Stones of Imbolc

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Witches of the Craft’s Journal for Friday, February 1

Imbolc/Candlemas Comments

My Lady Brighid, Goddess of fire,
Bless my intentions and grant my desire.
From Summer’s sunshine through Winter’s snow,
You kindle the spark and make hearts glow.
O Gracious Goddess I now ask of thee,
To grant to me power, love and purity.
So Mote It Be.

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Brigid, Celtic Goddess of Imbolc

Brigit is the central Irish Goddess. She is known as Brigantia in England and Bride in Scotland. She rules metal work and smithy, fire, poetry, midwifery and martial arts–but is primarily known as a major Mother Goddess. Brigit is a face of the Triple Goddess, and able to see all–often represented by an ever watchful eye. The three heart-shaped leaves of the shamrock recall the magical Celtic number of three, as well as the number of Brigit’s faces. From nine to Nineteen priestesses once tended an undying fire in her name at Kildare. Brigid is so central to Ireland that the newly converted people would not give her up, so her name metamorphosed into St. Bridgid, who in Irish Christian myth acts as tender and supportive friend of Mary and as the midwife at Christ’s birth. Barbara G. Walker writes that to the Irish people, however, she continued to be a Queen of Heaven and the mother of all the deities of the new religion. As the Saint, she also matched wits with St. Patrick, who is as mythical as she. At times they seem to be consorts, at others, adversaries. It cannot have helped their relationship that Patrick is known for ridding Ireland of snakes, and since Bridgid the saint descended from a pagan goddess and priestess persona, whose sacred healing totem is the snake. So when St. Patrick says he is ridding the isle of snakes, what he means is he is ridding it of pagans. Nevertheless, Patricius and Bridgid were often considered the primal Mother and Father, and were supposedly buried together at Derry Down.

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Imbolc

February 1 – 2

Imbolc (pronounced “IM-bulk”, “IM mol’g” or “EM-bowl/k”) is one of the Greater Wiccan Sabbats and is usually celebrated on February 2nd. In the Celtic tradition it is celebrated on February 1st or the first Full Moon in Aquarius. Other names Imbolc are known by include Imbolg, Imbolic (Celtic), Imbolgc Brigantia (Caledonii Tradition, or the Druids), Candlelaria (Mexican Craft), Disting (Teutonic Tradition – celebrated on February 14th) Candlemas (some Pagan Traditions and/or individuals prefer this name), the Feast of Candlemas and St. Bridget’s Day (Christian), Oimelc, Brigid’s Day, Lupercus (Strega), the Feast of Lights, the Feast of the Virgin, the Snowdrop Festival, or the Festival of Lights. The name “Imbolc” or “Oimelc”, which is derived from Gaelic, means “ewe’s milk” after the lactating sheep that are feeding their first born lambs of the new season at this time of year.

Current Planetary Positions

February 01, 2019

Sun: 12 Aquarius 22
Moon: 06 Capricorn 11
Mercury: 14 Aquarius 06
Venus: 27 Sagittarius 17
Mars: 21 Aries 16
Jupiter: 17 Sagittarius 52
Saturn: 15 Capricorn 01
Uranus: 28 Aries 53
Neptune: 14 Pisces 57
Pluto: 21 Capricorn 39

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Planetary aspects for the Month of February

The planetary aspects listed below are for New York time.

01 Feb 10:19 pm – Mars square Pluto
02 Feb 06:41 pm – Venus trine Uranus
03 Feb 04:54 pm – Mercury sextile Jupiter
04 Feb 04:03 pm – New Moon at 15 45
07 Feb 07:32 pm – Sun sextile Jupiter
07 Feb 08:24 pm – Mercury sextile Mars
09 Feb 05:53 pm – Mercury sextile Uranus
12 Feb 05:26 pm – 1st Quarter Moon at 23 54
13 Feb 01:20 am – Mars conjunct Uranus
17 Feb 03:43 am – Venus sextile Neptune
18 Feb 02:54 am – Sun sextile Uranus
18 Feb 05:51 am – Venus conjunct Saturn
19 Feb 01:36 am – Mercury conjunct Neptune
19 Feb 10:53 am – Full Moon at 00 42
19 Feb 09:39 pm – Mercury sextile Saturn
22 Feb 03:39 pm – Mercury square Jupiter
22 Feb 10:52 pm – Venus conjunct Pluto
23 Feb 12:17 pm – Mercury sextile Pluto
26 Feb 06:27 am – 3rd Quarter Moon at 07 34
27 Feb 09:32 pm – Sun sextile Mars

