The Best Books for Beginner Practitioners

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it can be a good place to start when you want more information to guide you on your path.

What Is A Green Witch?

Is your home a veritable jungle, awash with beautiful plants, flowers, and greenery? Do you feel more at home outside in nature than you do anywhere else? Do you feel a deep connection to the flora and fauna that Mother Nature provides? 

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you might be a Green Witch. If you don’t know what a Green Witch is or have never heard the term, don’t worry, we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty for you.


What Exactly Is A Green Witch?

Green Witches are also often called forest witches or garden witches. Though many Pagan religions revere nature, a Green Witch’s practice is solely focused on it. They are connected to the earth and all living things, and they draw on those energies for their craft. 

Most Green Witches are surrounded by nature in whatever form they can be. Whether that’s filling their homes with plants and herbs, or tending to a massive outdoor garden. They have the “green thumb.” They get comfort and energy from the nature that surrounds them. Their magickal tools are often crafted from things they’ve found in nature. They grow their own herbs for spells, and many Green Witches practice herbalism. They craft teas and tinctures, spices and salves that help promote healing and healthy lifestyles. They’ll often have others come to them for healing.

The Green Witch is a wild witch, communing with nature and all its gifts that the Mother Goddess has bestowed upon this earth. Her practice, where possible, takes place outdoors. She communes with animal guides and plant spirits. The Green Witch is grateful for the gifts Mother Nature has given, and she thanks the spirits of nature for their use in her craft. She leaves offerings for the animals and the spirits of the forests.

“You are the sister to the wolf and friend to the hawk. You know in your heart the language of the plants and the songs of the wind. You have an innate connection to the wild edges. You know the beauty of the bee in flight, and hear the call of freedom on the horizon. And yet, as you go through your day today, it may be easy to miss the drum call of the Earth.” – Anni Daulter, Wild Woman.


Five Signs You May Be A Green Witch

If you’re still unsure about whether or not you may be a Green Witch, that’s okay. Not every witch needs a title. But if you’re intrigued and want to learn more, here are five signs that you may be a Green Witch.

  1. You have a green thumb. This isn’t a necessity for Green Witchery, as the ability to care for plants can be a learned one. But many Green Witches simply have an innate ability to care for greenery. 
  2. You’re intrigued by herbalism. The thought of healing yourself and others with homemade teas, salves, tinctures, and spells is what gives you life in your craft. You’re a natural healer and want your craft to reflect that.
  3. Adding onto number two: Most of your practice revolves around herbalism. You spend more time studying healing plants and herbs than any other aspect of your craft. Your home is filled with fresh and dried herbs, plants and flowers loaded with healing properties, and other gifts nature has bestowed upon you.
  4. You revere and respect nature above all else. While this is true for many Pagan traditions, it is especially true for the Green Witch. You practice your craft in nature where possible. You’re in tune with the vibrations of the earth and the changing of the seasons. As Mother Earth falls ill, you can feel it and wish to do all you can to heal it. You express gratitude for nature’s gifts in everything you do. 
  5. You’re drawn to working with the elements. While most paths work with the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, not all of them also tap into the element of Spirit. You tap into Spirit as well, as the Spirit of Mother Nature is what gives you your gifts. The elements are in all that you do. Pretty stones catch your eye. You sleep with the window open even in the winter to hear the winds calling as you sleep. 

How did you stumble upon Green Witchery? Have you always known that was your path or is this something new? If you’re interested in learning more about Green Witchery, check out these resources, and then visit coven.cloud to join a group of like-minded individuals who want to hear all about you, and who are striving to learn and hone their crafts with one another. Welcome home.

Love, Light & Lies: Healing and Manifesting Without Forced Forgiveness

Subscribing to the “love and light” ideals often causes victim blaming, whether it is intentional or not. We are placing a person’s situation on them, as though they created their reality. But the fact is, some people are at the mercy of situations they have absolutely no control over.

The Many Faces of Lucifer

By Vehemence

In many faiths, Lucifer is an evil being who brought about the fall of humankind and has no redeeming qualities. In paganism, however, Lucifer can take on different roles depending on the religion or tradition you’re practicing. In some cases, he’s not even considered the bad guy; he’s seen as another deity in the pantheon that has gotten a bad rap over time, or simply isn’t regarded as evil at all but rather serves a positive role in your spirituality. 

