February, the Second Month of the year of our Goddess, 2016

155335-Happy-February

Blessings are the things we take for granted.
Each holiday we notice what we see.
Most know the Earth is utterly enchanted
Yet walk through life and love mechanically.
Valuing one’s gifts takes resolution
After days and nights of fantasy.
Love brings the sweet relief of absolution,
Enveloping our hesitance in need.
No touch inspires so swift a revolution,
Transforming all the hieroglyphs we read.
In your love is the charity of spring,
Nor self-obsessed nor blinded by some creed,
Embracing the grey dawns that blessings bring.”
–  Cornelius Lyons

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FEBRUARY – SNOW MOON

February is the second month of the Gregorian calendar, and the year’s shortest month. It is named for Februa, an ancient purification festival, and its astrological sign is Aquarius, the water-bearer (January 20 – February 19), a fixed air sign ruled by Uranus. In February, Mother Earth begins to stir; daylight lasts a little longer, and the first crocuses begin to peek through the snow. The major holiday of the month, Imbolc or Candlemas, celebrates the strengthening Sun. This is a day of purification and banishment; candles are lit and Yuletide greenery is burned in a ritual fire to illuminates the waning darkness of winter. Corn dollies, called Corn Maidens are dressed in scraps of white lace and ribbons.The maiden is placed in a basket, called the Bride’s Bed, with a small ribbon-entwined wand representing the God. Romance is celebrated on Valentine’s Day, February 24. Magical activities include love divination of all types, and, of course, treating your romantic partner to chocolates is a common custom. Long ago, February’s Full Moon was called the Snow Moon, and the month is still known for powerful snow storms. Still, nature begins to sense the turning of the year. House finches begin looking for nesting sites, and in the still-frozen woodland foxes begin searching for a mate,

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THE SNOW MOON

February’s full Moon is traditionally called the Full Snow Moon because usually the heaviest snows fall in February.

Hunting becomes very difficult, and so some Native American tribes called this the Hunger Moon.

Other Native American tribes called this Moon the “Shoulder to Shoulder Around the Fire Moon” (Wishram Native Americans), the “No Snow in the Trails Moon” (Zuni Native Americans), and the “Bone Moon” (Cherokee Native Americans). The Bone Moon meant that there was so little food that people gnawed on bones and ate bone marrow soup.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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 CORRESPONDENCES FOR FEBRUARY

NATURE SPIRITS: house faeries, both of home and plants in the home

HERBS: Balm of Gilead, hyssop, myrrh, sage, spikenard.

COLORS: light blue and violet

FLOWER: Primrose

SCENTS: wisteria, heliotrope

STONES: amethyst, jasper, rock crystal

TREES: rowan, laurel, cedar

ANIMALS: Otter and the Unicorn

BIRDS: Eagle and the chickadee

DEITIES: Brigit, Juno, Kuan Yin, Diana, Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite.

POWER/ADVICE: Energy is working towards the surface, purification, healing and growth. Accept and forgive yourself for past errors, time to learn to love yourself and to make future plans.

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Symbols & Folklore for the Month of February

February’s Sign of the Zodiac

Aquarius (January 20 – February 19)
Pisces (February 20 – March 20)

February’s Celtic Tree Astrology

Rowan (January 21 – February 17)
Ash (February 18 – March 17)

February’s Birthstones

Amethyst
It symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom, and sincerity.

February’s Birth Flower

Violet and Primrose

February’s Folklore

“Married in February’s sleety weather, Life you’ll tread in tune together.”
“Violent north winds in February herald a fertile year.”
“If February give much snow, A fine summer it doth foreshow.”
“Fogs in February mean frosts in May.”

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PAGAN CALENDAR FOR FEBRUARY

* 2/1 to 2/14: Old Greek festival of God Dionysos, in which vines were pruned and sprinkled with wine, accompanied by ritual singing and dancing. [Originated in ancient Thrace; still celebrated in Bulgaria.] [a/k/a Trifon Zarezan, Viticulturists’ Day] [Roman calendar]

* 2/1 to 2/29: February dedicated to Old Roman God-Goddess Februus-Februa – purifier and protector of the home. Homes were cleaned and blessed, offerings of reparation were given, and peace was made.

* 2/1 to 2/29: Ethnic Equality Month–Time to honor all peoples and their positive traditions; time to meditate on the equality of all peoples, on the respect due to them, and on God-Goddess manifesting as African, Asian, Oceanic, Middle Eastern, European, Hispanic, and Native American. [Expands idea of African-American History Month a/k/a Black History Month.]

