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Seasonal Inspiration
by Bebhinn
Imbolc 2002, Vol 1-2
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young lambs sucklingInitiation & New Beginnings

Imbolc is about many things, but for now I'm thinking about the fresh starts and new commitments we make at this season. Within Wiccan tradition, Imbolc is the holiday of initiation. Many covens and groups initiate new members on Imbolc or initiate people into their tradition. Often, groups formalize their commitment at this time with a covening.

The word Imbolc itself comes from Irish Gaelic and means “first milk”. It is the time when pregnant ewes begin to lactate. I am especially looking forward to this year's holiday as my mom recently added four pregnant ewes to her little farm and they will be giving birth right around this time.

candlesImbolc is also known as Candlemas, Brigit and Groundhog’s day. In Ireland the holiday heralds the first signs of Spring. Here in the Midwestern United States, it is not always so. Sometimes Spring begins around the beginning of February but more often than not it lasts a good six weeks longer. This seasonal variation is how Groundhog’s day got started.

With its connection to the Catholic holiday of Candlemas, we generally celebrate Imbolc with lots of white candles. White is also the traditional color to wear and with which to decorate an altar or temple. White symbolizes a fresh start, innocence (the fool’s journey) and purity.

Imbolc is an excellent time to commit yourself to a major life project. What you begin at Imbolc has a complete solar cycle (one year) to grow and manifest, so go for something big.

Graphics Credits
very young lambs, Ian Britton,
candles, Ian Britton,