An introduction to “Satan” aka Lucifer

According to historians, the name Lucifer predates Christianity. The word comes from the Latin for light bringer and means truth. It was applied to the morning star, Venus, as a reference to its brightness in the sky. This is what probably started all these associations with Satan.  In Christian folklore, Lucifer was an angel who fell from heaven after rebelling against God. He became known as Satan and was condemned to hell where he would rule over demons for eternity.  There are many pagans that have different stories about Lucifer or Satan. For example, some believe that Lucifer was cast out because he wanted more power than god allowed him. Others say that there were two gods; one good and one evil. They both created humans so they could see which one they liked better. My personal view is that capital G “God” has a big ego (as is obvious from naming himself the one true god) and when Lucifer wanted to “bring light” (truth) out, God cast him down to earth to taint his credibility. Whatever you believe, there is long documented history and mythology associated with the name Lucifer, both good and bad.

Etymology of Lucifer

The name Lucifer comes from a Latin word meaning light-bearer. The root for all these terms is based on a specific interpretation of Isaiah 14:12, which states, How art thou fallen from heaven, O day star, son of the morning! As mentioned above, it’s thought that Venus was seen as a bringer of light in ancient times and so was associated with early forms of worship. As such, it’s possible that Lucifer may have been an earlier form of Venus that was later demonized and transformed into Satan.

History and Myths of Lucifer

Lucifer, AKA Satan and other aliases, has been a popular figure in history for many centuries. According to some scholars and myths, it was one of God’s greatest Angels who represented light and goodness before his fall from grace. Later in Christian mythology it came to represent rebellion and evil. In truth, he was an Angel created by God whose sole purpose was to protect humanity. He became disillusioned with what he perceived as unfair treatment by humans and rebelled against God. Another myth comes from Jewish lore where Lilith, also known as Adam’s first wife, left him because she refused to be subservient to him. One thing that Christians do not understand about Lucifer is that when he fell from heaven he did not become an evil entity. Some believe Lucifer chose to leave heaven, to be with Lilith.  Some will say Lucifer tempted Cain into killing Able while others say that Cain killed Abel out of jealousy over their father’s favoritism. Still others say that Eve ate fruit from a tree while they were both in Eden and offered some to her husband; but he declined, knowing full well its consequences. The figure of the demon Lucifer is also found within Islam, though he is not thought of as synonymous with the figure of Satan. In Islam Lucifer is associated with the sin of wrath and was thought to have been formerly called Azazil or Uzayzil prior to his downfall.

In any faith, or mythology, stories evolve with time, and it can be hard to find “truth” or consistency. I find it best to reflect inward on what resonates!

Usage in Pop Culture and Politics

As pop culture gains popularity, so does public knowledge about all things Pagan. This has spurred many positive changes, like full inclusion in society for Pagans, but it’s also led to some misconceptions. Lucifer is a very important deity within Paganism and modern worshipers have been doing their best to clear up misconceptions about him and his role in popular media.

How People View Lucifer Today

Religious and non-religious folks alike tend to view Lucifer as Satan—the embodiment of evil, a diabolical and cruel character who does everything he can to ruin mankind. Lucifer’s evil status is derived from his fall in Christian theology, when he defied God by refusing to bow down to Adam, who was created after him. In some branches of Satanism, believers pay homage to both Jesus Christ and Lucifer at their ceremonies.

Megan Killion, aka Vehemence, is an entrepreneurial baby witch, who’s spent the last 15 years kicking ass and taking names in the B2B tech world. Megan has felt the calling of magick since she was a small child and found comfort and healing in energy work. The deeper she explored the more she felt she had “finally found a spiritual home”. Navigating the complex world of witchcraft wasn’t easy and eventually, she felt driven to create a safe place for spiritual nomads. She is committed to making Coven Cloud a place where spiritualists of all backgrounds can feel safe, included, and supported.

