Imbolc, (pronounced "IM-bulk" or "EM-bowlk"), also called Oimealg, ("IM-mol'g), by the Druids, is the festival of the lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word "oimelc" which means "ewes milk". Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders. It is the time of Blessing of the seeds and consecration of agricultural tools. It marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal.
The first of three Spring Festivals. Lavender and white candles can be burned in honor of the holiday. This is a good time to work in the house, changing curtains, room painting, etc. The Candlemas Sabbat marks the time to welcome the spring. This festival is for fertility and to celebrate the things that are yet to be born, just barely waking under winter's cold shroud.
Colors: White, pink, red and yellow
Herbs: Basil and heather
Stones: Garnet, Ruby and Bloodstone
Foods: Poppy seed cakes, all dairy products, garlic
Supplies: 8 fresh husks from ears of corn (or dried ones from a craft store)
several cotton-wool balls, string, and a pair of scissors.
- To make the head and body, take a couple of corn husks and overlap them lengthways. Place a row of cotton-wool balls in the hollow of the husks, bend the husks over and tie them firmly at the neck and waist. Then slide a rolled husk, with the ends tied for hands, through the body.
- Position the arms midway between the doll's neck and her waist. If the cotton stuffing spills out through the armholes, push it back inside the body.
- To make the skirt, place some husks around the figure's waist so that they cover her head and body, and tie them firmly in place at the waist. Now fold the top ends down to make a skirt and trim them straight across the bottom.
- Stand your corn doll upright on her skirt and keep her through the winter until the following spring, when the new crops start to grow.