Imbolc, the Feast of Brigid, is part of an Introductory Course in Wicca for incarcerated Wiccans, their families and friends, and prison Chaplains. It has been written to provide a greater understanding of Wicca as a spiritual practice and religion for those who seek to understand it, either as an incarcerated Wiccan or as someone who cares about incarcerated Wiccans.
Imbolc is celebrated on February 2nd, and is the Cross Quarter day that falls between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Following the theme and symbolism of Yule, by Imbolc the days are noticeably longer and signs that Winter is loosening its grip can be seen. The first shoots are pushing through the soil. The birth of the first lambs is upon us, and the ewes are beginning to lactate, which makes sense, given that Imbolc is the season of milk (“Imbolc” means “in milk”). It is a celebration of the Goddess giving nurture to her newborn Son/Sun, a time for celebrating the Goddess as a bringer of fertility.
Imbolc, also known as the Feast of Brigid, Candlemas, and recently, Groundhog’s Day, has been long associated with a festival of milking. The goddess Bridid is midwife to Spring, the divine woman who breathes her fiery breath upon the Earth to awaken it. Her role extends to enabling new projects, and many Wiccans plant seeds and bulbs at this time to represent areas in our lives that we wish to nurture and grow.
Brigid is a goddess of healing, inspiration of poets and patron of blacksmiths and metalworkers. She is a goddess of inspiration and action. As patron to metalworkers (similar to the African orisha Oggun), she is the key to turning raw materials into useful and beautifiul things, a goddess of transformation. At Imbolc, a time of renewal, we celebrate changes around and within us, and renew our commitment to making the world a better place. We honor the spark of divine creativity within us and raise healing energy.