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A Look At The Stars for February 1 thru February 3

Friday February 1
10:19 pm – Mars square Pluto from Monday to next Tuesday means power struggles and confrontations. This is because of your intense desire to gain control over others, or of situations. You may also notice a need to climb the ladder and achieve a more powerful position in your profession. Even if you chose to play it safe this weekly horoscope, you may have to deal with other people trying to dominate you or challenge your ego or position at work.

Saturday February 2
6:41 pm – Venus trine Uranus from Friday to next Monday gives an urge to try something new that can apply to all areas of life, from hobbies to romance. Your affections will be stimulated and new love is quite possible under this influence. It may be difficult to apply yourself to boring routine as you are easily distracted by anything new or shiny. If you already have a partner then you will be seeking a different kind of pleasure.

Sunday February 3
8:02 am – Moon enters Aquarius
4:54 pm – Mercury sextile Jupiter from Saturday to Monday favors thinking about and planning your future. A broad outlook and excellent decision-making skills allows you to clearly visualize the preferred path ahead. The positive thinking associated this part of your weekly horoscope is another reason why looking ahead is ideal at the moment. Good communication skills and open self-expression make socializing rich and fulfilling.

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New Moon 4 February 2019 – Hope and Goodwill

The New Moon on Monday February 4, 2019 at 15° Aquarius is very fortunate. The New February 2019 astrology is the best of any moon phase for over a year. Sun, Moon and Mercury sextile Jupiter bring good luck, good news, optimism, generosity and happiness.

The February 2019 new moon also sits at the midpoint of Saturn sextile Neptune to bring spiritual wisdom and help make your dreams come. This is a generous, charitable and philosophical new moon of hope and goodwill.

New Moon Meaning
A new moon represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of another new 28 day cycle. Sun conjunct Moon gives an invigorating burst of energy and initiative. So this is an excellent time for making a fresh start, turning over a new leaf, or starting a new project. You can also question old habits, behaviors and beliefs as you search for new and inventive ways to make progress.

The effects of the February 4 new moon will last four weeks up to the March 6 New Moon. The best time for making a fresh start and for beginning new projects is during the first two weeks of this new moon cycle. This waxing phase of the Moon lasts from February 4 to the February 19 Full Moon.

New Moon February 2019 Astrology
The February 4 new moon at 15°45′ Aquarius has a positive influence because it is conjunct Mercury and trine Jupiter. So it brings optimism, generosity and a philosophical outlook. The new moon at the midpoint of Saturn sextile Neptune increases spiritual awareness and understanding.

15 13 – Saturn/Neptune Midpoint
15 30 – Kappa Delphini
15 45 – New Moon February 2019
16 00 – Zeta Delphini
16 20 – Amphitrite (Asteroid 29)

There are no major fixed stars conjunct this new moon. But I will discuss the minor stars in Delphinus Constellation after describing the most important planetary aspects.

Mercury Sextile Jupiter
The new moon conjunct Mercury brings a focus on thinking and communication. The new moon sextile Jupiter adds hope, goodwill, generosity and happiness. Opportunities for material and spiritual growth can increase your wealth and bring success and contentment. The orbs for these two aspects are not particularly strong but they combine as Mercury sextile Jupiter, which is strong at only 1°32′.