Smoke Cleansing

By Justine Lieberman

When most people walk into my home, I watch them drop their shoulders, inhale, and smile. It’s like they just walked into a sanctuary or spa. Even with my small dogs barking their greetings, my guests seem to relax almost immediately. Clients, friends, and family have repeatedly commented on how calm and peaceful they feel in my home. My house is not outwardly calm, between the dogs barking, the three teenagers, the robot vacuum choking on a sock, the game blaring on the TV, and the dishes in the sink, you might be thinking, “CHAOS!”. Sure, those things could be chaotic, and yet, my guests feel perfectly at ease. This is because my home is smoke cleansed regularly, and strongly energetically protected. 
Have you ever walked into a home that just felt heavy, dark, or gave you the heebeegeebees? Are there places that just feel off to you? I remember having a sleepover at a friend’s house in 6th grade, and her house just felt uncomfortable. I never slept over again, but as an adult, I visited her home, and it still felt off. Almost like I was cold, even though it wasn’t cold at all. This really struck me because as a tween, I didn’t think much about it, I just recognized my discomfort. As an adult, I recognized the same feelings I had felt all those years ago. I felt validated but also concerned. I wondered why her house felt so uncomfortable. I wish I had the tools then that I have now because I would have offered to smoke cleanse her house.
All spaces carry energy, whether it’s a home, office, bathroom, church, hospital, school, park, or alleyway. The energy may be so subtle that you don’t feel anything at all, or it may be strong. It can be strong in a positive, or peaceful way, and it may be strong in a negative or even scary way. Just as human beings have the capacity to take on other people’s energy, most commonly noted in empaths, this whole world experiences energetic imprinting. We don’t have to suffer from the intensity or even minimal low vibe energy. In my last blog, “Protect Yourself, Your Home, and Your Peace”, I shared ways to create energetic barriers for your personal aura. Today I want to dive into doing the same for your home. 
Smoke Cleansing is an ancient tradition that has been used in many cultures throughout history and is still a common practice today. We are familiar with Indigenous people in America who use smoke to not only cleanse but also open portals to the spirit world, however, burning herbs to promote cleansing and spiritual connection has been practiced since ancient times all over the world. Biblically God commands the use of incense as early as Exodus, and the wise men who came to witness the infant Jesus after his birth brought frankincense and myrrh as offerings, two herbs that are still used to smoke cleanse and protect to this day. Egypt has been known to burn herbs to purify their homes and help the inhabitants to sleep well. Temples across China and Asia have burned herbs, such as mugwort to support emotional wellness. Africa and India have both been known for smoke cleansing as well. Even Australian Aboriginals and Islanders use different herbs to cleanse with smoke. European witches were put to death for using herbs as salves, remedies, and smoke cleansing. 
You may be wondering if Smoke Cleansing is cultural appropriation. It is a highly controversial subject. As witches, it is important to touch on this subject as we strive to be as ethical as possible. I do not intend to lecture anyone, however, I do find that skirting around it just because it’s uncomfortable is privileged and disrespectful. I have shouted from the rooftops about the injustices to witches, and the 13 million women who were tortured, kidnapped and murdered by drowning, hanging, burning, and countless other insidious ways. Therefore I would be remiss to skirt over the 56 million indigenous men, women, and children who were brutally murdered in the Americas by European settlers. This was a successful holocaust. Hideous extermination of human beings, their religions, customs, and culture. It’s truly tragic. 
