Festival Of Lights - Brigid - Imbolc - Candlemas Festival of Lights at the 2nd February
The Spring Of The Year Feast - The Beginnings of New Life
The purpose of the Wheel Of The Year Celebrations
Each of the Festivities of the Year's Wheel is dynamically placed so as to take full advantage of powerful surges in energy, both upon the Earth and in the Heavens, and it is the varying energies which each Festival presents, that enables conscious renewal of participants in ceremony in honour of these times:
Human actions are best when they reflect the actions of Nature - nowadays, this feeling to get increasing popular as it may dignify Life, provides spirit and purpose.
Every Festival has its own spirit, brings within us certain parts of the soul to resonate.
And the most important thing is to let the soul resonate, to reach us and to touch.
To remember, to remind deeply.
Then healing can take place, solution and salvation !
The point of it is with all all these Ceremonies, in all great Myths, the SALVATION.
Each of these Feats in the Year's Circle are connected with these Myths, these Heroes, Gods, and Goddesses.
And through the identification and merging with these beings accrues healing and salvation.
They set us an example.
It is important that we reclaim these Celebrations in our lives, and connect with our lives.
No set-up rituals ! Quite simply: pay attention to what you experience and perceive.
And if there is a ray of Sunshine.
In the night of 1st to 2nd February is celebrated Candlemas, the Celtic Imbolc [Im-olc], or the Feast of Brigid, a Lunar-Fire Festival.
(or August 1st for Neopagans in the Southern Hemisphere)
Although Nature remains in wintry rigidity, the Days are already noticeably longer, and imperceptibly, the juice is already rising in the trees.
The Sun rises every day a little earlier and comes back over some of the mountain peaks.
In the evening, it is longer bright. The Wheel has reached a crossroads between Dark and Light.
'I am older than Brighid of the Mantle*...
I put songs and music on the wind before ever the bells of the chapels were rung in the West or heard in the East. ...
And I have been a breath in your heart.
And the day has its feet to it that will see me coming into the hearts of men and women like a flame upon dry grass, like a flame of wind in a great wood...'
The Light-Virgin Brigid
(To the Celts, the Sun was feminine, and Light was masculine)
In this new Light, the Goddess appears as a beautiful Light-Virgin;
Brighid - 'surrounded by the aureole' and replaces the dark, black Goddess, who ruled in the Winter as Percht, Cerridwen, or Morrigane.
With her, the elementary Nature -and Fertility- Spirits dawn from the Earth, with the rising bear leading the way !
The thick fur, still quite stiff and sleep-drunk, on this day, allegedly for the first time, puts his nose out of the cave to see how far the spring is gone.
The bear is none other than the re-born, still veiled young Sun-God.
Still he is wild, 'b(e)aresark-ish'.
Parsifalrain, January 30, 2016
Brigid (or Imbolc) is the Festival halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, so the real middle in the Winter.
Throughout the Year we are in the time in which the days are getting noticeably longer, the Sun gains considerable force, and Nature is slowly re-awakened.
It is the time in which the first animals awaken from winter dormancy, and the first plants sprout out of the ground.
Life in the Winter-cold, limitedness, tightness and darkness is drawing recognizable to a close now, new Life begins.
It is the time of the first shooting and sprouting.
For the Celts, this Festival was called 'Imbolc', which means 'in the womb'.
To the Midwinter, the new Light (the new Life, the new Child) was born, up to Imbolc - Season, it was allowed to ripen in the dark womb of the Mother.
Now, however, the time has come, in which the New shows recognizable for the first time.
Also at the outside.
Brighid the Goddess-Patroness, Benefactress and Guardiness
The Festival is dedicated to the Bride of Earth, the Goddess Brigid and the many aspects of the Deity i.e. the three stages of Womanhood: Maiden, Matron, Crone - Cycle ... considered a form of the Triple Goddess ('triune' Goddess, meaning that she is one and three simultaneously)
However, Imbolc is a Feast dedicated to the Goddess in her Maiden appearance.
She is ... the beloved Goddess of the Celts of Muse - creative activities such as of the poets, the musicians (songs), the artists, History (she reminds us to keep our Traditions alive and whole), the (Fire of) Inspiration, learning, the Guardieness of Cultures, Healers, Herbalists, Agriculture and Patroness of the Druids.
This brings consideration of the role Brigid plays with regard to all the Arts associated with language in general, including speech, the magick of invocations and words of evocation, spell-crafting and oath-taking.
Certainly, she's the Benefactress of Inner Healing and Vital Energy.
