Imbolc is the time of hidden life – when life waits to burst forth, while still being in the depths of winter, and corresponds to infancy, when a person’s potential is hidden by their helplessness.
The hidden life of Imbolc corresponds to the bacteria stage of hidden life on earth, from around 4.5 billion years ago. During this time, the earth was also repeated plunged into a deep freeze, and frozen from pole to pole .
Imbolc is celebrated making candles to represent the heat of future combustion hidden in the wax. Colors, stones, or other things can be added to the candles as desired, and snowcandles can be made . To make a snowcandle, simple dig out a hollow in hardpacked snow in the desired shape. Attach the wick, and fill with wax. These or other candles can be sunk into the snow during the ritual to represnt hidden life under the snow. This protects the candle from the wind, and makes a glowing spot in the snow visible from a ways away if done when it is dark outside. We often use a candle for each of the 8 points of the wheel, saying something we are thinking of for the corresponding time of the coming year when placing it. Then we may go inside to watch the glowing spots, making predictions about which will go out last.
Snow cream can also be made by mixing 4 cups fresh snow with 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 1 tsp vanilla.
Another tradition for Imbolc relates to the early Universe. The early Universe had a lacy pattern caused by quantum fluctuations that enabled the galaxies to form. Swimme and Berry describe the young billion year old universe: “After the fireball ended, the Universe’s primordial blaze extinguished itself, only to burn once more in the form of lacy veils of galaxies filling all one billion years of space-time existence” ("The Universe Story", p. 34). Frequently lacy white fabrics are used for decorating at Imbolc, and the lace can represent the web of the young Universe itself, and the Creativity it has taken to bring forth all that we witness from the hidden potential of this lace.