Mercury sextile Jupiter gives positive thinking, a broad outlook and good decision-making skills. You can clearly visualize the preferred path ahead to plan your future. Good communication skills and open self-expression improve relationships. This is a good new moon for socializing and making new friends and business contacts. Diplomacy and tact are helpful for business negotiations and legal matters.

The easy uptake of ideas and good concentration mean you can study or sit exams with less stress than usual. You could also increase your general knowledge and expand your horizons through travel and adventure.

Good news and good luck can increase your level of happiness and satisfaction. This new moon should foster cordial political and religious discussion. Social and humanitarian causes should gain positive media attention.

Saturn Sextile Neptune
Saturn sextile Neptune brings material gain from spiritual pursuits. You can make your dreams come true with hard work and a sensible, realistic approach. You will understand your own limitations but be optimistic at the same time.

Spiritual wisdom brings the patience and self-discipline to sacrifice short-term gratification for long-term success. You can also help make other people’s dream come true through practical help and spiritual support.

New moon February 2018 is ideal for self-reflection, dreaming and meditation. You could make prayer and ritual part of your daily routine. Devotion and service to others will bring satisfaction and contentment at the spiritual level.

–Astrology King

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The Solar Almanac for Friday, February 1

Sun Direction: 115.50° ESE↑
Sun Altitude: 4.78°
Sun Distance: 91.594 million mi
Next Equinox: Mar 20, 2019 4:58 pm (Vernal)
Sunrise Today: 6:57 am↑ 111° Southeast
Sunset Today: 5:19 pm↑ 249° West
Length of Daylight: 10 hours, 21 minutes

–timeanddate.com

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Solar Lore

In ancient Norse legend, the sun goddess Sol travels through the sky chased by the wolf Sköll, who intends to devour her. (Sköll’s brother Hati does the same to the moon at night.) Eclipses were said to be a sign that Sköll was dangerously close to catching Sol.

In fact, the Norse believed that one day, the sun would finally be devoured. Mythology foretold a huge battle called Ragnarök, in which major gods would die and the Earth would be engulfed in a massive flood. This apocalypse would wipe the Earth, clean to be repopulated by a pair of human survivors

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The Lunar Almanac for Friday, February 1

Moon Direction: 149.57° SSE↑
Moon Altitude: 24.42°
Moon Distance: 249703 mi
Next New Moon: Feb 4, 20193:03 pm
Next Full Moon: Feb 19, 20199:53 am
Next Moonset: Today2:40 pm
Current Moon Phase: Waning Crescent
Illumination: 9.6%

–timeanddate.com

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Lunar Calendar

Moon Phase Tonight: Waning Crescent

New Moon: Feb 4, 2019 at 3:03 pm
(Next Phase)

Third Quarter: Jan 27, 2019 at 3:10 pm
(Previous Phase)

–timeanddate.com

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The Sky This Week for February 1 thru February 3

The waning crescent Moon stars in a series of conjunctions it this week’s predawn sky as it passes Jupiter, then Venus, and finally Saturn.
By Richard Talcott

Friday, February 1
A pair of fine binocular objects are on display during evenings this week. The open star clusters M46 and M47 reside about a degree apart in the northwestern corner of the constellation Puppis the Stern. The two lie about 12° east-northeast of the sky’s brightest star, Sirius. The western cluster, M47, glows at 4th magnitude and appears as a fuzzy patch sprinkled with several pinpoint stars. Sixth-magnitude M46 shows up as a hazy collection of faint stars that is hard to resolve under most conditions. Although it contains nearly twice as many stars as M47, M46 appears fainter and fuzzier because it lies some three times farther from Earth.

Saturday, February 2
Although Saturn passed on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth exactly one month ago, it already appears low in the southeast during morning twilight. From mid-northern latitudes, the ringed planet rises about 90 minutes before the Sun and climbs 10° above the horizon a half-hour before sunup. Saturn shines at magnitude 0.6 and should be fairly easy to pick out of the twilight. The waning crescent Moon makes the task even easier this morning. Its 5-percent-lit crescent appears 3° to the ringed planet’s lower left. Simply center the Moon through binoculars and look for the bright point of light near the field’s upper right edge.

