Saturday 29 January 2011

Imbolc open rituals and events

Imbolc is the pagan festival to mark the quickening of the year and takes place on February 2. The word Imbolc is thought to be derived from the Gaelic word Iomelc, which means ewe's milk, and may originate in an old Irish festival at the start of the lambing season. Christians celebrate Candlemas in at the start February, which is also a spring festival.

Here is a reminder of some of the Imbolc open rituals and events taking place in London and a few in other parts of England. You can also see them listed on my events page, which you can access through the link at the top of my blog. I'll be posting my usual list of pagan events for the week ahead on Monday.

Every night to Sunday 6 February; The Imbolc Blues. Play written and presented by The Night Kitchen Cabaret. Venue: Clerkenwell Theatre, 24 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE. Show begins at 7.45pm, with fun and games after the show until approximately 10.45pm. Tickets £12. Tel: 020 7274 4888.

Saturday, January 29; Free and Open Gorsedd Imbolc Rite by the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri at The Sun Circle, Avebury, Wilts, Avebury, United Kingdom. Druidic style open ceremony to celebrate the first stirrings of renewed life & to call in the Spring - all faith paths welcome. Meet at the Red Lion pub from noon for ceremony from 1.30pm-3pm. Offerings of bread or cake, mead, poetry and song are welcome.

Sunday 30 January. Exploring Imbolc: Symbolism, Folklore, Custom, Magic. One-day workshop with Suzanne Corbie at Treadwells, 34 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7PB. All handouts, samples, ingredients, teas, coffees included in the price of £55 (£25 deposit, balance due on the day). Time: 11am to 6pm. Booking essential and very limited places. Tel: 020 7240 8906 or email:

Sunday 30 January; Anderida Gorsedd Imbolc open ritual at the Long Man of Wilmington, Sussex. Meet near the car park between 1.30pm and 2pm for a walk up to the chalk hill figure at 2pm. Afterwards back to the Giants Rest pub in Wilmington for a social drink together.

Sunday, 30 January; Tribe of Avalon Imbolc Walk and Pilgrimage. A sacred walk to honour the Maiden Goddess Bridie in a walk along the ley line path from St Paul’s Cathedral, London, to St Bride’s Church, the sacred site once dedicated to the Goddess Brigit as Bride who became St Bride in the Christian Church. After saying poems at St Bride's Well, there will be a visit to the nearby Punch for food and drink. Bring poems in honour of Goddess to share. Meet Elle and Myfanwy at St Paul’s Tube Station (Central line) no later than 12.15pm. This is a free event, but bring money to buy your own drinks and food at the pub and for any donation you wish to make to St Bride’s to support maintenance of this site.

Saturday 5 February; Marsden Imbolc Fire Festival. Popular annual event features a procession, a fire 'circus', drama and music. The free event starts at 7pm. Meet at Marsden Information Point, 20-26 Peel Street, Marsden, Kirklees, HD7 6BW. For more details, call 01484 845595

Sunday 6 February; Imbolc (Candlemas) Public Ritual on Primrose Hill. Celebrate the Druidic Festival of Imbolc, or Candlemas, the third in the series of eight festivals in the Ogdoadal Cycle in the Druidic Year. It will take place in the Hawthorne Grove on Primrose Hill, Regent's Park, London NW1, under the aegis of the Loose Association of Druids. Afterwards there will be a social at the Washington pub, 50 Englands Lane, London NW3 4YD. Ritual starts at 12.30pm. Free event, just turn up.

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