The word 'Imbolg' means 'in the belly', and is suggestive of fertility and new life! At this time of year, we see the first signs of spring. Flowers such as Daffodils and Snowdrops can be seen popping up here and there, and the ewes will be pregnant, and in some milder areas, giving birth to the first lambs!
In ancient times, and even today, it is traditional in some places to take the last of the Yule greens and burn them on the Imbolg fires, however, as most of us have artificial trees these days, it is probably mostly no longer practise. Since the intention is to recycle here, it would be just as effective to dispose of your Christmas cards and wrapping paper appropriately!
There are many wells located around the British Isles that are dedicated to the Saints, which would have originally been associated with the Goddess. Near these wells you will usually be able to spot a 'Wishing Tree'. This is a tree with a variety of offerings tied to it in the intention of making a wish!
Many people (not just Pagans, Wiccans and Witches) will visit these sites to tie something to the tree as an offering to their God and/or Goddess, with the hope that their wish will come true!
WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN MARK THIS SABBAT
- AS IMBOLG IS A TIME OF NEW GROWTH, YOU MAY WANT TO PLANT SOME SEEDS OR BULBS. HOWEVER, YOU WILL HAVE TO USE YOUR JUDGEMENT AS TO WHETHER YOU SHOULD DO IT NOW OR WAIT A FEW WEEKS UNTIL THE CLIMATE WARMS A LITTLE. THIS WILL ALL DEPEND ON WHERE YOU LIVE. CHECK GARDENING FORUMS FOR ADVICE OR YOUR LOCAL GARDEN CENTRE WILL BE HAPPY TO ADVISE.
- IF YOU DON'T HAVE A GARDEN TRY GROWING AN INDOOR PLANT OR EVEN HERBS. ROSEMARY AND LAVENDER ARE A GOOD PLACE TO START, AND WILL SIT QUITE HAPPILY ON YOUR KITCHEN WINDOW SILL.
- TAKE SOME TIME OUT TO LEARN ABOUT THE TREES THAT ARE SIGNIFICANT TO WITCHCRAFT.
- YOU MIGHT LIKE TO CHOOSE A TREE THAT YOU FEEL AN AFFINITY WITH, AND IT MAY PROVIDE YOU WITH THE WOOD FOR YOUR WAND.
As this time of year is associated with fruitfulness and a new harvest, it could be time to start any new projects you wish to undertake. Breath life into a new venture, and make every effort to see it through! It might be nice also to get the family involved in making a wishing tree! You could ask people you know to tie an offering to the tree (usually a scrap of material or a flower garland), and make a couple of wishes - one being a personal one and the other being a wish for a bountiful harvest!