“Smudging” is a term used by Indigenous people for smoke cleansing. While Smoke Cleansing is not exclusive to Indigenous people, the term “Smudge” is. The other issue we run into is that many people use white sage to smoke cleanse because of its magical properties, and popularity. Smudging, and all Indigenous religious practices were banned in the United States until 1978. This type of oppression is abhorrent, and the reason it is argued that it is inappropriate for non-natives to adopt these customs. I have made this error myself, and until recently I used the term “Smudge” when discussing Smoke Cleansing, not realizing that the word is not for me to use. In addition, I have used white sage to smoke cleanse, however, this sage was picked wild for me by a dear friend who is Indigenous and has been one of my beloved teachers. I felt panic in regards to using white sage, but just as my dear friend invited me to a Sweat Lodge, I was informed that being invited, and gifted these items and experiences means that in these circumstances I have the honor of participating in these sacred rituals. It would, however, be inappropriate for me to buy and burn sage, just as it would be inappropriate for me to create a Sweat Lodge, according to my Indigenous friends. In addition, white sage has been over-harvested, and therefore it is unethical to purchase unless you can guarantee that it has been sustainably harvested. 
So what is acceptable to burn while smoke cleansing? First, I would suggest feeling deeply into yourself, your practices, and your ancestral roots. Due to my modge podge of ancestry, I have looked into the cultures of my bloodline ranging from Ashkenazi Jew to Swedish, to Scottish, Irish, French, German, and Brazillian. For most of my life, I only had a real connection to my Jewish lineage, so I chose to start there. A quick Google search can help you to discover herbs and other powerful plants that your ancestors may have used. 
Others believe that it is most ethical to choose to use herbs that grow native to the area where you live, on the basis that the energies where you live are more connected to the plants that naturally grow in that region. Ultimately it is up to you to feel into what speaks to your heart and keeps you aligned. Lavender, rosemary, cedar, mugwort, and juniper are all effective alternatives to white sage, or palo santo.
Smoke Cleansing is a tried and true method for dispersing negative, stagnant, or stale energy. It’s surprisingly simple, but a somewhat tedious task when performed with intention. You will find that different cultures have different rituals. I encourage you to do your own research and find a ritual that feels good to you. Personally, my preference for Smoke Cleansing whenever the energy in my home feels heavy, or tense, as well as after we have had guests, is two rounds of smoke cleansing, using two different herbs. The first to banish the old or negative energy, and the second to fill my space with fiercely protective love. I begin by opening everything, all the windows and doors, and each and every cabinet, and closet. I bless and command the first herb by saying “I command you to banish all negative, unwanted, and unhealthy energy from this space, and so it is.” then light my herbs in a bowl or heatproof container, and begin at my front door. I use a small broom or hand fan, and wave the smoke, moving the bowl counterclockwise (to banish), I walk counterclockwise through the entrance of my home, fanning the smoke from top to bottom, making sure not to miss corners, and other hidden places, like underneath desks and shelves. I continue this way, moving from room to room, always starting from the entrance, and paying special attention to enclosed spaces, like cabinets. Afterward, I command my second herb (which is often some type of flower) by saying, “I command you to fill this space with fierce protective love, and repel any and all negative or unwanted energy from this space.” Then I begin again, only this time I move clockwise to bring in positive loving energy. Love is my “religion”, so I choose to use love as my protector, and nurturer. If you have a special connection to specific deities, you can call on them as you command your herbs. 
After I have Smoke Cleansed the entire house, I light a candle to seal the deal, then close all the doors, windows, and cabinets. Before lighting this candle, I meditate on its purpose, and command it to bring calm, gentle, loving, and protective energy into my home, and anoint it with specific essential oils. Any candle will do, as long as it has never been burned before. Unless you have designated a larger candle for this purpose, in which case, you would still meditate on its purpose before lighting the candle, and rather than blowing it out, I suggest snuffing it out. 
There are many practices for smoke cleansing, we would love to hear yours! And don’t forget that you can smoke cleanse any item that comes into your home, as well as your vehicles! For more on protecting your home with symbolism, check out my previous blog, “Protect Yourself, Your Home, and Your Peace”.

