Imbolic or Candlemas– February 1
It is the first spring rite. As winter wanes, the cycle again turns to fertility and the harvest. Traditionally it is the time for planning the next season’s crops and for the birthing of livestock. Imbolic means belly of the mother, which is a description of the females who are heavy and full with the unborn generation. Traditionally this time of year, the domestic animals have either given birth or are preparing to do so. However, in modern life with most people no longer tied as closely to the land, it has become a time of researching the year’s projects and planning for the future.
For some Wiccans and Pagans it is a time for rededications, making pledges and restating vows not only to the Divine, but also to themselves. Just as the livestock have given birth to new life,
so do many see this as a time for changing their life path and redirecting their energy. Vows and promises made at this time carry more weight and stronger penalties if broken.
This festival also honors the fire Goddess, Bridget. Also called the three Mothers, Bridget represents the maiden, mother, crone equally. She is said to walk the earth on Imbolic and bless clothing left out in her name. As a fire Goddess, she is honored with the lighting of candles, special hearth fires, and outdoor bonfires.
When Christians adopted Bridget as one of their saints, they continued to honor her on February 1. Known for her charity and justice, Saint Bridget was the most popular among the Sainted Pagan deities.