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Imbolc, with the Littles

As you may have gathered from my recent post, I rather love the upcoming holy day and the Divine whom it honors. I want to share with you some of the fun Brigid things we did as my daughter was growing up.  Some of it is old lore made fresh, some of it is new.  I don't know the difference any more--it is all so deeply ingrained in my knowings around this coming of Spring.  I shan't give you sources for what I do, except that I do them and have done them for many years.

Imbolc is a wonderful time for children and there are many ways for the Littles to be involved.  On the night before Imbolc begins (which we celebrate as a three-day festival), Brigid travels the wide World, accompanied by a Cow.  She brings blessings to children and to pregnant women and She has many places to visit.  Those good children who love Bridey know that before bedtime they need to do three important things.

First, they must set out a little bed for Her to rest upon.  We always made one from a shoe box.  We'd roll up some soft batting and tuck a cloth napkin around it.  A lace handkerchief made a pretty pillow and a thick cotton washcloth looked much like the cotton blankets we had on our own beds.

The bed was left on the floor, near the heater.  If we had had a fireplace, we could have left it on the hearth. One year, my daughter left a chocolate on Brigid's pillow--ever the savvy hostess.

The next thing was to leave a bowl of oats out for the Cow.  Plain oats, dry, in a small wooden bowl were what we thought she'd like.  Sometimes a baby carrot was left on top.

Thirdly, a warm rich bottled Guinness was left, usually near the bed. Even a Divine needs a little nourishment as She travels about, blessing the World.

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H. Byron Ballard is a ritualist, teacher, speaker and writer. She has taught at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Southeast Her essays are featured in several anthologies, including “Birthed from Scorched Hearts“ (Fulcrum Press), “Christmas Presence“ (Catawba Press), “Women’s Voices in Magic” (Megalithica Books), “Into the Great Below” and “Skalded Apples” (both from Asphodel Press.) Her book Staubs and Ditchwater: an Introduction to Hillfolks Hoodoo (Silver Rings Press) debuted in June 2012. Byron is currently at work on Earth Works: Eight Ceremonies for a Changing Planet. Contact her at,


  • Pumpkyn
    Pumpkyn Thursday, 17 January 2013

    Wow, those are wonderful traditions to share with little ones. I will definitely have to incorparate some of those into my own traditions in the future. I had read that Brigid was protector of pregnant women and children but I had never heard the part about the cow.

  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Thursday, 17 January 2013

    She's many tales are attributed to Her, so many wonderful traditions. I also use the time of Imbolc in its guise as Candlemas to bless new candles for the year.

  • Pumpkyn
    Pumpkyn Thursday, 17 January 2013

    I have recently began reading the book "Candlemas, Feast of the Flames" by Amber K, and Azrael Arynn K. Have you read this book? If you did what did you think of it? Are there better books out there about Brigid?

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