If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas day clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
- E. Holden
Before modern life, being human was a difficult thing. To survive took planning. Communities relied on
each other and worked together to ensure the group survived. To them time was circular rather than linear.
They saw the year, marked with its seasonal change, as a great tuning wheel that shifted the world from
light to darkness, spring to summer, fall, then winter, the world from bounty to want. They created
calendars set by the waxing and waning of the moon, divided into quarter by the solstices and equinoxes.
Imbolc which is also known as Candlemas is held on February 2nd, halfway between the winter solstice and
the spring equinox making it a cross-quarter day on the wheel of the year calendar. Imbolc celebrates the
waking of nature as Imbolc means “in the belly” which refers to the pregnant ewes who were about to birth
their lambs replenishing the food stores that were depleted during the winter months.
Imbolc is a festival of warmth and light marking the lengthening daylight hours. What better way to start
this day than with a sunrise ritual. Get up at dawn and welcome the sun as it rises. Imbolc maybe about
making change and setting goals but it is also about recharging our own personal power. This is the Feast
Day of Brigid, the Celtic goddess of fire, healing, and childbirth, inspiration and creativity. Now is the time
to shake off the winter blues and rekindle your passions.
Imbolc is a fire festival. Long ago sacred fires were lit on hilltops to encourage the return of light. Later it
was once customary to place a candle in every window of the home. Today we greet the light by turning on
a light in every room on the eve of the holiday. Gather around the hearthfire and reveal in its warmth as
you come up with plans for the coming spring. Plan your garden. Draw up that building project you've been
longing for. Now is the time to breath life into those ideas that were only dreams during the long winter
Bridget crosses were
woven from rushes or reeds. They were hung at the entrance of the home as a blessing and for protection
for your home.
Spring is returning. The land has begun to thaw. Tentative shoots have risen from the ground the promise
of blossoms soon to come. Imbolc is an earth festival celebrating the return of life to the world for not only
are the daylight hours noticeably growing longer but now nature is waking as many of the animals are
pregnant and their udder are filling with milk marking the return of nature's bounty and the end of a long
dark winter. Imbolc marked a time of renewal as all observed the awakening of the Earth at this earliest
beginnings of Spring.
Dishes made with potatoes, cabbage, peppers, onions, leeks, shallots, garlic and chives served with spiced
wines or herbal teas and honey reflect the turning of the seasons.