|In most areas in North America,
February 2nd is usually a day during the most dismal
part of the year weather wise. It is
usually rainy or snowy and most often quite cold.
This makes a perfect time for the
Wiccan Festival of Lights!
February 2nd marks the day of
Imbolc, or in some traditions, Oimelc. The name of
"Candlemas" comes to us by
way of the Christians. This is the day that marks the
beginning of the Spring season of
growth. We can see the new budding flowers and the
signs that Spring is on her way.
Imbolc literally means "in the belly." In the womb of
the Goddess Mother there are the
beginnings of new life, waiting to explode into our
view! The seeds that were planted in
Her at the solstice are now growing and the new
wheel grows. This is also the lambing
season and so we get the word, Oimelc, which
means "milk of ewes."
The Irish often call this day,
"Brigitís Day," in honor of the Goddess Brigit. She is
considered a goddess of fire, so in
Kildare, Ireland, a group of 19 women kept a flame
burning in her honor. It was during
this time that Brigit would bestow a special blessing
on any woman about to be married, as
another form of the name Brigit is "Bride."
The Great Goddess of Ireland could
never be called a demon by the Church, so instead,
the Roman Catholics canonized her.
She became "Saint Brigit, patron SAINT of
smithcraft, poetry, and
healing." The Church told the uneducated Irish peasant on the
street that Brigit was really an
early Christian missionary sent to the Emerald Isle, and
that she performed miracles so the
people there believed that she was a goddess. We
donít know why, but many of the
Irish bought this. Another piece of lore commonly
believed by the Irish was that Brigit
was the mother of Christ. They gave no
consideration to the fact that the
boy never spent any of his childhood in Ireland.
This Holiday was often marked by
the use of sacred fires, symbolizing the fire of birth
and healing, the fire of the forge,
and the fire of inspiration. Bonfires were lit and the
chandlers celebrated their holiday.
The Church was quick to make use of this symbolism
as well, using "Candlemas"
as the day to bless the candles that would be used in the
church for the coming year. The
following day, St. Blaiseís Day, was for using the
blessed candles to bless the throats
of the parishioners, keeping them from colds, flu and
Imbolc is a great day for making
candles! One custom is to put one in each window of
your home and let them burn down
until morning. For safety sake, you may not want to
do this if you have pets or children.
In all cases, make sure the candles are well secured
form tipping. It is a very cheery
picture to see a house on a dark dreary night to be lit up
This is a good time for using
candles in magick and in divination. It is an excellent time
for cleansing and purification. It is
the time to clean the house and bring in the bright
new energy that comes with the birth
of all things new that is brought by Spring.