Hold an Imbolc Candle Ritual for Solitaries

Hold an Imbolc Candle Ritual for Solitaries

Hundreds of years ago, when our ancestors relied upon the sun as their only source of light, the end of winter was met with much celebration. Although it is still cold in February, often the sun shines brightly above us, and the skies are often crisp and clear. As a festival of light, Imbolc came to be called Candlemas. On this evening, when the sun has set once more, call it back by lighting the seven candles of this ritual.

** Note: although this ceremony is written for one, it can easily be adapted for a small group.

First, set up your altar in a way that makes you happy, and brings to mind the themes of Imbolc. You’ll also want to have on hand the following:

Prior to beginning your ritual, take a warm, cleansing bath. While soaking, meditate on the concept of purification. Once you’re done, dress in your ritual attire, and begin the rite. You’ll need:

  • Seven candles, in red and white (tealights are perfect for this)
  • Something to light your candles with
  • A large bowl or cauldron big enough to hold the candles
  • Sand or salt to fill the bottom of the bowl/cauldron

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

Pour the sand or salt into the bowl or cauldron. Place the seven candles into the sand so they won’t slide around.Light the first candle. As you do so, say:

Although it is now dark, I come seeking light.
In the chill of winter, I come seeking life.

Light the second candle, saying:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Light the third candle. Say:

This light is a boundary, between positive and negative.
That which is outside, shall stay without.
That which is inside, shall stay within.

Light the fourth candle. Say:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Light the fifth candle, saying:

Like fire, light and love will always grow.
Like fire, wisdom and inspiration will always grow.

Light the sixth candle, and say:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Finally, light the last candle. As you do so, visualize the seven flames coming together as one. As the light builds, see the energy growing in a purifying glow.

Fire of the hearth, blaze of the sun,
cover me in your shining light.
I am awash in your glow, and tonight I am
made pure.

Take a few momemnts and meditate on the light of your candles. Think about this Sabbat, a time of healing and inspiration and purification. Do you have something damaged that needs to be healed? Are you feeling stagnant, for lack of inspiration? Is there some part of your life that feels toxic or tainted? Visualize the light as a warm, enveloping energy that wraps itself around you, healing your ailments, igniting the spark of creativity, and purifying that which is damanged.

When you are ready, end the ritual. You may choose to follow up with healing magic, or with a Cakes and Ale ceremony.

 

Author

 Paganism/Wicca Expert

Article published on & owned by About.com

Brighid’s Crossroads Divination

Brighid’s Crossroads Divination

Imbolc is a time when the Wheel of the Year has reached a crossroads between light and dark. The earth is about to quicken, and yet no one knows exactly what lies ahead of us. There are twists and turns on the path to come, although where it leads is anyone’s guess.

Among her many aspects, Brighid is considered a goddess of the crossroads. She is said to be able to see where we’ve been, and where each road might take us, should we choose to follow it.

A Brighid’s Cross unites the four elements, and creates paths which travel in the four directions. Because of this, Imbolc is an ideal time for divination. Not sure where your headed this year, or what choices lie before you? Let Brighid help guide you as you weave a crossroads of your own in her honor. As you create a Brighid’s Cross as part of this divination, ask her to inspire you, and guide you towards the right path in the coming months.

For this divination, you’ll want to find a place where you can be alone and undisturbed. If it’s warm enough, try to get outside, perhaps out in the woods where two paths intersect.

Before you begin, read the instructions here on how to Make a Brighid’s Cross. Have all your supplies on hand prior to beginning your divination ritual.

Begin by closing your eyes, and thinking about where you’ve been in the past year, spiritually, emotionally, even physically. What things have you done that bring your regret? What things have brought you joy? Is there anything you wanted to do, but didn’t get a chance to?

Picture yourself wandering along a path, out of the past and into the present. Let your mind roam freely, and visualize yourself approaching a crossroads. Perhaps it’s a place in a forest, where a pair of deer trails run together. Maybe it’s in the mountains, where streams intersect. Or maybe you picture yourself out in a wide open space, with roads connected in the middle of nowhere.

