IMBOLC SABBAT – The Pagan celebration with candles and milk!

The Imbolc Sabbat represents growth. In this period the Goddess overcomes the coldness and severity of the Winter and starts nursing the new Sun God on the Wheel of the Year.

This Sabbat is related to the Goddess Brigid, the Fire Goddess who also ruled the arts, poetry, and wisdom in Celtic culture.

Imbolc precedes Ostara Sabbat, the Vernal Equinox and happens after Yule Sabbat, the Winter Solstice.

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  • Northern Hemisphere: February 1st or 2nd
  • Southern Hemisphere: August 1st
  • Colours: red, orange and white
Imbolc Sabbat The Wheel of the year
Imbolc Sabbat The Wheel of the year

The celebrations of the Imbolc Sabbat are usually made with candles. This Sabbat is well known as Candlemass too, after the Chtistianization process.

At festivities, women used to wear wreaths with burning candles symbolizing the joy and the warmth of life.

Imbolc Sabbat and Growth

The Imbolc Sabbat marks the moment when the Sun God is being breastfed by the Goddess on the Wheel of the Year.

The term “Imbolc” is said to mean “inside the belly” and it is related to birth, breastfeeding, and growth.

During Imbolc, the fires represent the enlightenment of the spirit, the search for new knowledge, the creative power, and a new life.

This Sabbat shows that Spring (Ostara Sabbat) is on its way and that is when the animals begin the lactation period.

Although it is still Winter, the cold is already less intense and the promise of warmer days and new harvests remains alive.

During the Imbolc Sabbat, Goddess Brigid is honored for having kept the fires burning during the winter and acknowledgments are made. Because of this, it is common to make a “Brigid’s Cross” and place it on the door of the house or some wall where it is visible.

Imbolc Sabbat - Brigid's Cross
Imbolc Sabbat – Brigid’s Cross

In addition to bringing protection, the Brigid’s Cross is also a way to welcome the Goddess.

Imbolc is the right time to celebrate the vital energy that increases every day, the fertility and the power of rebirth.

The Goddess, on this date, leaves her Crone face and returns to her face as a Maiden.

Wheel of the Year: Imbolc Sabbat and the candles

Also called Candlemass (Candle Set), during the Imbolc Sabbath several candles are lit to symbolize the Sun God who is growing.

Candles, often orange in colour, also represent the energy, joy, and warmth of life.

The Imbolc Sabbat is also a time for reflection and purification after the intense Winter.

Therefore, lighting not only candles but torches, lamps and any other objects that may house a flame is recommended so that the heat of the flames distances the Winter and brings more joy.

It also welcomes Salamanders, the Elemental beings of fire.

Imbolc Sabbat and the candles
Imbolc Sabbat and the candles

Another habit is to sweep energetically bad energies, bad luck, fear and other bad emotions. Use your magic broom and sweep from the inside out of your house.

Now that you know about the Imbolc Sabbat, you can also read about the Imbolc Rituals.

Sabbats and the Wheel of the Year

You can also read about the other Sabbats which are part of the Wheel of the Year:

General FAQ



Yes. The name Candlemass is a Christianized version of Imbolc. The celebration is adapted, but it stills the same.


Milk represents the act of breastfeeding. The Goddess is breastfeeding the Sun God.

Photo of author

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