A Brief History of the Demonic Mother: Lilith

The origins of Lilith, the demonic mother of all evil spirits, can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia – the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in modern-day Iraq. This time period predates the biblical figures we are more familiar with such as Adam and Eve, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad by thousands of years. These ancient Mesopotamians believed in an unseen force behind all of creation that was both masculine and feminine at once, Lilith.

Lilith in Ancient Hebrew

According to ancient Hebrew mythology, Lilith was a young woman who became Adam’s first wife after he helped her to slay her would-be rapist. However, when she decided she wanted to have children, Adam refused, explaining that God had told him not to have any. Enraged by his defiance and incensed by his willingness to bow down to authority, Lilith ran away in despair. She then became Satan’s consort and gave birth to countless demons—including Samael and numerous Lilin; both are associated with vampires today. As punishment for her actions, God sent three angels—Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof—to chase down Lilith; they succeeded in capturing her but only managed to render her sterile before freeing her once again.

Lilith in Ancient Mesopotamia

One could argue that even as early as Babylonian demonology (circa 6th century B.C.), traces of Lilith can be found in Mesopotamian depictions of Inanna’s demonic alter ego, known as Lilith or Lilitu. Inanna was an important goddess with a multitude of responsibilities and duties within the ancient Sumerian culture. As patron of both sexual activity and fertility, she controlled women’s sexuality—but her husband Dumuzi was meant to take control after marriage. The demons Lilith, Ardat-Lili, and Irdu-kug were all considered by scholars to be evil counterparts to these roles of Inanna; it is from these texts that we get our modern image of Lilith as being a dangerous succubus. Interestingly enough, however, much like how depictions of zombies over time are quite different from their original concepts (primarily because zombies didn’t exist), there is not necessarily a direct connection between what we call demons today and those mentioned in ancient Mesopotamia. For example, although Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan sneaker brand may be called a demon shoe in casual conversation today, as some people believe that he has supernatural powers when wearing them on his feet, demonology refers instead to Biblical demons (disembodied spirits). This alone illustrates just how intertwined religion and philosophy have been throughout history. Religion isn’t necessarily science but does have scientific roots. Demonology hasn’t necessarily changed much either: very few practices have become more commonplace than speaking ill of another behind their back—and somehow somebody always finds out about it! Of course, we think you know better than to use your negative remarks towards others negatively. Right?

Lilith in Talmudic Literature

The Talmud, a central text in Jewish studies, includes not one but two stories about Lilith—the first female human, made from dust like Adam; and a demonic succubus who was responsible for death in childbirth (among other things). It’s perhaps no surprise that Babylonian demonology—and Mesopotamian culture at large—would be steeped in misogyny. But it is interesting that so many ancient civilizations had their own form of Lilith myths. Maybe it makes sense, though—after all, sometimes even moms can make your life a living hell. What better way to explain misfortune than by blaming it on an evil woman?
Lilith as a SuccubusSuccubi are often said to have sexual intercourse with sleeping men, thus producing demon children. Succubi are a standard feature of medieval European demonology. It was once believed that women could become succubi by performing evil acts in life; modern myths state that they are born as succubi, or can be turned into them by demons or devils. The incubi and succubi were thought to be servants of Satan, and may appear during a demonic ritual or in a place where an act of heresy has been committed.

Lilith as an Incubus

Lilith’s earliest depictions come from Mesopotamia, where she was believed to be a demon who would steal babies from their cribs. Ancient Near Eastern cultures thought that if a woman were to become pregnant, but did not want to raise a child, then she would employ a daimon—which is what scholars believe incubi and succubi are—to father her child.

The Origins of the Name Lilith

Where does a demoness get her name? Though little is actually known about Lilith, she’s considered to be one of two things. First, there’s a Judaic origin tale from before 1000 BCE in which a female entity named Lilitu fell from heaven and slept with men while they were sleeping, causing them to have unwanted pregnancies. She also was said to have caused other evils in society such as disease and death.

Let’s Decorate An Altar!

This one?s for all of you baby witches out there who are maybe just coming out of the broom closet, or who have moved into a space of their own and can finally create their own magickal place in their homes. Or maybe some of you are more seasoned witches who just want some creative new ideas for an altar set up.

Either way, let?s get creative today, Witches, and find some awesome ways to decorate our altars.


Materials

First of all, let?s decide what kind of material our altars are going to be made from. Quite honestly, your altar can be anything from a split log you found in the woods behind your home, to a repurposed computer table, to an actual oak table that you bought specifically for the occasion. If you?re feeling connected to something, go for it!

Of course, different woods have varied symbolic connotations, and different Pagan traditions believe that individual types of wood are the most powerful. But let?s just take a quick look at a couple kinds of woods and their symbolism.

Oak: This is one of the strongest types of wood out there, which is why many witches choose it for their altars. They believe that its strength helps to strengthen the spell or ritual they may be performing upon it. Oak symbolizes protection, strength, defense, and prosperity.

Maple: Maple is another strong wood, but rather than defensiveness, Maple symbolizes peace, healing, and purity. 

Rowan: Rowan symbolizes ancient magick. It?s an especially good wood for those witches who tend toward divination as it helps to open up and enhance the innate psychic abilities of a witch.

