9 Ways to Celebrate Imbolc in 2023

As the Wheel of the Year turns, so too the seasons. Originally celebrated in pre-Christian Ireland, the ancient Celctic celebration of Imbolc marked the midpoint between Yule (Winter Solstice) and Ostara (Spring Equinox). Days are getting longer, Winter is passing, and Spring is right around the corner.

Imbolc (pronounced im-bolk or im-bolg) celebrated February 1st-2nd (or July 31st if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) has other correspondences outside of the seasons change. So how does one participate in observing Imbolc in 2023? Here are nine ways in which you can celebrate the Sabbat!

Imbolc 2023

There’s a reason why I always start with an altar – of all the things you can do to celebrate a Sabbat, gathering corresponding herbs, flowers, foods, colors, etc. in one place concentrates the essence of the Sabbat. So what do we collect and curate for Imbolc?

First things first, always clean and cleanse your altar space before setting up anything new. Remove any current altar items and cloths, wipe it down with Florida Water or another botanical cleansing agent, and give it a quick sweep with your besom to clear out any remaining energetic residue.

Now with a clean slate, we can begin to build an altar for Imbolc. As it is alternatively named Candlemas, candles are most definitely appropriate. Take it a step further by choosing candle colors in white, green, lavender, yellow, orange, or red.

Other items you can include:

  • Crystals: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Onyx, Ruby, Selenite, Turquoise
  • Incense + Oils: Basil, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Lotus, Myrrh, Vanilla, Wisteria
  • Animals: Bears, Ewes, Groundhogs, Lambs, Owls, Robins, Stags, Swans
  • Food: Bread, Cheese, Garlic, Honey, Milk, Raisins, Seeds, Spice Cake
  • Botanicals: Angelica, Basil, Bay, Chamomile, Crocus, Daffodil, Dill, Ginger, Myrrh, Rosemary, Snowdrops

As always, this is YOUR craft and YOUR magick. Tune into what your intuition tells you and decorate accordingly!

Imbolc 2023

Now it may seem too early to some to start spring cleaning, but Imbolc traditionally marks the first day of spring. Along with the themes of rebirth and renewal, Imbolc also symbolizes cleansing. I recommend a deep physical clean and energetic cleanse of all spaces in the home, very much in the vein of ‘out with the old, and in with the new!’


Home and hearth is central to the celebration of Imbolc. As such, this is a fantastic way to celebrate the Sabbat by showing where you lay your head a bit of TLC. And if the idea of spring cleaning is too overwhelming, shrink it down and focus your efforts to one room, one corner, one project – whatever is doable for you. Any other ways you may be celebrating can be carried out where you did your cleaning, which in turn reinforces your efforts.

Imbolc 2023

Just as the place we call home needs periodic cleaning and cleansing, so too our vessel. The theme of purification is a big one for Imbolc – and rightly so. Yesteryear wasn’t so hip to our modern methods of sanitizing. As such, winter brought with it a rash of disease, easily spread, and the aim for the masses to eradicate.

The traditions of Imbolc count among them visiting holy wells. It was believed that these waters would purify visitors and in turn, combat illness and provide a clean slate ready to receive blessings. Celebrate the Sabbat by trading in the holy wells for your bathtub. Concoct a salt bath for yourself to soak in, cleanse, and purify. Salt baths work best with added corresponding herbs to seal in any intentions you may have for the coming season.

Imbolc 2023

Now that you’ve cleaned and cleansed your home and yourself, choosing how you’d like your fresh space to look and feel is perfect for this Sabbat! Choose a new color palette, hang different paintings, change out those throw pillows, etc.

Remember, if you aren’t able to invest any money in decorations and the like, rearranging your living areas is the cheapest way to bring in a sense of new. You can take this a step further by reading up on some Feng Shui techniques and try your hand at employing them.

Imbolc 2023

Some of you may be asking, “Brigid who exactly?” Pronounced Breed or Breej by the Celts, the goddess Brigid was daughter to Dagda. In the Tuatha dé Danann (the Celtic pantheon) he was the oldest god. She makes the perfect namesake for the Sabbat as she’s a fertility goddess, rules over fire for the hearth and for imagination, and other pursuits that have need for fire, like blacksmithing.

As time went on, Christianity made its way to Ireland. Brigid turned into St. Brigid, originating circa 450 A.D. She was given the story that she was an abbess who started multiple convents for nuns, the most notable being in Kildare. Rooted in Pagan folklore, her story is made up mainly of miracle stories and anecdotes. Her Catholic Feast Day lands on – as you may have guessed – February 1st.


You can do this in a couple of different ways:

-Dedicating a candle to the goddess is an easy inclusion for your festivities. This can be a simple chime candle, a pillar candle that you mark with symbols in connection with the goddess, a woman-shaped candle anointed with corresponding oils – anything that speaks to you in honor of Brigid,

-You can make a Brigid’s Cross. Also known as a Solar Cross and a Celtic Sun Wheel, this rood is symbolic of the Sun. Hanging a new cross every year was customary while the old cross was burned. This ceremony was done to keep the home safe from fires. These crosses were also hung over the beds of children, placed under the bed to aid in conception, and utilized for blessing seeds destined for planting in the spring.

There are a lot of different ways to make a Brigid’s Cross. A simple Google search yields multiple variations using a myriad of different materials. Straw soaked in water overnight to make it more pliable is the traditional material used. To make it easier for kids to participate, pipe cleaners are a great alternative to make crosses out of.

