Imbolc is one of the oldest celebrations known in the pagan world. It is a celebration of spring, a time of welcoming the return of the Sun God, the first celebration of the new year and a time to pay homage to the Goddess Brigid. It unfortunately was hijacked, like all good pagan holidays, by the Christian church. Imbolc is traditionally celebrated on February 1st or 2nd depending on what part of the world you find yourself in. Imbolc was a time for divination, feasting, and visiting sacred wells.
This ritual is an outdoor version, dress warm and enjoy!
What you’ll need to prepare for this ritual (as written)
Quarter Candles (4 total) in these colors – Red (South,) Yellow (East,) Green (North,) and Blue (West)
Goddess Candle – Large White Candle (I use a three wick candle for the Goddess) Parchment and pencils for everyone
God Candle – Yellow or “sun” colored
Small candles for all participants
Gold taper candle
Goblet or ceremonial cup
Winter greens (pine, mistletoe, etc.)
Bonfire or fire circle
Any portion of the ritual that is bracketed with <> refers to instructions and should not be spoken aloud.
<Opening Statement – A call to action for the participants to stop talking, gather, and prepare to begin the ritual>
“Let it be known from the skies above to the land below that this sacred circle is about to be cast – a sphere of trust, safety, and absent of any judgment”
Join Us as we Call the Quarters
AIR elementals – we call upon you this night to purify our thoughts and help us to rise above the pettiness of everyday life and focus upon growth and understanding <light yellow candle>
FIRE elementals – we call upon you this night to infuse us with cleansing fire so that we may burn away negative thoughts and negative energies that seek to harm us <light red candle>
WATER elementals – we call upon you this night to immerse us in a cocoon of protection, shielding us from the pollution of criticism, competition, and corruption <light blue candle>
EARTH elementals, we call upon you this night to safeguard the lands and prepare the soil for the planting season ahead <light green candle>
Tonight we gather to celebrate on this, the first of the four great fire festivals – on this night, when the Goddess once again transforms herself; this time from Crone to Maiden to usher in springtime <light goddess candle>
Hail Great Goddess and Welcome!
As the grips of winter still hold tight upon the land we should fear not, for the Lord of the Sun, the Great Horned One, guardian of animals and the wild places is now reborn <light god candle>
Hail Great God and Welcome!
Tonight we stand together as one community to celebrate; a ritual worthy of those performed by our ancestors over a thousand years ago. This night divides the dark half of the year and was widely celebrated across the ancient lands, dating back to the Neolithic period. Imbolc, quite simply, is the time to give thanks for the coming of spring and the departure of winter. On this night, we understand that the old Crone will leave this world and be replaced by the youthful Maiden, just as the spring replaces the bleakness of winter. It is also a time to bless the seeds and tools that will be used to plant the spring crops.
Imbolc is also called Brigid’s Day; as the ancients Celts would celebrate the Goddess, Brigid. This deity was known for many attributes and many gathered here likely find a safe-haven in her protective mantle. She is the Goddess of Inspiration (Poetry, Creativity, the Arts, and Prophecy,) The Goddess of Healing (healers, medicine women, medicine, spiritual healing, and fertility,) and the Goddess of Smithcraft (blacksmiths, metalsmiths, forgers, and designers.)
<distribute candles to all participants>
On this night long ago, candles were lit and placed in every window of every home to honor the rebirth of the sun, home hearth fires would have been extinguished and then relit, and sacred besoms would be placed by the home entrance to symbolize the sweeping out of the remnants of winter and welcoming in the coming spring. As the sun God gathered his strength from the light, he would start to grow – those who payed homage would be rewarded with an abundant amount of sunlight and a bountiful harvest in the fall.
Behold! I present you with the sacred flame of the Sun God – a fire which burns bright, eternal, and without inhibition. This light is symbolic of the candles our ancestors lit to welcome back the Sun God and to provide him with energy from its light. Come forth! Partake of this great illumination if you wish!
<Light Sun God taper candle (gold) from the God candle on the altar and offer the flame to participants to light their candles>
On this Imbolc night,
this sacred flame burns upon my hearth,
This light of renewal now resides in my soul,
and the souls of all who gather here
As we honor the Great Sun God’s return
we carry neither envy nor malice,
neither hatred nor fear,
or negative actions which may smother this flame
This precious spark serves to remind us,
that fire is part of life
as is the water, the air, and the earth
and the great turning wheel
Releasing the Winter & Welcoming the Spring
This night is the beginning of the Purification; the time of cleansing and shedding of the old to leave spaces that can be filled with the new; the sheltered life of winter shall be eradicated through the renewing power of the Sun.
We remove the last of the Yuletide Greens from our homes and burn them in the sacred fire as an offering to the Goddess. This moment symbolically marks the eve of spring cleaning, when we begin the removal of clutter and stowage from the winter and make way for the growing power of the sun to penetrate every corner and crevice of the home. We use the smoke to purify ourselves and release that which no longer serves us.
<Pass out greens and have everyone participate in the Burning of the greens – have everyone wave the smoke upon their body as they would do with sage>
As we now stand with an abundance of empty lines and spaces within ourselves, we look forward to the gifts of fulfillment and to the wisdom found in the ancient practices of honoring the Goddess Brigid. We move forward with milk, with grain, and with seed – may they help us to focus on cleansing our spiritual life much as we prepare to cleanse our homes and hearth
Milk <from your goblet>
May Brigid bless you with her love and adoration this coming year – we honor the Goddess with milk, the very drink which she sustained herself with during her childhood, given to her by the sacred cow – we offer libations and salutations to Brigid and all she represents <pour into the fire>
May Brigid’s light guide your pathways during this coming year – this grain represents the many blessings we have been afforded by the Goddess in the past year; the strength we’ve gathered, the challenges we’ve overcame, and the fullness that allows us to go through life with a nourished spirit <sprinkle grain in fire>
This seed represents the annual cycle of rebirth, a fresh start to our lives and the positive thoughts of potential for all that we do. Such as the seed starts out small and develops into something amazing, we consume it to allow that potential to develop deep within our very soul, awaiting the amazement which it will produce in the future in our lives. <add to fire>
Once again come forth, but this time to fill your empty spaces with goodness and renewal – preparing for the next turn of the wheel and the coming spring <have everyone partake again in the smoke>
And not to be forgotten, we honor this great fire- it is our reminder that the sun has returned and with it warmer days and the emergence of green shoots, new leaves, and abundance. Carry the sight of this sacred light as you leave the circle – but more importantly, keep the fire burning within your soul and the souls of everyone you meet. Heal yourself with its light, share it respectfully with others, and never forget it’s mighty power to invoke change.
Closing the circle
Earth elementals, we are honored by your attendance in our circle – we shall soon kneel upon your rich soil to plant our seeds <extinguish green candle>
Water elementals, we are honored by your attendance in our circle – we look skyward in anticipation of the coming rains of springtime <extinguish blue candle>
Fire elementals, we are honored by your attendance in our circle – we have witnessed the power of your cleansing flames and spiritual purification <extinguish red candle>
Air elementals, we are honored by your attendance in our circle – we open our doors and invite you in to clear the corners from the darkness of winter <extinguish yellow candle>
Great God – we shout a vibrant HAIL! In celebration for your return! Thank You for your presence tonight! <extinguish God candle>
Great Goddess – She who provides us with everything, gives guidance, and opens our eyes to the path which each of us must follow – Thank you for your presence tonight! <extinguish Goddess candle>
“This Imbolc circle is open yet never broken”