* 2/2: Death day of Marija Gimbutas (1994), archeologist who studied Old European Goddess- God spirituality. [Birthday 1/23/1921]

* 2/5 to 2/6: Feast of Old Romano-Egyptian Goddess Isis, the Healer–recalls Set (God of Challenges and Chaos) poisoning child God Horus, and Isis intervening, defeating Set, and healing Horus. [Roman calendar]

* 2/7 eve to 2/10 eve: Old European Lunar New Year–Celebration of the Triple Goddess (Goddess of the Moon and the Seasons) being transformed from the Crone into the Virgin; celebrated with ritual bathing of divine images.

* 2/8 (9:39 a.m. EST): New Moon.

* 2/9 eve to 2/10 eve: Anthesterion Noumenia–Old Greek festival honoring all the Gods and Goddesses. Flutes were played; prayers were said; offerings of barley, olive oil, incense, and food were burned in an offering hearth; and libations of water and wine were made. [Anthesterion 1]

* 2/12 eve to 2/13 eve: Feast of Old Greek Deities Aphrodite and Eros–Day to honor love and passion. [Anthesterion 4]

* 2/13 to 2/15: Lupercalia/St. Valentine’s Day–Old Roman festival of God-Goddess Faunus- Fauna; merged with the Christian feast of St. Valentine – celebrating love of all kinds.

* 2/14 eve to 2/15 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Artemis (Roman Diana/Slavic Diwitsa) – as creatrix, midwife of birthing creatures, protector of the young, and punisher of child abusers. [Anthesterion 6]

* 2/19 eve to 2/22 eve: Anthesteria–Old Greek festival honoring Dionysos as Plouton, God of the Dead, and welcoming the visiting dead from Elysium. The new wine was presented to Dionysos, and libations were made. [Anthesterion 11-13]

* 2/22 (1:20 p.m. EST): Full Moon (Leaf/Seedling Moon). [a/k/a Pisces Full Moon]

* 2/22: Caristia–Old Roman festival for renewing family ties and patching up quarrels. [Roman calendar]

* 2/28 eve to 3/6 eve: Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries–Old Greek festival celebrating the marriage of Goddess Kore and God Dionysos, following their return from Elysium. Devotees dedicated themselves to service of Goddess and God after being purified by water and fire. Dionysos was identified with Plouton at Eleusis. While Demeter believed Her daughter to have been abducted and raped by Dionysos-Plouton, from the perspective of Kore-Persephone and Dionysos-Plouton, it was an elopement. [Anthesterion 20-26]

* 2/29: Old Slavic Velja Noc/Great Night/New Year’s Eve–Spirits of the dead visit their living relatives, overseen by Veles, Lord of the Dead. People wearing animal masks and wool cloaks wandered through the villages representing the dead, and a grain effigy of the Morana of the old year was burned. Morana and Jarilo are born of Solntse (Goddess of the Sun) and Perun (God of the Sky). Veles steals Jarilo and raises him in Virey, realm of the dead. [a/k/a Wielkanoc]

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Imbolg

Look through the darkness and you will see
The spark growing for all to see

To warm the Earth
To warm our souls
The seeds we plant begin to grow

The goals you set and magick worked
Was it all for knowledge, wisdom and mirth?

To help the Gods and your fellow man
To grow strong and to aid the Earths vast clan

The light of hope begins to stir
Even though snow and ice still occur

The work that is wrought
Brings the growth that is sought

Just as a seed breaks open underground
Deep in your Spirit these roots are found

But how they will grow is up to you
They grow by way of the things that you choose

We are given a light to bring us warmth
And nourished from Water from the time of our birth
The Earth with big rocks to anchor our lives
And Air to teach us so the Old Ones may guide

The second turn of the Wheel has begun
The God is rising
The Cycle begun

Raven Spirit

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The Wheel Turns Once Again
Imbolc Is Here, Let The Celebrations Begin!

 

Spring is Coming!

Imbolc is a holiday with a variety of names, depending on which culture and location you’re looking at. In the Irish Gaelic, it’s called Oimelc, which translates to “ewe’s milk.” It’s a precursor to the end of winter when the ewes are nursing their newly born lambs. Spring and the planting season are right around the corner.

The Romans Celebrate:

To the Romans, this time of year halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox was the season of the Lupercalia.

For them, it was a purification ritual held on February 15, in which a goat was sacrificed and a scourge made of its hide. Thong-clad men ran through the city, whacking people with bits of goat hide. Those who were struck considered themselves fortunate indeed. This is one of the few Roman celebrations that is not associated with a particular temple or deity. Instead, it focuses on the founding of the city of Rome, by twins Romulus and Remus, who were suckled by a she-wolf — in a cave known as the “Lupercale”.