For those who believe in folklore, the fate of winter rests on the shoulders of the groundhog. If the furry rodent sticks his head out of his burrow this morning and sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. But if the weather is cloudy, it means spring is right around the corner. What does this have to do with astronomy? Groundhog Day celebrates one of the four so-called cross-quarter days, which mark the midpoints between the solstices and equinoxes. February 2 falls approximately midway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.

Sunday, February 3
The variable star Algol in Perseus appears faintest at 11:55 p.m. EST, when it shines at magnitude 3.4. If you start watching it immediately after darkness falls, you can see it dim from its peak brightness (magnitude 2.1) to minimum and then start brightening again. This eclipsing binary star runs through a cycle from minimum to maximum and back every 2.87 days, but the drop from peak brightness and subsequent rise lasts only about 10 hours. Algol appears nearly overhead soon after darkness falls and descends toward the northwestern horizon well after midnight.

–Astronomy Magazine

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Moon Phase Calendar for February 1

Current Moon Phase: Waning Crescent

Moon Currently in Capricorn

Moon in Capricorn:
You might have a strong need for being useful to the society and you look for justification in the outside world. You may underestimate what you want from yourself and for yourself. Shyness may be accompanied by resentment of the fact that others ignore you. Do not seek approval from the outside, it will not help you get rid of your doubt and it is harmful to you. You have to trust your inner values.

Organs influenced by Capricorn Moon Sign:
Organs: Knees, joints, backbone, spinal muscles, patella, bones, tendons and ligaments, skin, hair, spleen, the organ of balance.

These organs are now more sensitive so provide them with extra care.

Surgical operations:
Surgical operations are recommended during the Waning Moon.
However, avoid surgeries of organs under the influence of the Moon Sign.

Welcome to the Month of February

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About The Month

February–The Month of Purification
This month did not always hold its present position, but was originally the last month in the year. The name is taken from a Latin word, februare, meaning “to make pure”.

In the Palatine Hill, another of the seven hills of Rome, was a cave dug in the rock, and in it stood an image of the god Lupercus covered with a goat’s skin. Lupercus was the God of Fertility or springing into life, and on the 15th of February a great festival was held in his honour. Sacrifices of goats and dogs were made; then the priests cut up the skins of the goats, twisted the pieces into thongs, and ran through the city striking all who came in their way. As in the very earliest times it was the shepherds who held this festival, it is thought that this running about with thongs meant the purifying of the land. The idea of the whole festival seems to have been one of purifying, of a new life, so the name chosen for the month in which it was held was one formed from a word meaning “to make pure”.

There are some who think that Lupercus was the same as Pan, the God of the Shepherds. Pan was said to have been a son of Mercury, but he was not like the other gods; his body was covered with goat’s hair, and his feet and ears were also like those of a goat. He was very fond of music and dancing, and spent most of his time in the forests playing with the wood nymphs–beautiful girls who lived among the trees. One day he saw a wood nymph, named Syrinx, with whom he fell in love, but she was frightened and ran away from him, and when Pan pursued her she prayed to the gods for help. She was at once changed into a clump of reeds, and Pan, in his disappointment, broke off seven pieces of the reed, bound them together, and so made an instrument of music, which was called the Syrinx after the beautiful wood nymph.

The invention of the Syrinx by Pan has been wonderfully described by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in a poem which begins:

“What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragon-fly on the river.”

This story of Pan and Syrinx reminds us that the Greeks and the Romans imagined the mountains, the valleys, the woods, and the rivers to be peopled with lesser gods and goddesses, whose task of caring for the trees, the flowers, and the grass was appointed them by Jupiter. The woodland gods were known as Satyrs, and like their leader, Pan, were half man and half goat. Another famous satyr was Silenus, who was put in charge of Bacchus, one of Jupiter’s sons, and the God of Wine. Silenus taught Bacchus, and accompanied him on his travels on the earth. The God of Wine rode in a chariot drawn by wild beasts, Silenus following him on an ass, and with them a merry company of nymphs and satyrs crowned with ivy leaves, who danced and sang and made music in praise of Bacchus.

