Imbolc, Candlemas, Brigit’s Day: Welcome Spring

Goddess, Imbolc, ritual, Seasonal Greetings

This Saturday February 3 is the mid-point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. This auspicious day heralds the first day of Spring, the day Winter passes and Spring emerges. This is often the day that we begin to notice that it is getting lighter – brighter a little earlier in the morning, and night falls a little bit later at night. And on this day as we celebrate the beginning of spring, we honor Brigit.

Brigit, Celtic Fire Goddess and Christian Saint, is associated with healing, poetry, and smithcraft. At this time of year, when the newness of spring is just under the ground and tucked within the buds forming on branches, I am reminded of the power of creation that bubbles all around us.

On this beautiful morning, I open my arms to breathe in this energy of creation and call upon Brigit to guide. She reminds me to create beauty in this world, and to do it with love. I am re-inspired by Anne Herbert’s phrase: Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.

Take a moment now as we perch on the verge of Spring. Hitch onto the power of the season and create beauty, for it is sorely needed in our world. A smile, a kind word, a lovely note, an exquisite image, a heart-felt touch – let Brigit guide us all to honor and utilize our power of creation. Then, open yourself to be blessed by the beauty all around you.

A note on date and nomenclature: This day—called a “cross-quarter” day because it falls between the solstice and equinox—is known variously as Imbolg (a Gaelic or Old Irish word meaning “in the belly,” referring to pregnant ewes), Candlemas (originating from the Church of England), or Brigit’s Day (honoring the Celtic Goddess and Catholic Saint). Imbolg is traditionally celebrated February 2nd, or the night before, on February 1st. For the Northern Hemisphere another more exact way of calculating it is when the Sun is at 15° Aquarius (in the Tropical calendar), which this year falls on February 3rd. See more about the seasons here http://www.archaeoastronomy.com/2015.html .

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Solitary Ritual at the Cross Quarter

Goddess, ritual

Tomorrow is the cross-quarter day between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice, often called Samhain (traditionally celebrated on Oct 31/Nov 1). This day heralds the beginning of the Season of the Dark, the first day of Winter.

Though daylight savings brings more light in the morning, we feel the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer. There is a part of me that longs for this cozy-curling-up time of year, ready to put aside the hustle of the last season of harvest and incubate until the light returns at the beginning of February. But, alas, at the breakneck pace of all of our lives, that is not entirely possible.

While the traditional celebration of Samhain, All Hallows Eve, and Halloween are often in groups, I find particular solace in a ritual at the actual cross-quarter day. My obligations as priestess and costume-fancier are over, so now I can spend time in solitary ceremony. At our full moon ritual last Friday, we cast the circle with salt. I had forgotten how powerful a salt circle can be; I felt completely held and protected between the worlds. So tomorrow night, I am going to make time for a solitary ritual: me, a salt circle, a candle, and flowers as an offering.

Take a moment for yourself at this powerful cross-quarter day. Release some of the excesses of the harvest season; anything that you do not need for the coming winter should be left behind as compost for the spring. Lighten your load, and get ready for the curling-up time of year.

Blessings of the Season to you – Anne

A note on seasons, names and dates: The Greeting of the Dark is the first day of Winter, celebrated on the cross-quarter day at the midpoint between Mid-Autumn and Mid-Winter. This day is at the cross of the quarters, the quarters of the year being the equinoxes and solstices. Astrologically, the First Day of Winter may be calculated as the date the Sun is at 15° Scorpio, which currently Falls around November 6th and 7th (Other methods for determining the cross-quarter days and charts showing the date ranges for the seasons can be found at: http://www.archaeoastronomy.com.) This festival is commonly called Samhain (pronounced sow’ en, from the Gaelic, meaning “the end of summer”), traditionally celebrated October 31st. The term Halloween, common parlance in the United States, descends from the Catholic tradition of All Hallows Eve, or Hallowe’en, which is observed on October 31st, literally the “eve” of All Hallows Day. All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows Day, occurs on November 1st and All Souls Day on November 2nd.