We are only a few weeks away from Imbolc now, and if you haven’t already, thoughts are turning to creating an altar to honor the festival. An altar is part of your sacred space, and it doesn’t matter how big or small your altar is, if it works for you, then that is all that matters. I would normally have an altar set up on my pine chest, with a nice pale yellow cover and go from there, but with my 8 and a half month old kitten, Phoenix, I couldn’t do that this year, so I collected some things together and made an altar on my windowsill. I can put it up and take it down easily, so come Imbolc I know that I can quickly put it up and then take it down once I wish to take it down. You go with what works for you and ignore what people say you ‘should’ have.
The first thing I think about is color because color is an integral part of my craft, but it’s also a fantastic starting place. What kind of feeling do you want your altar to have? Color a great way of setting the mood for your Imbolc celebrations. Red, White and Green are very traditional colors for Imbolc, as the white represents snow, red represents the sun, and the sacred fire that is kept safe by Brighid, and green represents the promise of life that lies beneath the earth. Yellow and orange can also be used to represent the sun, and brown can be used to represent the earth that life will spring forth from. You don’t have to only use plain fabrics, you can go crazy. Why not find a nice floral pattern, or tartan inspired material. You can use as many colors as you want, go crackers, mix colors, mix patterns. It’s YOUR altar, remember.
The overriding theme of Imbolc is New Life, and the Earth’s waking to bring forth new life, and new beginnings, and what you have on your altar should reflect that for you and your path. Imbolc is the herald of Spring, it is announcing that Spring is coming and life is starting to wake. You can use Spring flowers on your altar. I like the idea of having some snowdrops on little terracotta posts that have been painted white. Evergreens are also something you can think about, showing the permanence of nature, that even when in the depths of Winter, nature is always around you. Candles are something that you can incorporate more color into your altar. You can use taper candles, tea-lights, pillar candles or like me a mixture of different kinds. I like the aesthetics of different height candles. Something that might not always come to mind is bringing some soil from outside and place some candles in it. You can see in these pictures below that I have done just that.
Imbolc is closely associated with the Celts, so using Celtic symbols, and the Celtic knot bit here are some other correspondences for Imbolc
Correspondences for Imbolc
Colors: Colors associated with Imbolc are, red, orange, yellow, green pink, white and brown
Crystals: Crystals associated with Imbolc include (but not limited to) Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Onyx, Ruby, Turquoise, Kunzite, Quartz and Rose Quartz
Decorations: Decorations that can be used to associate with Imbolc are, a witches broom, lights and lamps, yellow flowers, candles and candle wheels, Brighid’s Bed, Spring Bride Dolls, Brighid’s Crosses, horseshoes, seeds, wells, fires.
Foods: Food that is associated with Imbolc include, egg dishes, dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt, scones, cakes, biscuits, curry dishes, pepper, onion, chives, garlic, seeds, herbal teas, and spiced wines.
Spell work: Spell work that can be done at Imbolc include, catalyst spells, spells for beginnings, rejuvenation spells, purification spells, spells for good luck for future endeavors.
Deities: Deities that can be associated with Imbolc include Athena, Brynhild, Branwen, Vesta, Brighid, Lucina, Bannink, Diancecht, Essus, Pan, Braggi, Cernunnos, Faunus
Incense: Incenses associated with Imbolc include, Basil, Bay Leaf, Camphor, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Jasmine, Lotus, Myrrh, Primrose, Rosemary, Violet, Vanilla and Wisteria.
Herbs: Herbs that are associated with Imbolc include, Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Blackberry, Celandine, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Coltsfoot, Crocus, Dandelion, Dill, Frankincense, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Nettle, Primrose, Rosemary, Saffron, Tansy, Violets
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