Often, she is seen as the Overseer of all things domestic, including cooking and kitchen-magic.
Manyfold linked to a 'fiery arrow', she also stands for Divine justice, law and order.
She's the Goddess of the crossroads which is often symbolized by the Brigit-Cross
click image to enlarge tutorial
which unites the Four Elements, and creates Paths which travel in the Four Directions (a good time to re-align which path to walk this Year - because of this, Imbolc is an ideal time for divination)
Brigid is often seen as being of both worlds; a Bridge between the old ways and the new.
She is also a Goddess of Healing in general, prophesying and the Art of the Smithery; (the ashless) 'Fire of the Forge' and is, therefore, close to the Fire.
The Goddess-related Art of Smithcraft, is the outer and secular form of the ancient Alchemical Art.
Furthermore she has the role as Patroness for Fertility, Family, Childbirth, the Midwives and is Patron-Goddess of the Parturient.
As a Solar-Deity her main-attributes are Light and the (alchemic) Skills with Fire.
The power of Brigid keeps the Fire burning
Therewith, she supplies the people with Vivacity and Courage.
In her honor will be lit at Imbolc-Night candles which are placed inside the window to burn the whole Night.
To make wishes for your family and friends - the simplest form of candle magic !
In the Christian sense became from Imbolc a Candlemas Day, a Marian festival, where the candle-consecration is an important element.
The early Celts celebrated a Purification Festival by honoring Brigid.
Imbolc is absolutely considered a Traditional Healing time and it is a good time to consider ways to improve Health.
Hence, the most important aspect of this Festival is the Cleaning.
The Old must be released so that something New can arise.
Earlier, stables and housing rooms were cleaned.
Humans and cattle have been grazed with brushwood and tufts of hazel and birch branches wipped off gently.
The rooms have been fumigated with purifying herbs such as juniper.
When we are liberated from the old burdens, then the New may grow in us.
The time around Imbolc is the time to forge resolutions and the realisation of new desires and goals.
The seed in us may start to grow, so that it can later bloom and carry fruit.
Imbolc and the power of Vitality
Imbolc is a Celebration where we ough to bethink the yet Unbroken, all through Vivid, the wild Energy of Spring, which manages to bring everything back to Life.
Visualize how it feels to be a child or youngster.
Just to look at Children, as they are brimming with Life, alive up to the stop, is ... botening.
Or youths, whose erotism buds, where the whole sense of Life is permeated by erotic feelings, in Love ... with amorousnesses.
This is all part of this Festival, and is supposed to make our crusts bursting like by a wild storm from the South.
You just have to imagine how much energy it takes, that our trees start to sprout, or the flowers to break through the blanket of snow.
How much DESIRE TO LIVE, how much Pleasure !
Spring is Coming !
Snow White and Rose Red
Each of us still knows the fairy tale 'Snow White and Rose Red'.
Hidden under his fur, lights gold, and puts a young Prince, the young Sun King.
And the two girls 'Snow White' and 'Rose Red' embody, such as their symbolic name suggests, the young Goddess Brigid.
Yes, and the old Mother, who had provided refuge to the bear in the Winter, is none other than the old Earth Mother, the Frau Holle or Frau Percht.
Once again, you can see what wonderful fairy tales we have that have, in a very hidden way, carried further the old Cultural Assets.
The White Goddess and the Wheel Of The Year
The accession to power of the White Goddess and the Bear-God was the end of the Christmas season.
Their reign lasted until May.
One should also know that the Wheel Of The Year was stopped from November 25, so from the Katharine-Day until Candlemas.
There is still today the saying: 'Kathrein to cease the Dance'.
The Wheel - in the highest North also the Sun Wheel - stood idle in this time, and thus 'dance-rotation' had to cease.
Less surprising is it then, that from Imbolc on particularly dancing was celebrated.
Brigid, the Queen of the Heavens and 'Mary Candlemas'
The Celtic Festival welcomed their Hearth Goddess Brigid with a Feast of Fire, and consulted the Oracle.
Also trial marriages for a year were contracted on this day.
So popular was the Fair who equally inspired the Poet, Healer and Magician, that even the catholic church could not dispense her Sabbat.
They but remaned the Imbolc Festival in 'Mary Candlemas'.
The Name 'Imbolc' means - depending on the region it is celebrated - 'Put the sheep on to suckle', (or 'ewe's milk', or 'in the belly') because it was the time where the first sheep were born.
Brigid and the Fire
Brigid, the Guardian of the Fire, guarded on this Day, or rather in this Night, the Sacred Fire itself, while it was otherwise kept by 19 priestesses.