“And as I sat, over the light blue hills
There came a noise of revellers; the rills
Into the wide stream came of purple hue–
‘T was Bacchus and his crew!
The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills
From kissing cymbals made a merry din–
‘T was Bacchus and his kin!
Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood
Trifling his ivy-dart, in dancing mood,
With sidelong laughing.”
KEATS–Endymion.

Many stories are told of the wood nymphs, as the Goddesses of the Woods were called. One of the most famous is that of the nymph Echo, who fell deeply in love with the beautiful Narcissus, whom she met hunting in the forest. Narcissus, however, took but little notice of her, and Echo’s love soon turned to hatred and anger. She prayed to Venus, the Goddess of Love, that Narcissus might be punished for his hard-heartedness, and then sorrowfully hiding herself among the mountains, pined away until only her voice remained, and in lonely places the voice of Echo still answers those who call.

Meanwhile Venus sought an opportunity for punishing Narcissus by making him suffer in the same way as Echo had done. One day Narcissus, hot and thirsty with hunting, came to a shaded pool, and, as he stooped to drink, saw in the clear water the face, as he thought, of a water nymph. So beautiful was she that Narcissus was filled with love for her, and eagerly stretched out his arms; but no sooner did his hands touch the water than she vanished. He drew back in surprise and waited anxiously till the ruffled water became smooth, when again he saw the beautiful nymph. He spoke to her, and her lips answered him, though he heard no sound; he slowly put out his hands towards her, and her hands came to meet his. Sure now of her love, he tried a second time to clasp her in his arms, but, as before, she vanished. Again and again he strove to seize the nymph, but, each time she escaped his grasp. Amazed, Narcissus sank down by the pool and gazed upon that lovely face, which seemed to mock him, and yet held him there. Apollo and his chariot sank into the Western sea, but the Goddess of the Moon shone on the water and showed the nymph still answering his words and holding out her arms to him. The days passed, and Narcissus, unable to tear himself away, grew pale and weak, watching the face, which also grew pale with despairing love. Thus was Echo avenged, for Narcissus slowly starved himself to death through love for his own image! The gods, however, took pity on him and changed his body into a cluster of flowers, which have ever since borne his name.

We have associated Pan, the God of the Shepherds, with this month, and his name is found in a very familiar word in our language. He took a great delight in frightening travellers by creeping up behind them in the dark, and the fear with which he filled them was called “Panic”.

It is interesting to note that just as the Romans held a ceremony of purification during the month of February, so the Christian Church holds the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary on the second day of the month. The feast is called by Roman Catholics, Candlemas, because it is the custom to have a procession in which candles are carried, and it is on this occasion that the candles to be used in the church during the year are consecrated.

The weather at Candlemas is said to show what the weather will be like during the year, and an old proverb says:

“If Candlemas is fair and clear,
There’ll be twa winters in the year”.

The Old English name for February was Sprout-Kale, since the cabbage begins to sprout at this time of the year. It was later changed to Solmonath–sun month–because it is the time when the sun rises higher in the sky and begins to drive away the chill of winter with its glowing rays.

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Meet February’s Moon

The Full Moon for February 2019 rises on the 19th. Traditionally, this Moon was called the Full Snow Moon. Read why—plus, see more Moon facts and folklore.

MOON PHASES FOR FEBRUARY 2019
(All dates and times are ET.)

New Moon: February 4, 4:03 P.M.
First Quarter: February 12, 5:26 P.M.
Full Moon: February 19, 10:53 A.M.
Last Quarter: February 26, 6:27 A.M.

FULL MOON NAMES FOR FEBRUARY
Traditionally, the Moon we see in February is called the Snow Moon due to the typically heavy snowfall of February.

