Free crystal with every order! All orders over $75 ship free in the continental US!

Imbolc and Candlemas: Flames of Fertility

January 29, 2019 0 Comments

Imbolc and Candlemas: Flames of Fertility

 

Officially celebrated on February 1 at sunset, Imbolc, or Imbolg, signals the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. Its name derives from Celtic meaning "in the belly,” as it refers to the “just-showing” pregnancy or a stirring of new life that has just begun.  At its core, this Pagan holiday is a clearing and cleansing preparing us for rebirth. Imbolc focuses on fertility and the promise of returning light in the spring season.

However, Imbolc’s claim to fame is the Irish Goddess Brigid, also spelled Brigit, Bride, or Brighid. She was considered a triple goddess or triune representing maiden, mother, and crone. In this way she had several facets to her symbolism of fire, hearth, poetry, and smithcraft. Brigit was believed to bring fertility to land and its people and therefore also has a close connection to midwives and other healing touch. With Imbolc, Brigit takes on her maiden aspect as being pregnant with possibility with sacred fires representing inspiration, creativity, and cleansing.

As with most Earth-based holidays, Christianity adopted its own versions and the well-loved Brigit was honored as Saint Brigid. With the Christianization of Ireland, Candlemas was celebrated on February 2 instead of Imbolc. It was instead renamed the “Feast of Purification” and paid homage to the fertility and purification of Virgin Mary and her guiding light instead of Brigit’s flame.

Fortunately in both the Pagan and Christian versions of Imbolc, the Brigit’s Cross remains sacred symbolism. Usually made of reeds, it is a solar cross or wheel—she was a Sun goddess of sorts--woven together and used for protection. According to some Neo-Pagan rituals, a new one was made every year and then the old one was burned.

brigits cross

Brigit's Cross

Other traditional celebrations of Imbolc included putting out the main home fire and doing a thorough cleaning of the hearth. In other cases, entire fields purified with fire rituals or bread offerings to the Grain Goddesses. The adapted holiday Candlemas was honored in the Roman Catholic Church as a day to cleanse and bless the church candles. Below are more modern ways to celebrate Imbolc, Candlemas, or Brigit and her fiery fertility:

 

  • Create an altar with candles (duh), poetry books, chalice representing healing waters, flowers, or other spring symbols.
  • If you are feeling ambitious you could make a traditional Brigit’s cross out of reeds, there are plenty of resources online with an easy Internet search. See our example above.
  • Start cleaning out closets and dusting corners (this can also be an honoring of Marie Kondo)
  • Candle ritual with prayers or simple gratitude for what’s to come, if you want more inspo, check out the Energy Cleaning Kit or Fertility Ritual Kit
  • Wear red or other bright colors or decorate the home with some added elements (I bought some bright red tulips for the occasion)

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Farrar of Wild Witch of the West has her M.A. in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and has worked with many renowned astrologists and cosmologists. Read her bio here, and catch more of her work on Witch of the West.

______________________________________

Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!





Also in Esoteric Insights

Deities and Demons: Shiva the Destroyer
Deities and Demons: Shiva the Destroyer

January 08, 2020 0 Comments

Shiva is a complex Hindu Deity whose identity is inseparable from the Hindu Trimurti (or trinity) of Gods, composed of Brahma as Creator, Vishnu as Preserver, and Shiva as Destroyer. In that they are a trinity, neither of them is exclusively bound to the actions their names would imply, and instead each acts as a mask of inertia upon the stage that is life. The role Shiva plays in the game of life is that of a juggler who effortlessly balances the opposing forces of creation and destruction, asceticism and procreation, stillness and dancing, order and chaos. There are myths that...

Continue Reading

Sacred Sundays: Cleansing with Mint and Cinnamon for the New Year
Sacred Sundays: Cleansing with Mint and Cinnamon for the New Year

January 08, 2020 0 Comments

I don’t know about everyone else but the shift of the new year and decade in Gregorian calendar has been intense to put it lightly. Intuitively I’ve noticed a lot of people are either sick right now, hermiting themselves, or making huge promises of “new year, new me.” All these responses are ok; however it is the dead of winter right now in the northern hemisphere, and it’s ok the rest, hibernate, and be in seclusion. With that said, perhaps it’s time to pay attention to what we can release, cleanse, and remove from our spaces, body, minds, and spirits in order to 

Continue Reading

Soul Stirring Emotions: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Cancer, January 10, 2020
Soul Stirring Emotions: Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Cancer, January 10, 2020

January 08, 2020 0 Comments

For those of you who have been following my astrological overviews in recent months, now is the moment I have been preaching about. For months those of us in the spiritual and astrology community have been anticipating a rare astrological event that's about to take place. This Eclipse marks (in some ways) the end of cycles, but only the beginning in what is to be six to twelve months of some massive energy shifts. What we are calling this is the Saturn Pluto Conjunction of 2020. In astrology, when heavy-hitting outer planets come together, this is an omen of 

Continue Reading