What about Imbolc?

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
the like.

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
with candles. 

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.