The Full Moon Names we use in The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from Native American tribes, Colonial Americans, or other traditional North American names passed down through generations.

The Moons were a way of tracking the seasons. On average, February is the USA’s snowiest month, according to data from the National Weather Service.

Other Full Moon names include: the “Shoulder to Shoulder Around the Fire Moon” (from the Wishram people of the Pacific Northwest), the “No Snow in the Trails Moon” (Zuni, of the Southwest), and the “Bone Moon” (Cherokee, of the Southeast). The Bone Moon meant that there was so little food that people gnawed on bones and ate bone marrow soup.

BEST DAYS IN FEBRUARY 2019
Below are the Best Days for activities, based on the Moon’s sign and phase in February.

For Planting:

Aboveground crops: 15, 16
Belowground crops: 23–25

For Setting Eggs:

13, 14, 22, 23

For Fishing:

4–19

MOON FACTS AND FOLKLORE
On February 6, 1971, Alan Shepard became the first man to hit a golf ball on the Moon.

Did you know that the Moon’s diameter is 2,160 miles? This is less than the width of the United States (approximately 3,000 miles), and 0.27 of Earth’s diameter (7,926 miles).

Wolves have howled at the Moon for centuries, yet it is still there.

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the Moon.

—Edward Lear, English poet (1812-88)

–The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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“I arise this morning with the strength of starlit heavens, light of sun, radiance of moon, swiftness of wind, splendor of fire, depth of sea, stability of earth, fullness of rock.

I arise today through the strength of the Goddess, Her eye to look before me, Her ear to hear me, Her voice to speak for me, Her hand to guard me, Her way to lie before me, Her shield to protect me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Goddess, through love of her many forms, through understanding of Her many names, through knowledge of the oneness of the creator and creation.”
–Daily Spiritual Program cassette by Evaleon Hill.

–Celtic Wheel of the Year
Christine Irving

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Today is Friday, February 1

Friday is the day of Venus. It takes it name from Frigg, the Goddess of love and transformation. She rules the spiritual side of a person that manifests in the physical. Because of this, Friday is often thought of as dangerously unpredictable. This is expressed in an old East Anglian adage:

Friday’s day will have its trick
The fairest or foulest day of the week.

Deity: Frigg

Zodiac Sign: Taurus/Libra

Planet: Venus

Tree: Apple

Herb: Vervain

Stone: Sapphire/Chrsolite

Animal: Bull/Serpent

Element: Earth

Color: Yellow/Violet

Number: 7

Rune: Peorth(P)

Celtic Tree Month of Luis (Rowan) (January 21 – February 17)

The Runic Half Month of Elhaz (January 28 – February 11)

Goddess of the Month of Bridhe (January 23 – February 19)

—The Pagan Book of Days
Nigel Pennick

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The Goddess Book of Days for Friday, February 1

Wiccan Sabbat, Imbolc, Candlemas or Brigid, the return of light, rebirth of spring. Dedicated to Goddesses of light, birth, new candles, purification, inspiration, poetry, magick and healing: Brigid, Bride, Brude, Juno Februata, Vesta, Hestia, Oya, Lucia, Lucina, Freya, Perchta, Bertha, Befana, and Isis. The Purification of Mary in the Church calendar.

Goddesses Associated with Friday

Friday For Freya: Astarte, Aphrodite, Erzulie, Aida Wooo, Eve, Venus, Diana, Isis, the Witch of Gaeta, Chalchiuhtlique

—The Goddess Book of Days
Diane Stein

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~ The Goddess Days of the Moon ~

Days 1-3 Dedicated to Persephone, the initiator

Days 4-6 Ruled by Artemis/Diana, the independent one of the wilderness, the impetus behind the newly planted seed

Days 7-9 Kore rules these lunar days, and she is seen as the Maiden of Menarche, the link between childhood and adulthood

Days 10-12 Ruled by Hera, Queen of Heaven and creatrix, representing the power of inspiration

Days 13-15 Demeter, the nurturer, rules these

Days 16-18 Dedicated to Gaia, the Earth Goddess

Days 19-21 Hestia, Goddess of Waning Moon, is the matriarchal grandmother, ruling and protecting her family

Days 22-24 Ruled by Medusa, the crone of death and spiritual release, the necessary destruction that allows a new cycle to begin

Days 25-27 Ruled by Hecate, queen of the underworld and the shades, she is seen as the one who allows departed souls to choose thier paths in the next phase of existence and rebirth

The remaining days of the moon – the dark days – are those of the unknowable Masked Goddess, who is present, but invisible.

