Groundhog day approaches, and we will be halfway through the winter as we await Spring’s impending return! This ancient festival, Celtic in origin, is considered one of the greater sabbats. This celebration marks the early signs of spring and the lengthening of days. The lighting of fire and candles represent the return of the sun. We honor the Goddess as the waiting bride of the returning sun God. Other names for this time are: St. Bridget’s Day, Candlemas, Candlelaria, the Snowdrop Festival, the Festival of Lights or the Feast of the Virgin. During this celebration we honor the goddess Brigid.
- Imbolc herbs: Angelica, Basil, Bay, Benzoin, Blackberry
- Imbolc colors: White, pale yellow and silver
- Imbolc offerings: Beer
- Imbolc is a time to honor Bast, Brighid,Cerridwen.
To celebrate Imbolc you should set your alter with white candles. Decorate with holly, nuts fruit and a small bowl of wheat berries. Place three ears of corn on the door as a symbol of the Triple Goddess and leave until Ostara. Cleanse the area where you do reading with a censor burning rosemary or vervain, and say:
“By the power of this smoke I wash away the negative influences that this
place be cleansed for the Lady and her babe.”
Cleanse the alter and tools. Do a self-purification rite with the elemental tools representing earth (salt) for body, air (incense) for thoughts, fire (candle flame) for will, and water (water) for emotions.
Leave a ribbon outside before going to bed for Brigid to bless. This is an excellent time for divination.
Here is a simple ritual for Imbolc:
After casting your circle, say a blessing such as:
Blessed be the earth, and all who dwell upon it.
We give thanks for the season now departing from us.
For the blessings it has bestowed upon us,
And upon those with whom we share this world.
Blessed be the new season.
We pray that it will be a time filled with peace,
With abundance, with prosperity,
Blessed be all who share this feast.
Let us now prepare for the time ahead
By opening our hearts, and our minds, and our spirits.
Thank your Deities, say goodbye to the darkness of winter and welcome the coming of the sun and new life. Lay your wand or crystal point on the bowl of wheat and acknowledge and welcome the cycle of death and birth and the continuous turning of the wheel. Sing, chant, make music or meditate at this point, whatever method you choose to bring your psychic ability to a higher level. When ready, use your diving tools for your enlightenment. When you feel
your ritual is complete, thank your Deities again for all you have and close with the cakes and wine ceremony.
Now, on to the feast! Traditional winter foods such as ham, root vegetables, fresh crusty breads and winter fruits like apples and pears should be served. Food should be plentiful! Mead, ale, spiced wine would all be appropriate
By Patrick McCleary
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 tbsp. milk or unsweetened/plain soy milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups chopped cabbage or kale
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 tbsp. margarine or butter, for frying
Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender (at least 20 minutes); drain, reserving water.
Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add chopped cabbage to the reserved potato water. Cook 6-8 minutes or until tender.
Mash potates with a hand masher. Add milk, salt and pepper and beat until fluffy.
Imbolc Feast Lamb Stew
2- 1/2 lb. lamb neck chops
1 tbs. lamb fat
4 medium onions
1 tbs. butter/margarine
4 medium carrots
2 1/2 cups water
4 medium potatoes
1 tbs. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 tbs. chives, chopped
Don’t let the butcher trim the fat off of the lamb chops. Shred some of the excess fat and cook it down in a large pot or Dutch-oven. Peel the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cut the onions and carrots into quarters, and put all the vegetables aside. Cut the meat into eight pieces, and trim away the rest of the excess fat. The bones need not be removed. Place the meat in the hot fat and brown. Repeat with the onions and carrots. Add water, salt, and pepper carefully. Put whole potatoes on top. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat is cooked, approx. 2 hours. Remove from heat. Pour off the cooking liquid into a separate sauce pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, skim off grease, and reheat. Add butter, chives, and parsley to the reheated liquid in the sauce pan. Pour heated liquid back over the stew. Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.
3 C. milk
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 350.
Combine all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and blend for about 15 seconds, or until well mixed.
Pour custard mix into ramekins or custard cups.
Place the ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with hot water up to a depth of about 3/4″.
Bake the custards for one hour.