Imbolg in Ireland


A Gaelic Festival - Imbolg means “in the belly” and refers to the coming of milk. It is also the availability of lamb meat during the cold season. We celebrate this today without connection to its significance in the past because our refrigerators protect us and a multitude of shops open 24/7. Imagine no shops and it's dark, wet and cold and the only foods you have are the seeds for the next harvest and all the time you know that there are a multitude of young lambs “in the belly” and the importance of this cross-quarter day becomes real.

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Imbolg is also called IMBOLC, Oimelc, Candlemas, Feast of Lights, Groundhog Day (in USA) and Brigit's Day and this is so because the original connection to the daughter of the Dagda (Bríd) was lost or more correctly displaced by succeeding religions.

St Brigid like Saint Patrick was never canonised by the Pope of the Catholic Church. She was known (as was Patrick) as Naomh Bríd or Holy Brigid. The Naomh meaning Holy was also applied to Patrick and many others. The Catholic Church in Ireland decided to translate Naomh as Saint as it suited their purpose. The famous Brigid was said to be born in 453 at Faughart, County Louth, Ireland and died 1 February 523 at Kildare, Ireland. Her death is reported as being of natural causes and she was buried in Downpatrick, in east Northern Ireland with Saint Patrick and Saint Columba. Her head was removed to Jesuit church in Lisbon, Portugal. No Pope would call her a Saint. Her name means fiery arrow (= brigid).

But like so many other things from our deep history the truth lies underneath the written word of the monastic scribes. It is not possible to fix the date of the death of this holy Brigid because there were no calendars at the time. The current calendar in use by the “white civilised” world was only agreed fully in the 1800’s. Before that date there was utter confusion and no system of dating days of birth for annual celebrations was available for anyone. Details on this system of False Time is at

By calculating the astronomical regression of the night skies astronomers have shown the true date of Christ’s actual birth. This was in March 4bc and not at December 0 or 1 or -1 but four years before his claimed birth. His March birth was shifted about 800 years ago to its December 25th date to suit the politics of the time. Deeper again - we see that our holy Brigid was a monastic diversion of devotion from the native Bríd, daughter of the Dagda to her catholic replacement.

This is her story -Brigid, Breo Saighead, Brid, Brighid. Meaning - "Fiery Arrow or Power". Bríd is a pre Celtic three-fold goddess, the daughter of The Dagda, and the wife of Bres of the Formorians. Brighid's three aspects are
(1) Fire of Inspiration as patroness of poetry,
(2) Fire of the Hearth, as patroness of healing and fertility
(3) Fire of the Forge, as patroness of smithcraft and martial arts.

As wife to Tuireann she bore three sons Creidhne, Luchtaine and Giobhniu. She has an apple orchard in the Otherworld to which bees travel to obtain it's magical nectar.

The old legends of ancient Ireland tell us that on the eve of Imbolg, The Cailleach, or Veiled One (Hag aspect) drank from the Well of Youth at sunrise. Because of this the Hag was changed into her Maiden aspect and recognised as the young goddess called Brigid. Brid is the patroness and her father Dagda is the patron of the Celtic Druids of then and now.

The timing for the celebration of Imbolg as given in Irelands Druidschool is explained in depth at In its most basic - there were no clocks, no calendars and the passage of time was measured in Ireland by the penetration of a sunbeam into designed passages in stone cairns to exactly light up a section of a stone with carvings upon it. This happens even today so the ancestral calendar is still accurate. The same solar alignment that determines the correct time for Imbolg is also the exact same alignment for Samhain. This means if you were to stand outside of Cairn ‘L’ at Sliabh na Callighe and look 117* east of north you would see the sun rise over the Lambay Volcano to shine in through the passage and onto the Quartz standing stone inside on Imbolg and on Samhain. There is only one cairn in Ireland with a standing stone inside it and it just happens to be made of Quartz and to take the morning sunbeam on Samhain when the Sun rises at 10* of Scorpio and on Imbolg when the Sun rises at 10* of Aquarius.

This is one of Eightfolds of the Solar Year of the Tuatha De Danann and Samhain and Imbolg share the same alignment to Sliabh na Callighe, Beltine and Lughnasa share the same alignment to Cnoc Lugh, the two Equinoxes share the same alignment to Summerhill, the Summer Solstice has its own alignment to the Hill of the Fair Gods and the Winter Solstice has its own alignment to Brú na Boinne or Newgrange. All these alignments for the Eightfold Solar year have the fulcrum or pivotal point of the leaking energies from the volcano being wrapped back into the solar wind. This is earth magnetism and landscape healing at an extraordinary level.

This knowledge was lost or so it seemed but the Gods and Goddesses and the Guardians of the sacred temples await true seekers with whom they share freely.

Imbolg, Imbolc, Ireland, Brid, brigid, brighid
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CalonDdraig's picture

The thing I love about this

The thing I love about this article is that it expounds on other commonly available stuff and takes it deeper. It does that through Relation, for instance explaining Brighid's family relations. It's nice to add that depth to it.

This article filles me with the inspiration of this time of the year... the Awen of the unfolding dance... the Imbas I think it is in Irish? It makes me sensitive to the time of year and has been a great primer for Imbolc.


Imblog in Ireland

This brought a smile, additionally some interesting food for thought in relation to alignments to research further, when connected to my personal journey. Many thanks for sharing this.