Today – Friday the 31st of January – for many (myself included) will be a very sad day indeed as we officially leave the European Union, what however is most interesting I think is that it proceeds a very special and important day for many of us on the spiritual path namely Imbolc – the first of February!
Imbolc – also called (Saint) Brigid’s Day is a traditional Celtic festival marking the beginning of spring. It is held on 1 February and was widely observed as a Pagan festival associated with the Goddess Brigid and later Christianised into the festival of Saint Brigid, who is thought to be a Christianisation of the Goddess.
At Imbolc Brigid’s crosses and a doll like figure of Brigid–called a Brídeóg–were made. The figure would then be paraded from house-to-house by girls, and sometimes accompanied by “straw boys”. Brigid was said to visit one’s home at Imbolc. To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, and items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless. Brigid was also invoked to protect homes and livestock. People participated in special feasts and visits to holy wells and it was a time for divination and magic.
A festival of new beginnings it marks the beginning of the return of spring, continuing on from Yule – where the light of Spring was first invoked in the heart of the darkness of Winter, encouraging the wheel to keep on turning and acknowledging the first new signs of life – like snow drops and the return of bird song – as encouraging signs of rebirth and renewal. At this time mankind begins to emerge from their self imposed hibernation and embraces the world again, optimistic and confident in the returning wonders of life and nature to the Earth.
Imbolc is closely followed by Candlemas – 2nd of February – also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is a Christian Holy Day commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It falls on February 2, which is traditionally the 40th day of and the conclusion of the Christmas Epiphany season. On Candlemas, many Christians bring their candles to their local church where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year – these blessed candles serve as a symbol of Jesus Christ who referred to Himself as the Light of the World!
However you choose to look at it then this is a time to focus on new beginnings and possibilities and to seek blessing – to call upon the Divine to help us make the most of a potentially disastrous situation and to try to focus positively on what lies ahead rather than what we are loosing or letting go of. I know for many of us this will be almost impossible but as light workers we must try. choosing not to allow or use our energy to add to the problem but rather to bend more towards the solution.
Over the weekend then light your candles and make your offerings and focus on the wheel turning towards the light of spring and summer and all the wonders that this will bring. focus on hope and joy and blessing and open your hearts to the power of the goddess – Jesus and the Mother Mary and all the light that they too might gift us at this time.
May we all go forwards in light and hold the space for new growth to emerge from the darkness.