'Imbolc' is a name for on old Celtic country festival, where the women, and men!, gathered to celebrate womanhood, and all the good nurturing qualities that we like to see to come with it: skills in making garments and food, tools and decorations, giving birth, and also protecting the family or clan. The patroness for that has always been 'BRIGHID', a figure mythical and divine in all times and for all ages, and at this time of the year especially for the young woman.
Somewhere there is in all of us a young woman, an eager to learn, bright and fresh part of our self. Now is the time to remember her clear vision, keen senses and clean hope, and to recommit to her. Around us here in the Northern hemnispshere the little snowdrop is a symbol of that cold withstanding fire of life, as well as the fire in the hearth. In the Outer Hebrideans Imbolc (1st of February) was the day when the hearth was cleaned and for the one and only time in the year it had no fire in it so it could be freshly lit. Later traditions placed the candles instead of the heartfire as the centre of celebrations.
One ancient craft symbol, the woven reed cross, Bridghid's Cross, symbolising the balance and perfect movement of all things, also still remains a much loved staple of making and saning at this time of the year, Imbolc, or Oimelc, 'the first flow of ewe's milk'.