Imbolc and the Goddess Brighid
Imbolc is one of the old eightfold festivals that start the seasons and is generally celebrated on February 2nd, although some prefer to celebrate from sunset on the 31st of January through to sunset on 2nd February. It is celebrated on the 31st of July in the Southern Hemisphere.
Imbolc marks the time when Winter begins to loosen its grip on the earth and is a celebration of the coming of Spring.
The Goddess Brighid (pronounced Bree-eed) is invoked at Imbolc. Associated with wells, springs, snakes and mounds, Brighid is a popular Goddess. She is a healer and the protector of animals, women and children and is beloved by artists and poets and anyone who creates objects of beauty. A fire deity, connected to the Sun and linked with Archangel Michael, her flower is the dandelion in its bright yellow phase. Her sacred flame was tended at her healing well in Kildare, Ireland by nineteen priestesses but like many other Goddesses she became Christianized and is venerated as St Brigid. Call on Brighid for help with living and expressing your truth, inspiration, protection and attaining wisdom.
A common practice is to invoke Brighid for her healing and wisdom on the eve of February 1st and to put out baked goods on the doorstep. Another common practice is cleaning the home (both physically and spiritually) and lighting many white candles to celebrate the strengthening of the Sun. Another way to honour Brighid and/or celebrate Imbolc is to cook traditional foods like apples, bread, milk and oats.
Gallagher, Ann-Marie, Way Of The Goddess. Thorsons. 2002.