Monday, February 2, 2009 is Candlemas, also known as Imbolc, Feast of Lights, Bridgit’s Day, and Groundhog Day. Lady Moon shifts from her first quarter to her second, Lord Sun enjoys his growing power. This is a fire festival; the use of light mimics and encourages Lord Sun’s revival. It is a time to focus on warmth, even in the midst of ice and snow. As with Groundhog Day, there are weather forecasts associated with this day:
“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, Winter will have another flight;
If on Candlemas Day be shower and rain, Winter is gone and will not come again.”
For gardeners in the Austin/Central Texas area, this is still a good time to plant lettuce seed. Lettuce prefers cooler temperatures and can take a light frost. Planting lettuce during Lady Moon’s first and second quarters in late January and early February tends to bring good results.
Decorate your table, altar, and person using the colors white, yellow, pink, light green, light blue; red and brown are also useful colors, but as accents to the pastels. Sun wheels, candle wheels, and corn dollies should be incorporated into your decorations. Imbolc means “in the belly” and February is when ewes drop their lambs. Hence, it is good to serve your guests any and all dairy products you like: cheeses, dishes involving sour cream and yogurt, quiche. Spicy foods are also good. as they represent the fiery quality of Lord Sun, so any recipe calling for curry or chili powder is apt. Seeds, peppers, onions, garlic, spiced wines, muffins, and seedcakes can be an important part of the feast, along with poultry, pork, and lamb.
Brigit is the patron saint of Candlemas. She is the patroness of poets and artists, blacksmiths and midwives. She is a fire goddess and a sun goddess and the Candle Wheel may be used to honor her: form or buy a ring of straw or other natural woven material; decorate the wheel with colored ribbons and either 8 or 13 candles. Use the same colors as for your altar and table decorations for Brigit’s Wheel candles and ribbons. The hostess may wear this wheel as a crown, or she may designate a female guest to wear it. Do not light the candles while wearing the wheel! At an appropriate time in your festivities the wheel may be removed and placed in the center of the table on a fire-proof base and then the candles may be lit.
Fire is frequently seen as a purifying medium and Candlemas is a time of purification. Many of the rituals associated with this festival are similar to spring cleaning rituals: vacuum and dust, wash all the windows, polish mirrors and all shiny surfaces. By doing so, you are creating a medium in which Lord Sun may be easily reflected. As light expands itself through reflection it becomes amplified. This promotes growth and encourages Lord Sun to continue to expand. At sundown, lead your guests in a procession throughout your house to bring in the light by shining a flashlight into every drawer, closet, and cabinet. Symbolically, this banishes all darkness from your home and invites brightness and lightness to reside with you.
Expansion this year involves more than Lord Sun. Jupiter moved into Aquarius on January 5, 2009 and stays in this sign all year. Jupiter is the planet of expansion; he carries with him energies of joy, delight, and prosperity. For those who are able to see the possibilities, this year in general and the first quarter of the year in specific holds the potential to be most rewarding, indeed.