Oimelc, Imbolc
Oimelc is sometimes used instead of Imbolc. Oimelc means "milk of Ewes". Therefore, it is the beginning of the lambing season. The meaning of Imbolc (in the belly) refers to the stirrings inside the Earth. She is 'pregnant' with the seeds of the growing plants. Soon she will 'give birth' to them and the Earth will become green once again.

To us, in this modern world, it is a magickal time when we see the first shoots. Imagine what it was like for our ancestors when they saw that the Earth was still fertile. They must have been so happy to know that food would grow again. It must have been a real relief in the cold of winter to know that Spring would soon be here.

Brigid's Day
Imbolc is also known as Brigid's Day. Brigid is the Triple Celtic Goddess of healing, smithcraft, poetry, childbirth and creativity of all kinds. She is therefore Maiden, Mother and Crone. She is also known as Brigit, Bride or Brid. Bride and Brid are both pronounced Breed. She later became Saint Bridget when the Christians tried to Christianise Ireland.

The Bride Doll
This might sound like it should be a Barbie doll, but it is actually quite different. It is a Corn Dolly. It can be very elaborate, beautifully crafted and decorated or it can be in the form of the traditional Brigid's Cross. This is an equal armed cross.

They can be bought but it is fun to make on yourself. If you cannot find any straw long enough (which incidentally, has to be soaked to make it easy to work with), you can use some lengths of paper instead.

Traditionally, last year's cross would be burnt after the new one had been made. Obviously, if you do not have one from last year, be sure to keep this year's to save for next. The doll is often put in a 'bed' with something phallic-looking. Candles are put round it and then left to burn down. If you decide to do this, then please make sure that the candles are safe and secure.

Initiation
Initiation can occur at any time during the year but Imbolc is the traditional time for priestesses to be initiated. If you are associated with a coven, they might make you wait until Imbolc until asking you to commit yourself. Of course, this all depends on your personal circumstances, their way of working and how long you have been training.

If you are a solitary and have not performed a self-dedication rite yet, then obviously this would be a good time to do it. Please note though, that self-dedication is not a compulsory part of your working. It should only ever be conducted when you feel ready and only if you want to. It should not be performed just because you think you ought to or because it is traditional to do it at Imbolc.

Self-dedication is a serious commitment and should not be taken lightly, even though it should not mean that you have to follow this path for the rest of your life.

Goddess Sabbat
Some Witches celebrate the Goddess Aradia on this day. She is a female Avatar. This is a deity that has been sent down to Earth in a human form. The word Avatar comes from Hindu mythology. She was supposed to the first Witch. Therefore, she is a Goddess of teaching and wisdom of the craft.

Some Goddess-orientated Witches base their Sabbat ritual around renewing their Craft vows or saying them for the first time. It is a joyous occasion filled with hope, excitement and achievement whether new or old to the Craft.

White should be used to decorate the altar. White should also be worn and cooked. Moon cakes, fish, bread and mushrooms are therefore appropriate foods. Gifts should be given to new initiates. If you are a Solitary, buy yourself something and present it to yourself later in the ritual.