Imbolc is the Sabbat between Yule and Ostara on February 2nd. It can be used in many ways to review our goals from Yule or set some new ones. However the original Imbolc was far more critical to our ancestors’ lives.
Winter is well underway and food stores may be depleted. The people need an assessment of Nature’s progress. Do they carefully ration what remains to last longer or can they relax and know more food is on the way. In other words, is Spring coming or will it be delayed. How is this done?
All groups of people have a wise person or Shaman. This person checks for all the signs of growth , weather etc. After a detailed assessment, the Shaman informs the settlement of Spring or more Winter. This answer is critical to the settlements survival and is not taken lightly.
As we have seen, many of the old holidays have been reused by those that came later in a religious format. Samhain became Halloween, Yule became Christmas, Ostara became Easter and so on.
Imbolc suffered a serious downgrade since becoming Ground Hog Day. Instead of being in touch with the signs from Nature to determine the coming of Spring, we let Phil the Ground Hog out of his cage. If he sees his shadow we have 6 more weeks of Winter. If not, Spring is imminent. Truly a scientific process!
I believe we should go back to consulting a Shaman.