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Imbolc, the Feast of Saint Brigid, Candlemas, and Groundhog Day

Wow, what a week!  Here we are slowly moving out of the Mystical Blue Moon and now we have more reasons to celebrate.

Candlemas, also known as Imbolc, the Feast of Saint Brigid, and Groundhog’s Day, occurs on February 2. It marks the middle of Winter and holds the promise of Spring.  This is a time of purification, cleansing, and purging after time spent reflecting during the Yuletide. It’s a time to shake off that dust, lift your chin up, take a deep breath of fresh air, and take charge of your life. Life is cyclical; all things end but are met with new beginnings.  Embrace the ever-present energy that moves us forward, that reminds us every stage of life is temporary.

History of Candlemas
Near the end of the winter season, as ancient people looked forward to the planting season of spring, many different cultures found ways to celebrate this shift from the cold and dark days to a happier and more productive time of year. Ancient Celts took this time of year to honor the Goddess Brigid. Brigid was the Goddess of purification and fertility. They would honor her by processing from the village across the fields while praying for the health of their soil before planting.

When Christianity was moving through the world, they too decided to place a festival of light around this time of year. Candlemas in the Christian tradition is better known by two different names – The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus and The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a tradition for the churches to bring forward all of the candles to be used for the rest of the year for a special blessing.

Imbolc
Imbolc is an ancient Celtic festival that marks midwinter in the solar calendar and is a time for preparation for coming out of the dark time of the year and into the light of spring. Although the trees are still bare and there still may be ice and snow, the earth is beginning to stir deep within Her roots. Nature is slowly beginning to wake up!

The same can be said for those who walk a spiritual path.

Many celebrate Imbolc as the Festival of Fire. Bonfires and candles are therefore appropriate for celebration, as are the colors seen in a fire—white, yellow, and orange. Light green can also be used if you’re honoring the lead-up to spring.

The Feast of Saint Brigid
This is the time of celebration for Saint Brigid, which teaches us about healing, home, hearth, birth, inspiration, and the work we must do inside and outside ourselves to walk out of the cold of winter and into the warmth of spring.. St. Brigid is the female equivalent of St. Patrick in Ireland, but there are no parades in her honor.  It is a festival of spiritual purification and dedication.

Groundhogs Day
Groundhogs Day derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees a shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if he does not, due to cloudiness, spring season will arrive early.

The weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger is the forecasting animal. This appears to be an enhanced version of the lore that clear weather on Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter.

Once again make sure you take advantage of these festive celebrations and enjoy them in your own special way.

What You Can Do To Welcome These Celebration Of New Beginnings.

Do a self purification — Cleanse your body with an Epsom Salts bath (Earth), Your thoughts with incense (Air), Your will with a candle flame (Fire), Your emotions with water (Water), and Your spiritual body with a healing crystal (Spirit). Bless candles that you will be using throughout the year. Invoke Saint Brigid for creative inspiration. Take a Nature walk and look for the first signs of Spring. Reflect upon/reaffirm spiritual vows and commitments you have made.

Many blessings,
Cherokee Billie

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Comments on: "Four Festivals in One Day! February 2, 2018" (2)

  1. Such a great interesting article, thank you Cherokee!

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