Why 19 ?
Because in 19 Years, a Sarosperiode (a large moon's orbit cycle) is completed and the Sun and the Moon align again (are in the same relation to each other).
It was a cosmically aligned Celebration which acclaimed the position of the Sun and of the Moon.
Apparently was responsible for each Year a separate Priestess.
Interestingly, many of the Stone Circles in England and Ireland have exactly 19 stones.
The connection of the Goddess Brigid with the Fire accrues from her Sun-nature.
Pillars of Light and flames to accompany her as she stepped into Life from 'between the worlds - so neither in the house nor out of the house' - but on the doorstep.
And these flames continue to accompany her.
As a small child she slept in a sea of Fire...
Her attribute, Briganti's fiery arrow, was proverbial: the long awaited first Spring Ray Of Sunshine that struck the Earth warming.
But it is also to be seen in a metaphorical sense: the Fire arrow that hits the Heart.
The Spark of the first Spring Feelings, the Love, the Eroticism ....
Therefore, in the course of the Festival must have been welcomes in any case, the return of the Sun and symbolically celebrated by the lighting of a Fire.
Because Imbolc was associated with the sacred flame, which brought the Sun from the Winter-sleep.
Another attribute is the multiannual primrose [Primula veris], one of the first flowers of Spring. ✿⊱╮
The Celts and notably the Celtic-Nordic druids applied the prim(e)rose for the Spring Feasts, because she is one of the first flowers in the Spring and so herald Springtide. Hildegard of Bingen says of this plant:
'The "sky-key" has the power of the Sun, and if someone is sad, he should bind the herb over his heart, so that the sadness will pass away'
Name affinities with Brigid (St. Bridget, Brigindo, Briggidda, Bridey, Bride, Bricta, Brigantia, Brixia or Brid, whose name meant 'bright one' by the early Celts)
According to her, rivers and towns were named: Bregenz, Brigantia, Braganca in Italy, Brig in Valais, the plain of Brega in Ireland.
The re-igniting of the young Light, and the consecration of light at the Lichtmeßtag (Candlemas Day) is anchored in the whole of Europe and still in customs.
The Catholic Church has made of it the candle-blessing as a small remnant of the consecrated Virgin Light.
Therein, of course, fits then also the new name of 'Mary Candlemas'.
in the Alpine regions,
in Styria (Austria), for example, is then the consecrated Candlemas Fire carried from house to house, and kindled the hearth fire, or a candle on the home altar.
It is the custom to carry the burning candles through the whole house and the stables to share the blessings everywhere.
In Carinthia (Austria), was added dropwise three drops of wax on a loaf of bread as a protection for a Year.
The bread is then kept.
Nice is also a camp-fire which is lit by fire-arrows.
It is always very exciting, because you never know exactly whether and where your burning arrow hits.
Torchlight processions in the Night are also nice, because it brings to mind the allegory of the Light in the Darkness.
And if you have a river or lake in the vicinity, you can put for example a light-boat on the water.
Small boards with floating candles, which ride down the river and wear the light through the Night.
according to wiki, 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, while items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless.
Brigid was also invoked to protect homes and livestock.
Special Feasts were held, holy Wells were visited and it was also a time for divination.
A shake-up of trees and plants
Who was clear-sighted enough, could see Brigid ride on a deer and how it woke the seeds and shook the trees awake, so that the juices began to flow again.
She embodies the forces of the East and of the New in the Morning.
the shaman speaks:
'There are still old countrymen who shake at Candlemas their fruit trees to awake and announce the bees in the hive the happy news.
In many places, the threshing and spinning should be completed on this day, because now the peas or corn-bear, which, as we have seen, brings the new fertility.
Also the day it is still considered as magical day.
Oracles are consulted, who's getting married, who needs to die and how the harvest will be.
To learn how long the Winter will last, one turns to those animals who in burrows have their winter sleep.
From the badger and the fox is the talk, but they only serve as a replacement for the bear.
It is to Candlemas nice and warm, must remain the bear six weeks in his cave, it is said in many places.
Sees the bear at Candlemas his shadow, he must yet forty days stay in the burrows, is the rule in England and France.
Six weeks or forty days it will take until the Spring Equinox.
Then Master Bruin has finally shaken off his hibernation, and the spell of Winter is broken.
The bear who brings the fertility, and from the honeycombs of the bees are made candles of gold, are the favorite animals of the white Brigid.
As opposites, they belong together: the hulking, horny, lazy Petz and the tiny, chaste, diligent bees.
