Happy Candlemass 2007!

February 2nd, 2007 by Voxx

st brideFebruary 2nd is the time of Midwinter, celebrated as the Pagan holiday known as Imbolc, more commonly known as Candlemass, (also spelled “Candlemas”). Astrologically, this holiday is celebrated when the Sun is at 15 Degrees of Aquarius.

Imbolc, literally means,”in the belly” (of the Mother), for the seeds that are planted at the Winter Solstice are beginning to grow.

Symbolism of Imbolc: This is a time for ritual purification, and is a major Fire Festival (one of 4 celebrated by the ancient Celts). Sacred fires marked this holiday, in honor of the Maiden, Brigid (also known as Brigit) who symbolized the fire of healing and birth. In essence, this holiday celebrates the beginning return of the sun.

Although this is a season of coldness and rain, the sun is actually closest to earth at this time, even though we do not feel its warmth. It is at this time that we bring light into our lives.

Symbolism of Candlemass: Known as the “Festival of Lights”, at this time, we prepare light so that the goddess Brigid may find her way out of the darkness and return to us. In pagan lore, this is the time where Brigid (the Celtic Fire Goddess) acts as midwife to Spring, and this is the beginning of that season. Brigid is the triple goddess of poetry, smithcraft, and medicine.

Myths of the Goddess Brigid: The daughter of Spring is born of the White Goddess after her sexual union with the Horned God last Beltane. Under another name, Branwen, the virgin fertility goddess is invoked at this time.

bridgets cross It is also customary to weave “Brigid’s Cross” from straw and hang it upon the hearth. This is made in the shape of a wheel and during a sabbat, it is rolled down a hill while burning. At this time, a Witch attempts to understand the direction his or her life is taking. The Oak King rules.

Brigit as Bride: In Ireland, the Candlemass holiday is celebrated as the Feast Day of Brigid of the Candles (also known as “Bridget of Kildare”, the Celtic goddess of fire, the hearth, smithy, fields, poetry, and childbirth.)

In this form, Brigit gives blessings to women who are about to marry. In fact, the very word “bride” comes from women who wish to honor Brigid on their wedding day! At her shrine, (the ancient Irish capitol of Kildare), a group of 9 priestesses kept a perpetual flame burning in her honor. She was considered a goddess of fire, patroness of smithcraft, poetry and healing (especially the healing touch of midwifery). This triad symbolism was occasionally expressed by saying that Brigit had two sisters, also named Brigit.

Imbolc Traditions: The wood of the rowan (also known as “Witch Tree”), placed over the door to protect against evil. If you’d like to call upon the Moon Goddess, simply light a candle in a branch of rowan. Magic wands for special purposes are made of rowan wood. In fact, a forked length of this magickal wood in the right hands has divination properties.

Traditional Celebrations: Brigid’s holiday was celebrated by kindling the Sacred Flame. She symbolized the fire of healing, the forge, and poetic inspiration. Bonfires were lighted on the tops of mountains or tors.

Altar decorations include bright colored flowers, preferably yellow, and green, although other sources mention the colors white and blue. The Altar cloth should be yellow or red. Prepare Goddess incense. Initiations are usually performed at this time.

Brigid and the Catholic Church: So faithful to the goddess Brigid were the new Christians, they refused to stop worshipping her on the holiday known as “Brigatia”. This lead Pope Serguis I (687-701 AD), to proclaim Brigid’s sainthood. Thus, Brigid became St. Brigit, the patron saint of smithcraft, poetry, and healing.

They explained this odd coincidence by creating the myth that Brigit was ‘actually’ an early Christian missionary sent to the Emerald Isle, who performed miracles which accidentally ‘misled’ the common people into believing she was a goddess. The Pope renamed Brigid’s holiday as “The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary”.

Of course, there is much more to learn about this fascinating, magickal day, so feel free to join my Magickal Forum and visit the Wicca section; e-mail me or call my live show on Monday nights.

For More Info on Wicca: Visit my class page to find out how to register.

Candlemass Events: For listings of local events in your area, visit Witchvox.com.

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