Imbolc Altar

This weekend, I decided to turn over my seasonal altar.  I’ll be honest, I’ve never been great about celebrating Imbolc.  It’s kind of my slacker Sabbat.  Between the pagan holidays and the more mainstream ones, I’m holiday-ed out by February.  But this season, as the coming deepest winter months approach, I decided I would put some effort into dressing the altar for Imbolc.

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It’s too early to think about spring, but it’s hard to create a wintery altar without making it look like Yule/Christmas The Sequel.  I decided to go with a white and silver color palette, which I think makes the transition nicely.

The first thing I did to get inspired was take advantage of the amazing weather this weekend and go on a nature walk near the Manassas Battlefields.  Every sunny day warm enough to walk in is a blessing this time of year, because you never know when it will be the last one before Spring.  So bundle up, grab a mug of coffee and a blanket to wrap around your shoulders, and take in the unique beauty of the winter landscape.

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The bright green and red of this moss and these berries really jumped out at me.  Even in a mostly barren landscape, there is always the color of life!

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I found these acorns on the path we were walking, and I had an idea for them right away.  I love to bring the outdoors inside and make it look like it belongs there.  One easy way to do this with hard, stable things like driftwood, pine cones and acorns is to spray paint them with metallic color to make them look “gilded.”  I chose a metallic silver to symbolize the frost.

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Imbolc is also sometimes called Candlemas because it is traditionally about the return of the light.  I went with lots of candles and a lantern to draw focus to this.  The tree branch you see in the background was found in my backyard.  I spray-painted it white and took some snow flakes off the Yule tree to hang on it.

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This is a Seven Day candle.  It’s sold commonly in grocery stores and Dollar Trees where there is a high Catholic population, but I like to use them during Sabbat weeks.  I lit this one for the photos, but I will extinguish it and burn it again during the week of Imbolc as a simple nod to the holiday.

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Enjoy!

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12 thoughts on “Imbolc Altar”

  1. Candlemas has always been an important private ritual for me. Even though it is the dead of winter, and i turn older soon afterwards, the candles represent the flickering of the candle flame you can see deep in Hades cave as Persephone slowly weaves her way back out into nature, bringing increasingly longer days, to finally arrive all green at Lady Day and then May Day. Blessings of the new light upon you and yours.

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  2. Reblogged this on Serpent, Wolf & Raven and commented:
    I’m ready to pull down all the holiday decorations (and its not even new year’s yet), but I hate the drabness of the post-holiday season. I just might set up my Imbolgc altar early this year, as well as take a cue from this post. I agree that Imbolgc decorations are often identical to Yule decorations. I like the idea of a wintry altar I can add green to as the Sabbat approaches.

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  3. I’m glad I’m not the only person with Candlemas on the mind. I’ve been trying to ignore this, because it’s “too soon.” To me Candlemas is the time to clear out what is no longer useful, especially in the domestic realm. Since my house is usually in a state of disorder this requires me to get into Candlemas spirit earlier than most people.

    I love the silver and white color scheme. It’s wintery without being Yule-y. You’ve given me some ideas.

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