Pine: If you?re as yet unsure of your particular path or are an eclectic witch, pine is an amazing wood for your altar, as it draws upon all the elements in nature. 

Elder: Elder wood should be used by a witch with only pureness in their heart, as it is a sacred wood. It symbolizes protection and healing.

There are so many different kinds of woods (and other materials) that you can make your altar out of, but we?ll leave it at that, lest this blog gets far too long.


Altar Cloths

One of my favorite parts of my altar. I love my altar cloths, and I especially love switching out altar cloths as I see fit or as the mood moves me. 

You can find so many gorgeous altar cloths online to buy to suit your every need. Personally, I switch mine out quite a bit. I have a different one for every Sabbat, and oftentimes, depending on the ritual or spell I?m working on, I?ll use one in a color symbolizing the intention of that spell.

Now, obviously, you don?t have to be as crazy about altar cloths as I am. But you should have something that carries some symbolism or feels some type of way to you. Altar cloths have been used in religious practices for thousands of years. Even the Abrahamic religions use them. They are used for both inspiration as well as protection of your altar itself, and the sacred items you plan to place on it.  

Which brings us to our next section.


Decorations

Every altar should have a few things. An athame, a wand, candles, incense and incense holder, a cauldron (or another fire-safe vessel), a small broom for sweeping away energies, and symbols. 

As with all things witchy, whatever you feel belongs on your altar, does belong on your altar. That?s what I mean by symbols. There isn?t a single witch in this world who will tell you that something you feel is sacred doesn?t belong there. That?s kind of one of the beautiful things about our paths, isn?t it? We all may practice different traditions, Pagan religions, or spiritual paths, but what brings us together is our mutual respect for one another?s chosen path.

But I digress.

If you are taking a stroll through the woods one day, and you spot a particularly beautiful rock that just calls to you, pick it up, and put it on your altar. If you have a familiar, put a small framed picture of them on your altar. If you have statuary relating to any chosen deities you may worship, put it on your altar. If you?re out thrifting one day and you see this weird little knick knack that most other people would balk at and you can?t figure out why you?re drawn to this weird little chicken-goblin-weasel thing, put it on your altar!

Yeah, that last one was speaking from experience, in case you were wondering. The point I?m trying to make is that there is no wrong when it comes to decorating your altar. Have fun with it. Place things on there that give you inspiration, or remind you of happy times, or that you?re spiritually connected to, or that just look cool and remind you of your craft. There are no hard and fast rules. 


The bottom line is this, Witches, make your altar your own. You don?t have to copy other witches or do specifically what someone says in a book to a T. If you want to put that chicken-goblin-weasel thing, whatever the hecate it is, on your altar, do it. No one is going to stop you. This is all yours. And honestly, we can?t wait to see what you come up with! Please share it with us when you do.

Let’s Learn About The Sabbats – Imbolc

In the Wheel of the Year, there are four Greater Sabbats and four Lesser Sabbats. The Lesser Sabbats are celebrated on the Solstices and Equinoxes of the year, while the Greater Sabbats align with the cross-quarter days – the halfway points between the Solstices and Equinoxes.

In our series, Let?s Learn About The Sabbats, we?re going to learn about the origins of both the Greater and Lesser Sabbats, and at the end of each article, we?ll post a ritual that you can do pertaining to each Sabbat.

Today, we?ll be discussing Imbolc (also written as Imbolg), which is the first Sabbat of the Gregorian Calendar year. However, it?s the third in the calendar year upheld by Celtic, Wiccan, and many Pagan traditions, as New Year?s Eve is celebrated on Halloween (Samhain, pronounced sow-wen) in those traditions.


The Wheel of the Year

Wiccans and many Pagan and Neopagan traditions follow a calendar we call The Wheel of the Year. It?s divided into eight equidistant spokes, with each spoke representing either a Greater Sabbat (fire festivals), found on the cross-quarter days, or a Lesser Sabbat (sun festivals), found on the quarter days – the Solstices and Equinoxes.

We will delve more into the Wheel of the Year in a later article, but for now, let?s just take a quick look at the Sabbats and the dates they are celebrated.

