This is an overview of how the Lythia Pagans celebrate Imbolc. Blessings and love to all.
Celebrated around February 2 this is the first harvest Sabbat after Yule, the God is an infant. Born at Yule. The days are growing longer and the sun shines bright in the sky. This is a time of happiness. A neat aspect of Imbolc is that naturally this is around the time of the calving season. This is why harvesting milk is such a big deal. This ritual of harvesting milk and getting the heard ready to bring forth the white gold has been passed down for generations. In the past, harvesting milk meant sustaining life. This day is seen as holy because it is a sign that the God and Goddess always provide. Winter has loosened up its mighty grip and the spring is coming forth thawing the frozen hearts and brightening the sorrowed filled minds. The earth begins to yawn and stretch as it comes to life. The harvesting of milk is the first sign of a new beginning. Milk is very important to even those who are not within the Pagan faith. Mother’s milk is the first nourishment we have. Thus the milk of the first sun brings forth an intense need. Fasting allows the body to yearn for what it is missing. The white substance of the mother is coveted at this time.
The day before the Imbolc celebration is a time for cleansing. This is where the notion of spring cleaning came. Cleansing for the Lythia Pagans is an intense part of all rituals of the year. Not only do they clean their bodies and homes, but also the mind and spirit. This is a time of meditation and internal discovery. Brushing off the cobwebs of the faith is necessary for a pure sun to appear and fill the heart. A cup filled with grime cannot be filled with refreshing water. This is the time to bring purity back into the lives of those who have gone cold over the harsh winter.
A week before the actual Sabbat, Lythia Pagans light white candles to symbolize the infant sun. As do many other Pagan sects, these white candles are often placed in the window seals to let the sun know to shine upon that particular home. This is also the first day of a weeklong fast from dairy products. Imbolc celebrates the wonderful flavors of milk. The Lythia believe that one must know what it is to live without. If one does not suffer a day in his/her life, he/she will never know how beautiful life can be. After this weeklong fast, the Lythia have a feast spotlighting dairy products. The celebration traditionally calls forth the young God, but the Lythia do not do rituals involving only a single deity. Each ritual at least mentions the Father God and the Mother Goddess. The God and Goddess rule in tandem and the Lythia deem it taboo not to celebrate both of them during major Sabbats. This is shocking, especially compared to the strong faiths that spotlight femininity and the power of the female presence.
The rituals for Imbolc, traditionally involved a candle lit vigil throughout the field clearing the old energy and expelling negativity and spirits that have lain in the field throughout the winter months. There are far less people now that own farm land than there used to, and thus this ritual may not be practical for many practitioners. The Lythia sect has modified this ritual and made it possible to do it without the field.