Regardless, see yourself at that crossroads. You are at the center, and branching out from where you stand are many paths. Each leads in a different direction. Each path will take you to something new. Begin creating your Make a Brighid’s Cross, and as you weave the straws together, think about what may lie in each direction.

As you look out over your choices, thinking about which way to travel, Brighid herself is standing beside you. Continue weaving your cross, and watch her. She points out one of the roads.

When you’ve finished your cross, close your eyes once more, and meditate on the path which Brighid indicated for you. What lies in that direction? Is it something familiar and comforting? Something new and unknown? Focus on the cross you’ve made, and let this newly chosen path inspire you. Know that it will ultimately bring you to something good and positive and strong.

When you’ve finished, you may wish to make an offering to Brighid as a gesture of thanks for her guidance

 

Author

Paganism/Wicca Expert

Article published on & owned by About.com

Ways to Celebrate Imbolc

Ways to Celebrate Imbolc

On Imbolc, the Sun King’s chariot ascends in the sky; the sun’s rays grow stronger and days grow longer. Witches celebrate this spoke in the Wheel of the Year as a reaffirmation of life and a time to plant “seeds” for the future. You may wish to build a fire in a magick cauldron to honor Brigid. On a piece of paper, write wishes you want to materialize during the year, then drop the paper into the cauldron. As the paper burns, the smoke rises toward the heavens carrying your requests to Brigid.

In keeping with holiday’s theme of fire, many people light candles to honor the Goddess. Candles are the most common tool in the witch’s magickal tool box, used in all sorts of spells and rituals. Engrave words that represent your wishes—love, prosperity, health, etc.–into the candle’s wax. Then light the candle and focus your attention on its flame, while you envision your wishes coming true.

Skye Alexander, The Everything Wicca and Witchcraft Book: Rituals, spells, and sacred objects for everyday magick (Everything®)

The Significance of Imbolc

The Significance of Imbolc

Brigid is one of the fertility goddesses, and Imbolc means “in the belly.” This holiday honors all forms of creativity, of the mind as well as the body. Illustrations of Brigid sometimes show her stirring a great cauldron, the witch’s magick tool that symbolizes the womb and the receptive, fertile nature of the Divine Feminine. As goddess of inspiration, Brigid encourages everyone, regardless of gender, to stir the inner cauldron of creativity that exists within.

Although Brigid is an aspect of the Divine Feminine, her day falls under the zodiac sign Aquarius, a masculine air sign in astrology. Her blazing hearth is both the metalsmith’s forge and the homemaker’s cook fire. Thus, she represents mind and body, a blend of yin and yang energies, and the union of polarities that is necessary for creation.

Skye Alexander, The Everything Wicca and Witchcraft Book: Rituals, spells, and sacred objects for everyday magick (Everything®)

Getting to Know A Little About Imbolc and Enjoying It!

Getting to Know A Little About Imbolc and Enjoying It!

Imbolc is what’s known as a cross-quarter holiday, and it falls on February 2, midway between Yule and Ostara. If that date seems familiar to you, it is because these days it is known to most folks (the non-witchy kind, anyway) as Groundhog Day. Whatever you call it, Imbolc celebrates the first signs of spring and the end of winter’s cold and gloom. Admittedly, in some parts of the country, such as my home in upstate New York, you kind of have to take the “spring is coming” bit on faith, but it is still worth celebrating all the same.

Imbolc was originally a Celtic holiday dedicated to Brigit, the goddess of smithcraft, healing, and the arts. It is also a fire festival, so it is well suited for bonfires, lots of candles, and anything creative in nature. Try having a Pagan poetry reading, or maybe a sacred s’mores party (hey, any excuse for chocolate).

For Witches, this is a time of cleansing and purification as we ready ourselves to enter the more active part of the year. The goddess is a maiden again, and the young god-reborn at Yule-is moving from infancy into robust childhood. The earth is shaking off her wintry sleep and rousing herself in preparation for another season of growth and renewal, which makes it the perfect time for us to do the same.