-In the same vein of making a Brigid’s Cross, you could also make a doll to represent the goddess. Called Brideog – pronounced Bree-Jog – these dolls were traditionally made from water-soaked straw by men in the house. They were decorated with the first blooms from the garden and white fabric that represented a dress. You certainly don’t have to be a man to craft a Breidog though!

-Dedicate a kitchen altar to Brigid. It can be decorated as advised above in addition to choosing correspondences that venerate the goddess. This invokes her protection in the room that most aligns with the hearth – the kitchen. Having her altar where you prepare food for yourself and your loved ones also imbues the fare with her blessing of healing.

Imbolc 2023

Speaking of cooking, my favorite part of planning Sabbat celebrations is what we’ll be eating! Imbolc has a few facets to approaching the menu planning. There’s the traditional Irish fare that connects the original Celts to modern celebrants. And then there’s kitchen magick, directly connected to Celtic Goddess Brigid.

Traditional food that can be incorporated into an Imbolc feast includes:

  • Cheese & Milk: The word Imbolc stems from ‘ewe’s milk’ so anything that falls under the dairy category is a must. If you really want to stick with the theme of the original Celts, pick sheep or goat cheeses. If you don’t do dairy, a substitutes work just as well – it’s what it represents, not what it’s made of.
  • Colcannon: A mixture of creamy mashed potatoes and usually kale or cabbage
  • Bannock: Similar to a scone’s texture, bannock is a skillet bread
  • Butter: Outside of it falling under the dairy category, butter was often churned on the same day as the Sabbat
  • Oatcakes: You can bake oatcakes and pair them with milk as an offering for Brigid on Imbolc Eve
  • Pancakes: A pancake breakfast to start the festivities align with the tradition of eating flapjacks to ensure an abundant harvest in the coming year. Another tradition involves making wishes when pancakes were flipped in the air. You can take it a step further by placing stones in the batter to divine what kind of year is to come – although I wouldn’t (nor your dentist I’m sure) recommend this one. Pancakes themselves are representative of the goddess’ womb and the sun’s power, themes of Imbolc.

Now that we have some ideas of foods we can add to the Imbolc menu, let’s talk kitchen witchery. Because Brigid aligns with the hearth and home, spending time in the kitchen to prepare these foods is like scoring double bonus points with your magick! Alongside the traditional fare listed above, add in grains, breads, and root veggies. Historically, vegetables like potatoes and onions would have been pulled from the fall harvest stores but in the modern world just hit up your local grocery store.

Imbolc 2023

Speaking of magick, Imbolc is a fabulous time to practice divination. Historically, weather divination was mostly utilized as ancient Celts didn’t have the convenciences of modern appliances. Keeping themselves alive depended on good weather.

Similar to Groundhog’s Day, weather divination was practiced on the first of February. It was said that the Cailleach – considered the Crone facet of Brigid – collects firewood for the rest of the Winter on this day. Cold weather will persist if the day is sunny. This is so she can gather enough firewood to last through the Winter. On the other hand, if the day is cloudy the cold weather will subside sooner.

For your divination pursuits you may wish to do a little pyromancy – appropriate for such a fire-focused Sabbat. As you’re already lighting candles in celebration of Imbolc, do a little flame gazing and see what happens. You could also try your hand at new divinatory methods as it’s a time of new beginnings.

Imbolc 2023

Speaking of flames, lighting a candle is an easy, no-fuss way to celebrate if you’re short on time or resources. The traditional symbol of Imbolc, the flame represents the Sun’s rebirth. If you can, light one in every room just after sunset to honor this rebirthing.

Bonfires are tradition of this fire festival and rightfully so. If you’re lucky enough to be able to build or attend one, it really is the perfect way to honor the Sabbat. Gathering with loved ones to laugh, share, and reflect around the glow of flames layers the importance of community with the holiday. Double down and bring some marshmallows to roast, too!

Remember, fire works to give power and warmth back to those who are seeking respite from the cold. An Imbolc bonfire is also representative of a guiding light. This beacon is meant to direct the Sun back to us and to initiate Spring once more.

Imbolc 2023

Depending on your location, planting seeds outdoors may or may not be possible. Either way you can do a few different things in relation to gardening. From intention setting to planning, it is perfectly feasible to celebrate Imbolc via the nourishment of our fine plant friends.

The magick of intention is the driving force behind most workings. As such we can tune into and concentrate our intentions into physical objects. For this purpose, we’re talking seeds. By focusing your intention into seeds and then planting them, watering them, tending to them, etc. you are simultaneously nurturing said intention.

Another gardening-centric activity you can celebrate Imbolc with is planning out your lot. This works especially well for those who live in an area that is not quite ready for actual planting. Use your imagination and let it wander when dreaming up what you wish to plant, how you want it laid out, what you will do with the bounty, etc.

Finally, if you already have some house plant friends, you can take the time to really appreciate them, tend to any needs they may have, repot them in a roomier home, prepare them for the coming Spring if they are to be moved outside, and the like.


Well there you have it, Witches! Nine ways in which you can celebrated the Imbolc Sabbat! Do you do participate on any of these on the list? Do you do something different? Let me know in the comments! And as always, Bright Blessings and Happy Casting!

Published by Pie

Pie Ankiewicz is the Resident Witch of Printable Witchcraft and sister-site Candle Cross Coven. She is a seasoned Eclectic Witch whose practice spans over three decades. Residing in Massachusetts, Pie designs printable Book of Shadows and grimoire pages, blogs about the Craft, and teaches others how to pursue being a practitioner.

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