Thursday, January 30, 2020

Imbolc Altar 2020

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

Imbolc, also referred to as Candlemas or St. Brigid's Day, is the first of the fire festivals, with candles being used as sympathetic magic to hurry the Sun's return. This is the final yawn before Spring returns and with it plentiful gardens, full bellies, and warmer temperatures. Imbolc is a time of reflection, transformation, and new beginnings, and symbolizes the light at the end of the tunnel. As the Wheel turns, we continue to see the days becoming longer and the nights shorter, while the first buds of spring pepper the trees and flowers began to peek through the snow. For this year's Imbolc altar, I wanted to represent these themes with candles, crystals, and herbs.

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

1. White Candles- As I mentioned in the introduction above, candles are traditionally used on Imbolc to coax the Sun to return sooner. This is a form of sympathetic magic where like attracts light. The white represents purity and new beginnings, as Imbolc is a symbol that new life is right around the corner and that changes are on the way. The white also symbolizes milk, the staple food of this sabbat. Ewes begin lactating during this time, providing a much-needed protein source for our ancestors. In fact, this celebration of ewe's milk was so important that Imbolc was named after it, coming from the Gaelic word "oimelc" meaning "ewe's milk." (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree (2018-2020); Cost: $1 for each candle holder and $1 for all the candles)

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

2. Rose- Roses are a symbol of love and devotion. If you follow the Wheel of the Year as a love story between the God and the Goddess, you are aware that their love brings about the rebirth of the Sun, the ultimate symbol of love. The Goddess begins to wake after having given birth to the Sun, the rays warming the Earth and fertilizing it so that seeds may grow. I placed the roses on my altar, not for the God and Goddess, but to represent the love between the Earth and the Sun. Without the Sun, the Earth would not grow and without the Earth, there would be no seeds to germinate.  (Where did I get it: My Garden; Cost: Free)

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

3. Fulgurite, Amazonite pyramid, and Mangano Calcite:  Fulgurite looks a little weird on this altar, but I promise you it fits right in. Fulgurite is lightning fused sand and represents transformations and changes. Furthermore, fulgurite of purification, release, intuition, creativity, sexuality, and inner power. It is a powerful representation of Imbolc, although not necessarily the pretties. In the middle of an Amazonite pyramid with the elements written on each of its sides. I turned it so that Fire faced forward, a nod to Imbolc being a fire festival and as a form of sympathetic magic, calling upon Fire to bring the Sun's warming energy. Amazonite also represents healing and balance, as the Sun and Earth heal and grow into their power and the days and nights become more equal. Finally, one of my favorite crystals of all time, mangano calcite. I don't know about you, but this crystal's magic is so potent. Every time I see it my heart is filled with peace and joy. It vibrates with a soft, soothing love, one that last's for an eternity, the perfect crystal to symbolize the loving relationship between Sun and Earth.  (Where did I get it: Fulgurite from Of Moth and Moon (Etsy), Amazonite and Mangano from a subscription box; Cost: $6)

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

4. Snakeskin- Wrapped around the candles is a park of a snakeskin I found last summer in my yard. Snakeskins represent transformations and new beginnings, that we are able to shed old habits and form new ones. What better item to place on an Imbolc altar than a snakeskin? (Where did I get it: My Yard; Cost: Free)

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

5. White Sand and Bay Leaves- Bay leaves in salt or sand is a popular way to represent Imbolc as it symbolizes the first leaves popping up through the snow. This year I used white sand, which can be reused year and year instead of salt. The white sand represents both the Earth and the snow that is covering it, while the bay leaf represents the first plants emerging for the soil. Bay leaves are also used to carry wishes, and in this case, they are carrying the wish that Spring will arrive quickly. In front of the bay leaves is a candle, again working as a form of sympathetic magic. I placed two on my altar this year for balance and used these beautiful iridescent candle holders I purchased over the weekend from the Dollar Tree. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree 2020; Cost: $1 for sand, candle holders $1 each)

TOTAL COST: ~$13-15

Imbolc, altar, witchcraft, sabbat, Candlemas, St. Brigid's Day

Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost may be higher. I hope you find this sort of break down helpful, especially those of you looking to create Instagram perfect altars on a budget! There is no reason your altars have to cost a fortune, so why not save some money and use what you may already have?

Do you have any plans for Imbolc? What about a favorite Imbolc food? Let me know in the comments below! I plan to enjoy the weekend cozied up with a good book, hot tea, and lots of candles.

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  1. Such a meaningful, radiantly lovely altar. It is giving off the most comforting, uplifting and inspiring energy - just what we need at this point in the winter.

    Thank you for sharing your sacred Imbolc altar with us, dear Willow. May you have the warmest, loveliest and most blessed of sabbat seasons.

    ♥ Autumn

    PS: I'm with you a zillion percent regarding altars - and most all witchy/Pagan materials, for that matter - not needing to cost a small fortune. Many of mine were found, gifted, thrifted, or bought from dollar stores and they work as well + mean as much to me as if they've come from the priciest of metaphysical shops.

    1. Thank you, Autumn! I hope you had a wonderful Imbolc and that your husband heals quickly.


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