Imbolc, sabbats and moon dates for your diary

Imbolc marks the beginning of spring on the Pagan wheel of the year.

It’s the first festival – or ‘sabbat’- of 2015.

Awareness of the wheel of the year and the eight sabbats is helpful when reading tarot – particularly for those who lean towards Pagan tarot decks and card interpretations.

I wanted one simple place to be able to look up these dates, so I’ve created a new page on Little Red Tarot for us. It shows the dats of the eight sabbats, plus the full and new moon dates for 2015.

Photo 17-01-2015 12 21 13

Imbolc is on Sunday 1st February

In Celtic tradition, it’s the beginning of spring, and a festival of fire.

Fire burns away the debris of winter, snow melts and new shoots appear. It’s a time when you notice that the days are getting just that little bit longer, and spot tiny signs of life. In farming, it’s the beginning of the lambing season. The ‘quickening of the year’, some call it, as everything suddenly seems to come to life.

The original word Imbolg means ‘in the belly’, and therein you have the underlying energy. All is pregnant and expectant – and only just visible if at all, like the gentle curve of a ‘just-showing’ pregnancy. It is the promise of renewal, of hidden potential, of earth awakening and life-force stirring. Here is hope. We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life’s insatiable appetite for rebirth.

The Goddess and the Green Man


This is also a time when the Celtic goddess Brigid was honoured. She is known as a fertility goddess, but also as a goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft. Smithcraft! Of creating from fire and metal. She sounds like the Queen of Wands to me.

She is, of course, a goddess of fire, celebrated and honoured with bonfires, candles and special wood being burned on the hearth. Here’s a beautiful collage Ellen made to celebrate Bridid and her fiery creativity!

Here she is faceless and fiery, caring for her eternal flame with nurturing attention, She inspires me to rekindle my own fire and start creating again…

Greylady’s Hearth

Imbolc is a time for hope.

In terms of tarot suits and their elemental and seasonal correspondences, we are moving from the earthy, heavy season of winter into the clear air of spring – or from a season of hard-working pentacles into one of thinking, planning swords…but right now, we are mid-way between them. We’re thinking ahead, we can feel that change coming and in that change, a personal shift, a new breath of life. It’s exciting, but right now, it’s still rooted in the cold earth.

That feels good to me – like thinking big, whilst keeping it real. Coming up with strategies that are firmly rooted in where we are right now.

Here’s a three-card Imbolc tarot spread I created a few years ago:

Light a candle, take a moment to appreciate its warmth and light. Let it symbolise the coming of spring, more warmth, more light, and the lengthening of days.

Shuffle your cards. Lay the cards out in a simple row of three.

1. Where am I now?  |  2. What should I focus on?  |  3. What can I leave behind?

Simple, and powerful – a moment to appreciate your own new shoots and think about what they might become.

You can read a reading I did using this spread here.

Meanwhile, Imbolc blessings, and happy first-day-of-spring!

PS Here’s a longer, ‘quickening’ Imbolc tarot spread on Worts and Cunning.

The Elements of the Year

If you liked this post, you’ll enjoy my hand-drawn poster, which shows the eight sabbats and dates, plus the elemental and tarot suit correspondences (it’s available in the shop!)

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  1. Ellen says:

    As the beginning of Spring, Imbolc Is a very promising start of the new year.Each year I always have the intention to follow the wheel of the year but but somehow I never get around to celebrate all eighth of them. Well maybe this year!
    Thank you for mentioning my collage for Brigid in your post.
    Big Hug

  2. Victoria says:

    Ah, lovely Imbolc. Early Feb is one of my favourite times of year; often still wintery on the ground but with that palpable change in the light in the sky. Thanks for sharing the spread, and for all the great links (including your fab, fiery collage, Ellen!).

  3. Jeanna says:

    This is so timely. I’m going to be following sabbats this year for the first time (they are marked in my planner!) and this post was so helpful for how to better incorporate tarot practice into that observance.

  4. lustreats says:

    Thanks for sharing. This is one of my least favorite times of the year but perhaps thinking about these energies just taking shape and awaiting spring can help me make more peace with it.

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