  • Samhain: October 31st, Greater Sabbat.
  • Yule/Midwinter/Winter Solstice: on or around December 21st, Lesser Sabbat.
  • Imbolc/Imbolg/Oimelc/Candlemas: February 1st, Greater Sabbat.
  • Ostara/Lady Day/Vernal Equinox: on or around March 20th, Lesser Sabbat.
  • Beltane/May Day: May 1st, Greater Sabbat.
  • Litha/Midsummer/Summer Solstice: on or around June 21st, Lesser Sabbat.
  • Lughnasadh/Lammas: August 1st, Greater Sabbat.
  • Mabon/Autumnal Equinox: on or around September 21st, Lesser Sabbat.

The Origins of Imbolc

The exact origins of the celebration of Imbolc are highly debated. Some scholars believe that it?s a newly established holiday within the Wiccan tradition, while others argue that it dates back to the Neolithic age in Ireland. 

Regardless of when exactly Imbolc began as a religious celebration, there is much evidence to suggest that it?s a far older holy day than just a recent addition by Gardnerian Wicca. 

The translation of the Irish word Imbolc is, ?In the belly,? while Oimelc translates to ?ewe?s milk.? This suggests that Imbolc, held on February first, was a fire festival welcoming in the coming spring, where ewes would begin giving birth (in the belly), and lactating (ewe?s milk).

Symbolizing the halfway mark between the Winter Solstice and Ostara, the Celts celebrated Imbolc as a representation of rebirth. The snow beginning to thaw, livestock giving birth or heavily pregnant, the days getting longer while the nights shortened. After months of battling the cold, hard winter, brighter, warmer days are ahead. We celebrate Imbolc as a rebirth of Mother Earth and a rebirth of ourselves. A breath of fresh, soon-to-be Spring air after harsh winters.

The Celts also celebrated the Goddess Brigid on Imbolc, who represented fire and fertility. Idols were made for Brigid in the form of dolls made from wheat or oat straw. Young girls would take these dolls and visit all the homes in their community, where they were given small gifts from each house as a means of currying favor from Brigid and having her bless the households. Bonfires were also lit in Brigid?s honor on Imbolc.

In post-Christianization Ireland, the celebration of Imbolc became St. Brigid?s Day. The original Celts were having a hard time converting to Christianity, and so the Christian church adopted a number of Pagan holidays in order to ease conversion. St. Brigid?s Day was one of these holidays.  


A Ritual To Celebrate Imbolc

Before you begin your Imbolc ritual, it?s good practice to take a warm, cleansing bath. With this ritual bath, you?re not only cleansing your outward body, but also your mind and soul. Shedding off the winter and making way for the spring.

Dim the lights, light some candles, and pour Epsom salts into the bath. Hang a muslin cloth filled with herbs from the faucet as it runs. Cleansing herbs include sage, lemon balm, chamomile, rosemary, peppermint, sandalwood, cinnamon, and lavender.

Once the bath is full, get in. Let the warm water surround and soothe you. Close your eyes and visualize all the negative energy you?ve accumulated throughout the year leaving your body. Allow yourself to feel purified by the warm, cleansing waters enveloping you.

When you?re ready, get out of the tub and dry off. Only after you?ve gotten out, release the plug and allow all that negative energy to flow down the drain.?


Candle Ritual

You will need:

  • Four tealights
  • A lighter or matches

Cast your circle and call upon your deities.

Light the first candle and say out loud (or to yourself if you?re more comfortable that way, ?Though Winter is still here, I feel new life trembling amid the darkness.?

Next, light the second candle and chant, ?I call upon the light of the sun, as it grows larger every day. I call upon its light and flame to breath a spark of new life in the waning darkness.?

Light the third candle and chant, ?As with the sun?s light, inspiration, wisdom, and new life shall too always grow. May the sun?s life-giving light stir the reborn flowers of Spring.?

Lastly, light the fourth candle and say, ?I call upon these candle flames to purify and cleanse me as I move from the darkness of winter to the light of spring. New life comes to manifest among these purifying flames. Blaze of the sun, fire of the hearth, fill me with your life-giving light.?

Meditate on the candle as they burn. Think about Imbolc and what it symbolizes: healing, rebirth, and inspiration.

Open your circle, take out your grimoire or journal, and write about whatever thoughts are coming to mind after performing the ritual.