Imbolc is a time of purification and rebirth; sacred to Brighid, keeper of the Sacred Flame. I decided to make an Imbolc charm to hang above my altar to remind me of the meaning of this Sabbat. It was really rather simple to make:
I used white, orange and pale green tapestry wool. White for the snow and Brighid, orange for her sacred flame and courage, and pale green for new plant growth and life. I braided the wool in three groups of three, so nine braids in all. Then braided those into three thicker braids and finally those into one thick braid. I chose multiples of three because of its sacredness to the Goddess, as there were actually three Brighids (sisters). The braids were simply tied off at the ends with knots.
Then, using gold Sculpey polymer clay I fashioned three discs and on each one imprinted an Ogham symbol. I chose:
Birch – commonly known as ‘Lady of the Woods’, the name ‘birch’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon words ‘beorc’ or ‘birce’ meaning white or shining. Birch is associated with purification, protection, fertility and healing. Magickally, birch is strongly associated with new beginnings, cleansing, purification, protection and new creativity. It makes effective healing or protective talismans.
Alder – the alder derives its name from either the Old English word “ealdor” meaning “chief” or the old German word “elawer” meaning “reddish-yellow”, the colour of the cut wood. The buds of the alder are set in a spiral arrangement on the branch and represent resurrection. A fire made from alder wood and lit at Imbolc symbolises the power to release the earth from cold and death. Playing a whistle made from the wood heralds the arrival of the sun.
Oak – the Oak is a tree which is perhaps more honoured than any other. It is one of the trees which was once considered to be the father of mankind and the Romans believed that men sprang from the Oak. Considered, in England, to be the King of the forest, the roots of the Oak are said to extend as far underground as its branches do above making it a symbol of the law “as above, so below”. The Oak represents strength and protection. It teaches persistence and endurance.
I chose these three Ogham symbols because, for me, they feel good symbols for this time of year. After cooking the discs I attached them to the charm with white thread. Then the whole charm was finished off by adding white silk snowdrop flowers.
This was a fun thing to do, as well as being easy. I’m now thinking I might do one for every Sabbat, using different threads and decorations.