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Imbolc

Imbolc falls on Febuary 2nd, which means Groundhog's Day. This is another Sabbat that's for preparing the Earth. It is concidered a 'Festival of Lights'.
The main theme is the re-awakening of the Goddess in Her maiden aspect. Beginnings are stessed, which may be the reason that many traditions have initiations on Imbolc.
When we say beginnings, we also speak of fertility. Although plants would not begin to sprout, the animals would be engaged in repopulating, having calves and lambs in the Spring. One popular method for insuring fertility is the "Brighn's Bed" (pronunced Breed's Bed). A small crib, perhaps a doll's crib is set in front of the hearth or altar if no fireplace is present. A corn doll is placed within, and then a phallic wand is placed beside her. In ancient days seeing small prints in the ashes would foretell good fortune for the household.
Another Imbolc tradition is putting out all the lights, then lighting one Brighn or Brigit candle and everyone lighting an individual candle form it, be taken home from the ritual. This is taken from ancient Irish tradition of extinguishing all fires and then lighting a Bale Fire on the highest hill in the land, signaling other Bale Fires to be lit on surrounding hills untill the light spread throughout the land. Fire from these fires would be brought home to relight the house fires. A very symbolic act of unity and community.

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