February Eve Lore and Ritual

February Eve occurs on January 31st, when the Sun is in about 15° Aquarius. Some Wiccans celebrate this Sabbat on either February 1st or 2nd, and call it either Imbolc, Imbolg, Oimelc, or Candlemas. Imbolc comes from Old Irish, meaning “in the belly”, referring to the pregnancy of ewes; Oimelc means “ewe’s milk”.1 This Sabbat celebrates the first stirrings of spring, evidenced by these pregnancy. It is a Sabbat of renewal, honouring the growing love of the Lord and Lady.

It is believed that this Sabbat grew out of a celebration honouring the Celtic Goddess Brigid. (February 1st is the now the feast day of St. Brigid.) The goddess is believed to bring fertility, and is honoured by lighting candles and laying corn dollies on the hearth. Many Wiccans, especially those who practice a Celtic tradition, still celebrate Brigit on this Sabbat.

The weeks leading up to this Sabbat are a good time to clean the house, especially of any leftovers from the holiday season. You may also want to consider leaving some offerings outside, to feed the birds and to encourage the fairy folk to return fertility to the fields.


Items Required

  • usual working tools (these are up to the individual)
  • candles
  • seasonal flowers (hyacinth, daffodils, crocus)

Decorate your ritual space and altar with seasonal flowers if you are able to obtain any. Place several candles around your ritual area, being sure that they are held safely in sturdy holders. Do not light them yet. For your altar water, consider using some melted snow, but only if it has fallen recently and is relatively clean.

Begin the ritual with your usual Circle casting. Be sure to state that you are holding your Circle in honour of February Eve. (See my Circle casting here.)

High Priestess: Tonight the cold of winter still grips the earth, snow still lays upon the ground.2 But as the love of the Lord and Lady grows, the world begins to thaw.

High Priest: Winter may appear to still hold the earth in its grasp, but we know that the light half of the year is upon us. The Sun grows in strength every day, reflecting the Lord’s love for the Lady.

High Priestess: The ground may be frozen, and the flowers may be brown, but we know that the light half of the year is upon us. The earth is regaining its fertility, just as the Goddess’s love is blooming for the God.

High Priest: Let us light candles to celebrate the changing of the coming of the spring!

The High Priestess starts lighting the candles, passing a long candle to the High Priest who lights some more, and so on until all the candles are lit and everyone has had a chance to light some candles.

High Priestess: As winter comes to end, the stores of fresh food begin to dwindle. Today we may have the benefit of grocery stores and planes to bring us food from DAR away countries, but this wasn’t always the case.

High Priest: Even with food stores dwindling, people were not always willing to share and help their neighbours. Today we will share the story of the Stone Soup. Once, many years ago, a traveller came to a small, tired looking town carrying nothing but a pot. It was nearing the end of winter, and his food supply had run out. He asked several villages if they would share some food, but they all refused him.

High Priestess: The traveller was determined to make himself a good meal, so he set his pot in the middle of the town square, built a fire beneath it, and filled it with snow. As the snow melted and the water began to boil, the traveller tossed in some stones. By this time, a crowd of people had gathered around him to watch his antics. Playing to the crowd, he took a sip of a soup, declaring it to be good, but in need of a few carrots.

High Priest: He offered a taste to one of the women watching him, and she nodded thoughtfully. She had a few withered carrots in her root cellar, and rushed off to get them. The traveller added the carrots and gave the soup another stir. After another taste, he mused that it might taste a little better with some beef. Another woman rushed off, returning with some mouldy beef from her cupboard. The traveller quickly cut off the bad bits and added it to the soup. Soon, with a little more help from the villages, the traveller had made enough tasty soup for the entire village. After all of the villagers had their fill, the traveller packed up his pot and disappeared into the gathering darkness.

High Priestess: The story of the Stone Soup teaches us that if we work together we can have much more then if we remain separate. This is something wise to remember this time of year, when we are often facing the coldest weather and the most depressing days. When you head home, consider donating your old winter clothes and jackets to a charity.

High Priest: Although this night is cold, as we close this Circle we know that the Lord and Lady rest in each others arms and spring will soon be upon us.

It is now time to close the Circle. Afterwards, have a celebratory meal together. Each participant should bring something to the ritual that can be used to make a soup to share, reinforcing the message of the Stone Soup story.


1. Wikipedia: Imbolc

2. If there is no snow on the ground, change this line or omit it.