The Feast of Nut:

The ancient Egyptians celebrated this time of year as the Feast of Nut, whose birthday falls on February 2 (Gregorian calendar).

According to the Book of the Dead, Nut was seen as a mother-figure to the sun god Ra, who at sunrise was known as Khepera and took the form of a scarab beetle.

Christian Conversion of a Pagan Celebration:

When Ireland converted to Christianity, it was hard to convince people to get rid of their old gods, so the church allowed them to worship the goddess Brighid as a saint — thus the creation of St.
Brigid’s Day. Today, there are many churches around the world which bear her name.

Purification and Light:

For many Christians, February 2nd continues to be celebrated as Candelmas, the feast of purification of the Virgin. By Jewish law, it took forty days after a birth for a woman to be cleansed following the birth of a son. Forty days after Christmas – the birth of Jesus – is February 2nd. Candles were blessed, there was much feasting to be had, and the drab days of February suddenly seemed a little brighter. In Catholic churches, the focus of this celebration is St. Brighid.

Love & Courtship:

February is known as a month when love begins anew, in part to to the widespread celebration of Valentine’s Day. In some parts of Europe, there was a belief that February 14th was the day that birds and animals began their annual hunt for a mate. Valentine’s Day is named for the Christian priest who defied Emperor Claudius II’s edict banning young soldiers from marrying. In secret, Valentine “tied the knot” for many young couples. Eventually, he was captured and executed on Feb. 14, 269 C.E. Before his death, he smuggled a message to a girl he had befriended while imprisoned — the first Valentine’s Day card.

Serpents in the Spring

Although Imbolc isn’t even mentioned in non-Gaelic Celtic traditions, it’s still a time rich in folklore and history. According to the Carmina Gadelica, the Celts celebrated an early version of Groundhog Day on Imbolc too – only with a serpent, singing this poem:

Thig an nathair as an toll
(The serpent will come from the hole)
la donn Bride
(on the brown day of Bride (Brighid)
Ged robh tri traighean dh’an
(though there may be three feet of snow)
Air leachd an lair
(On the surface of the ground.)

Among agricultural societies, this time of year was marked by the preparation for the spring lambing, after which the ewes would lactate (hence the term “ewe’s milk” as “Oimelc”). At Neolithic sites in Ireland, underground chambers align perfectly with the rising sun on Imbolc.

The Goddess Brighid

Like many Pagan holidays, Imbolc has a Celtic connection as well, although it wasn’t celebrated in non-Gaelic Celtic societies. The Irish goddess Brighid is the keeper of the sacred flame, the guardian of home and hearth. To honor her, purification and cleaning are a wonderful way to get ready for the coming of Spring. In addition to fire, she is a goddess connected to inspiration and creativity.

Brighid is known as one of the Celtic “triune” goddesses — meaning that she is one and three simultaneously. The early Celts celebrated a purification festival by honoring Brighid, or Brid, whose name meant “bright one.” In some parts of the Scottish Highlands, Brighid was viewed in her aspect as crone as Cailleach Bheur, a woman with mystical powers who was older than the land itself. Brighid was also a warlike figure, Brigantia, in the Brigantes tribe near Yorkshire, England. The Christian St. Brigid was the daughter of a Pictish slave who was baptized by St. Patrick, and founded a community of nuns at Kildare, Ireland.

In modern Paganism, Brighid is viewed as part of the maiden/mother/crone cycle. She walks the earth on the eve of her day, and before going to bed each member of the household should leave a piece of clothing outside for Brighid to bless. Smoor your fire as the last thing you do that night, and rake the ashes smooth. When you get up in the morning, look for a mark on the ashes, a sign that Brighid has passed that way in the night or morning. The clothes are brought inside, and now have powers of healing and protection thanks to Brighid.

Author

Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com

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View Our Imbolc Page for more rituals, spells, folklore, history, crafts and so much more.

 

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We are Witches
We walk the path of the Old Gods
From this moment forth
We will not walk alone
Together, we will worship
Together, we will practice our Craft
Together, we will learn and grow
We vow to work, from this day forward
In perfect love and perfect trust
According to the free will of all
And for the good of all
Creating only beauty
Singing in harmony
Our song upon the Earth
Love is the law and love is the bond
In the name of the Goddess and the God
So do we vow, and so mote it be.
Source:
Circle, Coven, & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice
Deborah Blake

 

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Categories: Articles, Esbats, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “February, the Second Month of the year of our Goddess, 2016

  1. Thank you for all this useful information! I especially loved the info about the Esbat moon, it was really helpful! <3

  2. This was a great article. As always you went in depth and didn’t do a brief overview unlike some. And those were such cute suggestions on things to do on Mabon! Blessed Be!

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