The Wheel of Life clicks one more spoke in its ever-shifting circle.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016, is Candlemas, also known as Imbolc, Feast of Lights, and Groundhog Day. This is a fire festival honoring the reemerging power of Lord Sun and Brigit, the patron saint of Candlemas. Brigit is a Celtic goddess. She is also the patroness of poets and artists, blacksmiths, and midwives. Shepherds and cattle herders honor her. Her Roman and Greek counterparts are Minerva and Athena.
Use the colors white, yellow, pink, light green, and light blue in your dress and decorations. Serve your guests a feast that may include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, all dairy products, poppyseed cakes, a variety of breads (muffins and scones included), peppers, onions, garlic, poultry, lamb, pork, spicy foods such as curry and chili, spiced wines, herbal teas. The spicy foods encourage Lord Sun’s continuing growth. The seeds, breads, dairy foods, and meats serve to honor Brigit.
You may choose to make a Candle Wheel, a circlet made from straw or bamboo canes or any smallish flexible branches tied in a circle and then wrapped loosely with colored ribbons. Affix eight or 13 pink or white candles to the wheel, but do not light them. The hostess or a female guest designated by the hostess wears this wheel as a crown during your celebrations to represent Brigit’s presence at your festivities.
You may also choose to make a Corn Dolly: Bundle and tie wheat sheaves or corn husks to represent a human form; dress the form in white and lay it in a Bridal Bed made from a woven basket or small box and draped with white fabric and colored ribbons. The Goddess is maiden at Candlemas; the Corn Dolly represents her future fruitfulness.
Polish all reflective surfaces and have many candles available to light so as to have their light reflected on the polished surfaces. This “spring cleaning” helps to encourage Lord Sun to continue to increase his power, as does extinguishing the fire in your fireplace or hearth or cauldron and then re-lighting it.
The Wheel of Life clicks one more spoke in its ever-shifting circle. Honor this season. Respect this season. Celebrate this season. Be sure to bless the seeds you plan to plant later in the year, but do not cut or pick any plants on this day!
Just as Groundhog Day includes weather forecasting, so does Candlemas, as this rhyme explains:
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.