bowl of milk, honey, or other offerings to honor the gods and goddesses, specifically Brigid if you’re going the traditional Celtic route.
- Any Imbolc inspired herbs: rosemary, bay leaf, angelica, hyssop, white sage.
- Road opener oil
4. Create Your Own Cleansing Herb Bundle
Use your own locally harvested rosemary, sage, bay or other greenery to bundle up into a smoke cleansing stick. Trim and arrange your herbs then bundle them together with string. Allow your bundle to dry out (may take upwards of a week) then use to spiritually cleanse yourself or your home. It will be ripe with the renewal energy of Imbolc!
5. Bring Your Shadows to Light
Imbolc is a great time to focus on the things that have been hibernating within you all winter. This can be things you’ve been wanting to change, things you’ve been wanting to accomplish or things you’ve been wanting to heal. Maybe get out your favorite journal and write down the things you would like to shift as you enter the season of spring.
I have a full shadow work guide here if you’d like to dive deeper.
6. Burn a Bay Leaf
One of my favorite rituals is the burning of bay leaf. This can be used for release, for manifestation and even for cleansing. I have a whole post on this here, but as an imbolc ritual you can simply write down your intention for spring, then burn the bay leaf in a fire safe bowl or cauldron, like this cute one with moons on it.
7. Reflect on Your Manifestation Journey
Reflection is an easy ritual that you can take part of as part of your imbolc celebration. Maybe get out your favorite journal and look back on the things you’ve been wanting to manifest. Ask yourself: do I still want to manifest this/these? Is there anything on my heart that I would rather put my energy towards?
8. Ponder on What You’d Like to See Bloom in Spring
Imbolc is the perfect time to work on setting your intentions. This can be connected to your new years resolutions or simply the focus of what you’d like to see “bloom” come spring. Is there anything you’re working on that you’d like to see complete by spring time? Is there anything you’re calling in that you feel could arrive by spring?
9. Make a Manifestation Box
I have a whole article on this here, but as part of your imbolc ritual and celebration, making a manifestation box can be lots of fun. Fill your box with things that represent spring and everything you’d like to see come to fruition.
You may also like: How to Create a Manifestation Box
10. Make Brigid’s Cross
Making Brigid’s Cross is a Celtic tradition that involves the weaving of rushes, reed or straw into a cross. These are said to keep evil, fire and hunger from the home where it’s displayed.
They also beautifully symbolize the middle point between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara).
Here’s an article explaining how to make one: How to Make Brigids Cross for Imbolc
11. Tarot Spread with Guardian of the Night Tarot
Doing a tarot spread ritual for Imbolc is a great way to identify what you may want to release and what you may want to call in for the spring. I like to use my Guardian of the Night tarot deck since it captures elements of nature and finding the light in darkness, beautifully. You can order one on amazon here: Guardian of the Night Tarot Deck
Imbolc Tarot Spread Questions
As winter ends, what do I need to focus on releasing?
As I welcome spring time, what do I need to focus on calling in?
What areas of my life should I focus on planting seeds?
What does this spring hold for me if I stay aligned with my goals?
12. Declutter and Cleanse Your Home
Many like to use the energy of Imbolc to get a jump start on their spring cleaning. Focus on dusting, decluttering, and giving your home a deep cleanse. I like to mop the floors with florida water and spruce essential oil.
13. Nature Walk
If weather permits, take some time to go for a walk outside. Observe signs of spring coming and winter leaving. Maybe even take some time to collect natural treasures to put on your altar or decorate your home with. Be sure to observe the sun and its movement while you’re out there!
14. Light a Candle in Every Room
Another traditional way to celebrate Imbolc is by lighting a candle in every room of the home. This is to signify the light of the sun returning and to welcome in the longer days of spring. You can also just light one in the center of your home for the same effect.
Imbolc Candle recommendations
15. Arts and Crafts to Honor Brigid
Some ideas of arts and craft to make in honor of goddess Brigid are:
- Making candles (check out this cute beeswax candle making kit by my friend Jessy at Weave in Wonder)
- Drawing or painting flowers
- Drawing or painting spring things
- Make Brigid’s cross (above)
When finished you can place them on your altar or use them to decorate the house.
16. Plant seeds in paper cups and place them around the home to represent the growth of the season
Let your seedlings begin as you prepare for the coming of spring. Getting your seeds started, indoors, is a great way to begin celebrating the season of spring.
17. Make a blessing wreath
Use evergreens or other treasures from nature to make a beautiful wreath. Hang your wreath as a blessing over the home and over your family.
18. Perform a cleansing ritual with sage, rosemary, and bay.
As we clear away the dust of winter, a cleansing ritual is a great way to celebrate Imbolc. Spiritually cleansing yourself is a great way to make space for new beginnings and new blessings to arrive with the coming of spring.
RELATED: Energy Cleansing for Empaths
19. Make a bonfire and give thanks for the Sun’s warmth and light
Invite friends and family to gather around a bonfire in the yard. Enjoy good eats and drinks together as you give thanks to the sun for its warmth and light.
20. Write a Future Script for Spring Equinox
I like to use my luscious Magic of I Lined Journal for scripting. To do this as an Imbolc ritual, take a moment ot think about where you would like to be at by the spring equinox. Once you have your desired reality envisioned, write it down in your journal in the present tense (as if you’re already experiencing it). Example: “I am so grateful that I officially have (blank).” Get in to detail with it!
I hope these Imbolc ritual ideas help inspire you to celebrate Imbolc in the most magical and personal way.
Remember to follow your heart and make each ritual special to you and what inspires joy within.
How are you celebrating Imbolc? I’d love to hear about your rituals! Comment below or let me know inside of the Bloom and Manifest Facebook Group.