Mainly because of the honey that they suck from the flowers without destroying them, are venerated and worshipped the bees.
For the ancient Europeans, the honey was the only sweetener until in the 17th century was replaced by the cane sugar.
Honey was so sacred that it was used as an offering to the Gods and Ancestors, and only in the Excellent Nights of the Midwinter honey cake as blessing-giving cultic dish was allowed to eat.
The Indogermanic, saw the honey is a remnant of a distant, Golden Age, as the dew dripping down from the World Tree.
Truly a royal dish, best suited for the elect of the white Goddess, the honey eating king of the animals, as well as the king of the people.
Who drank with his Nobles the honey-brewed Mead, while peasants, servants and hands had to be content with barley beer'
Valentine and carnival
Since the domination of the white Goddess lasted until the month of May - her climax is not until the Spring Equinox, falls in this period also, 'Valentine' and 'carnival'.
One can easily understand.
The Goddess who puts all the waters in motion, brings the ice to melt, stimulates the juices in the trees and brings the plants to sprout, of course also moves the life-juices in people.
She inspired not only poets and singers, but she also prompts the hormonal rush of amorous couples.
And as the Lovers are always a bit crazy, foolish, easy to be reckless - so also is this time.
This also includes carnival or the Mardi Gras (Fastnacht) time.
The church never welcomed this 'offensive feast' and even strictly forbade in 762.
There goes a story, coming from the 12th century, in which Merlin is inspired by a feminine figure who represents the sovereignty of the Land of Britain.
She causes his visions to reach through British history, on, so it is said, to the end of the Solar System !
King Arthur's sword, Excalibur was forged by the Lady of the Lake, a figure sometimes associated with Brighid because of her fire and forgery aspect.
Brigid is Goddess of both Sun and Moon, action and inspiration, achievement and creativity.
She has been worshiped by the Celtic people as a Saint for over fifteen-hundred years, and as a Goddess long before the Roman invasion of Britain and the alleged birth of Jesus-Christ took place.
topics for the Feast ... i.e.
- What I would like to cleanse from me ?
- What must I let go ?
- Which new bud wants to grow in me ?
- Visions and goals for the New Year
- What gives me strength and energy for the coming Year ?
items for the Celebration (be creative)
- a berg crystal or a white stone
- a white piece of clothing
- an object from Nature
- a candle in a color of Brigid (best might be a white and/or a green candle)
Seeds are sublime and magical - pure potential !
Plant each one as representing your hopes, ideas and dreams
Traditionally, the colors of red and white are associated with Brigid.
White is the color of the blanket of snow and purity (also silver) and red symbolizes the rising sun.
In some traditions, red is connected with the blood of Life.
Brigid is also tied to green, both for the green mantle she wears and for the (fresh burst of) Life ... growing beneath the Earth. Other colors associated with Imbolc:
Pink, yellow, light-blue
Imbolc is a Fire Festival and fire of all kinds is associated with Brigid - the Fire of creativity, the protective Hearth Fire, and her Fire Wheel - the Brigid Cross, which heralds her as a Sun Goddess.
After all, Brigid is a Goddess of the Celtic peoples, so it's always appropriate to add some sort of Celtic design to your altar.
As Brigid is the Goddess of hearth and home simply decorate your home with symbols of the Imbolc Season.
informative video (-: may answer further questions on your Imbolc rituals ☽✪☾Blessed Imbolc!☽✪☾
'Bright and fiery arrow
blaze kindly into my life.
Sainted bringer of Spring
grow evermore verdant and lush.
Mistress of poetry and craft,
dance on my tongue and in my hands.
Guardian of the wells and waters and herbs,
warm my heart and open the doors to compassion.
Thank you exalted One for the nourishment
of milk and words.
For the protection of Your threadbare cloak,
for the peace that abides in Your care.
Bless You for the four Fires
and the thawing Earth.
Brigid, I promise my best effort
and lightest laugh in Your name'
'Bride of the Earth,
sister of the Faeries,
daughter of the Tuatha de Danaan,
keeper of the eternal Flame.
In Autumn, the Nights began to lengthen,
and the Days grew shorter,
as the Earth went to sleep.
Now, Brigid stokes her Fire,
burning flames in the hearth,
bringing Light back to us once more.
Winter is brief, but Life is forever.
Brigid makes it so'
what to wish for ? 'There's magic in the fairy flight
See the woman at the well
Listen to what she will tell
The fairies flutter with delight
The ewes give milk and all is right
Blessed be this Imbolg Night
Springtime is now near at sight'