Imbolc falls on February 1st every year. Whether you celebrate it on the eve or the February 1st may depend on your personal preference or your religious affiliations. Many Wiccan folks use this calendar as a template for their regular spiritual practices. These practices are referred to as Sabbats. Imbolc heralds the beginning of Spring. This promise of budding green can bring delights to gardeners and earth-lovers alike.
The Celtic Calendar or the wheel of the year is celebrated by earth-based spirituality practitioners, Wiccans and other pagans. It is eight holidays that occur every six weeks. There are conversations about when this calendar begins. Since this calendar is a circle or better said a spiral then there is no obvious start or end. Many folks feel as though Imbolc can be the beginning of the wheel, since it can coincide with the first full Moon of the year. The Celtic Calendar holidays are Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lammas, Fall Equinox, Samhain and Winter Solstice. Some of these holidays have multiple names, which can be influenced by their cultural origin. There are many ways to engage with the wheel of the year.
Inbolc is a static holiday as it is always celebrated on Feb 1st, although people use the astrological date but the vast majority do not use this system. The reason that someone might use the astrological date because this is the precise time when we are midway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. This year (2023) astrological Imbolc is on Feb 5th. This is calculated as the sun at 15 degrees Aquarius. I like to encourage people to celebrate when it works best for them. Experiencing this holiday is the most important task. Sometimes we get caught up in perfection and it gets in the way of actually living with the seasons in a mindful way. So if its more convenient for you to celebrate on the weekend after Imbolc- go for it!
Here are few things to consider as you are creating your Imbolc celebrations. This list is not exhaustive but a list of suggestions and a starting place for your own creativity.
Energy of the season- Reawakening, emerging green, rebirth, promise of Spring
Colors- white, green and rose
Crystal- citrine, green tourmaline, rose quartz, ruby, garnet, hematite.
Herbs-chamomile, rose hips, Sage, honey
Crafts- Brigid’s Cross, Fire Starters, Dough Candle holders, Seed catalogue prep, Seed starts, if it is appropriate for your climate.
I like to use food as a way to celebrate these holidays. So I create a sample menu for your Imbolc Feast! I like to have a candle light dinner for Imbolc, honoring that we are still in the dark part of the year, looking toward the light.
Whole Milk or coconut milk Chai
Salad with sprouted seeds
Asparagus with herbed butter
Pork Chops/ Marinated Tofu
Creating a candle lit dinner also helps our brains know that we are experiencing a special moment. The combination of special foods, candles and maybe even sitting at a dinner table together, helps us feel as though we are experiencing a special moment. This combined with a themed altar, making crafts and a ritual, makes for a pagan or seasonal celebration.
These celebrations can be simple. You can just make a special dinner or you can make a day of it and create crafts, redress your altar, wear crystals that reflect the season, make tea from the herbs of the season. You can do one of these things or all of these things. My biggest suggestion is to just do something. Many pagans have spent years reading about how to create a perfect ritual or holiday festival but do not actually create the event, often becasue they have gathered so much information that it is overwhelming to know where to start. So just start somewhere. Do one small thing this year to honor the season. And let that be enough!
Karin Olsen is a healer, a seer and a teacher. Her experience includes studying plants for more than 20 years, owning an herb shop and metaphysical store for 15 years. She has been a massage therapist for over 25 years. Karin learned her psychic medium skills from her mother and sees clients via zoom. She teaches classes on earth-based spirituality through Moonhill Mystery School in the Salish Sea area. In 2021 she earned a Master of Ecopsychology from Naropa University. www,moonhillmysteryschool.com to learn more about her classes and events.