If you want, try taking a ritual cleansing bath on Imbolc Eve. Put a few drops of lavender oil in the tub along with some sea salt, light a few candles, and listen to some soothing music. (Note: the candles should go near the tub, not in the tub. Just so we’re clear.) While you sit in the bath, feel the warm water washing away the stresses and negativity of the winter season, and visualize yourself rising like Venus out of the ocean (or Neptune, if you’re a guy)-powerful, energized, and ready to face the challenges of the season ahead.

Deborah Blake, Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Find the Man in the Moon

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2016 February 1

Find the Man in the Moon
Image Credit & Copyright: Dani Caxete

 

Explanation: Have you ever seen the Man on the Moon? This common question plays on the ability of humans to see pareidolia — imagining familiar icons where they don’t actually exist. The textured surface of Earth’s full Moon is home to numerous identifications of iconic objects, not only in modern western culture but in world folklore throughout history. Examples, typically dependent on the Moon’s perceived orientation, include the Woman in the Moon and the Rabbit in the Moon. One facial outline commonly identified as the Man in the Moon starts by imagining the two dark circular areas — lunar maria — here just above the Moon’s center, to be the eyes. Surprisingly, there actually is a man in this Moon image — a close look will reveal a real person — with a telescope — silhouetted against the Moon. This featured well-planned image was taken in mid-January in Cadalso de los Vidrios in Madrid, Spain. Do you have a favorite object that you see in the Moon?

Planetary Positions for February 2016

Planetary Positions for February 2016

 

Sun
Sun is in Capricorn till 13th of Feb.
It then moves to Aquarius, which is a detrimental sign for Sun.
Comes under 4th aspect of Mars & 3rd aspect of Sun in Capricorn
Comes under 3rd aspect of Saturn
Jupiter & Rahu will aspect Sun when it is in Aquarius
Ketu would be conjunct with Sun

Mars
Is in Libra till 21st of Feb
Ketu starts aspecting Mars through its 9th house aspect once Ketu moves to Aquarius
Mars moves to Swakshetra of Scorpio on 21st Feb.
Mars and Saturn will be in Scorpio together for a long time in 2016.

Mercury
Is in Sagittarius at the beginning of the month and will move to Capricorn on 9th February
Mars aspects mercury though its 4th house aspect when Mercury is in Capricorn till Mars moves out of Scorpio
In sagittarius, Mercury is aspected by Jupiter and under close aspect of Rahu.
Venus starts conjunction with Mercury and continues as both planets are moving to Capricorn few days apart.
Mercury will be in close aspect by Saturn.

Jupiter
is in Leo through the month and is retrograde
Jupiter and Rahu are now close to each other

Venus
Venus is in Sagittarius till 12th and then move to Capricorn.
Saturn aspect Venus when in Capricorn.

Saturn
Saturn is in Scorpio through the month
Rahu will come under asepct of Saturn.
 

Source

Vedic Astrology

Earth Sky News for Feb. 1: Use Big Dipper’s pointers to find North Star

Use Big Dipper’s pointers to find North Star

Tonight, if you can find the Big Dipper in the northern sky in mid to late evening, you can find the North Star, Polaris. The Big Dipper is low in the northeast sky at nightfall, but it’ll climb upward during the evening hours, to reach its high point for the night in the wee hours after midnight. A well-known trick for finding Polaris, the legendary North Star, is that the two outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper point to it. Those stars are Dubhe and Merak. They are well known among amateur astronomers as The Pointers.

Can’t find the Big Dipper? Yes, you can!

It really does look like a dipper, and it’s pretty bright. You just have to look for it at a time when it’s visible. And that’ll be tonight, and for many nights to come over the coming weeks and months … in the north in mid-evening. Once you find the Big Dipper, use the pointer stars to find Polaris, the North Star.

The Big Dipper isn’t a constellation, by the way. Instead, it’s an asterism, just a recognizable pattern of stars on the sky’s dome. It’s part of the constellation Ursa Major, the Greater Bear.

Bottom line: Use the Big Dipper to find Polaris, the North Star. Plus, early in the morning on February 2, look for the moon between Mars and Saturn.

 

Author

Deborah Byrd

Article published on EarthSky