Sundown today sees the beginning of the Celtic festival of Imbolc, although in truth, the Celts did not have a fixed date, but celebrated in style as soon as the lambing season began. Imbolc was a time of the utmost importance to the Celtic tribes as the quality and amount of new born lambs meant the difference between survival and extinction.
The word Imbolc (pronounced 'im-olc') actually means 'in the belly' and refers to the stirring of life within the earth's womb. An alternative term for this festival is 'Oimelc', meaning 'the first flowing of ewe's milk, both of which are appropriate words for this exciting time of year.
When christianity came to these islands this festival became 'Candlemas' and commemorated the time when Mary went to the temple to undertake a purification ceremony forty days after the birth of Jesus.
Imbolc is still celebrated by Pagans and witches alike today and has become synonymous with the delightful Celtic Goddess Bride (christianised as St Bridget), who I will look at in greater detail as the week progresses.
Enjoy celebrating over the next few days. Decorate your home with white flowers and candles and arrange to share an Imbolc meal with friends or family to celebrate the return of the Goddess and the eternal hope of spring.