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The Wicca Book of Days for Friday, February 1

CANDLEMAS EVE

Brigit, the Celtic Earth-Mother and goddess of fire, wisdom, poetry, and sacred wells, is honored on this day. In Ireland, offerings of yellow flowers are made to the goddess at sacred wells dedicated to her.

In ancient Greece, the three-day Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries began each year on this day in honor of the goddesses Ceres, Demeter, Persephone, and Proserpine.

The Wicca Book of Days
Gerina Dunwich

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On Friday, February 1, We Celebrate….

Imbolc (Ireland)
BRIGIT

Themes: Health and Inspiration

Symbol: A Cauldron

About Brigit: Brigit is an Irish goddess known throughout Europe as “the bright one” because of her inspiring beauty and fiery qualities. Today is Brigit’s festival in Ireland because it’s the traditional first day of spring here, when lingering winter shadows are banished by the sun’s radiance. Anyone desiring fertility, health, or creativity should invoke Brigit’s blessings today, as the ancients did.

To Do Today: During the winter months it’s easy to get a case of the blahs or sniffles. Brigit comes to our aid by offering us the spiritual elixir in her cauldron. Make yourself a nourishing broth today (like chicken bouillon) and serve it in a cauldron (a three-legged bowl). If you don’t have one, any cup or mug would do. Bless the broth by holding your hand over the top, visualizing golden light filling the liquid, and saying,

Brigit, hear my prayer and bless the cauldron [or cup] of inventiveness.
Renew my body, inspire my heart.
Throughout my life, your wholeness impart.
So be it.

Drink the broth to internalize inspiration.

For health, take any candle (a green one is ideal for healing) and carve nineteen crosses into it. The number nineteen and the symbol of a cross are both sacred to Brigit. Light this candle for a few minutes every day for the next nineteen days. Or, you can let the candle burn for nineteen minutes instead.

365 Goddess: A Daily Guide To the Magic and Inspiration of the goddess
Patricia Telesco

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Friday’s Magick & Conjuring for February 1

Friday’s Conjuring

Friday – is associated with Venus

Candle colors – Green, Red, Blue, White, Purple

Spellcrafting Associations: Love, Marriage, Money, Attraction, Luck, Healing, Prosperity, Change, Road Opening work, Bring Peace, Relationships.

–Old Style Conjure Wisdoms, Workings and Remedies
Starr Casas

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Friday’s Magick

Magickal Intent:
Lust
Romance
Happiness
Travel
Friends
Beauty
Sexuality
Harmony
Growth

Planet: Venus

Colors: Pink, Aqua, Seafoam

Crystals: Coral, Emerald, Rose Quartz

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Yule to Imbolc

Witches celebrate the winter solstice with the lesser sabbat of Yule (or Midwinter). This may be the year’s shortest day, but it heralds ever-lengthening hours of daylight as the sun grows in strength. For thee Horned God has been reborn as the Sun Child, or Child of Promise, so that while we may still be light-deprived and shivering in the depths of winter, there is now real hope of being bathed in sunshine and warmth once again.

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The Witches Guide to Imbolc

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.

–Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Orginally published & owned by ThoughtCo.com

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The Witches Almanac for Friday, February 1

St. Brigid’s Day (Irish)

Waning Moon

Moon phase: Fourth Quarter

Moon Sign: Capricorn

Moon enters Virgo 2:13 pm

Incense: Yarrow

Color: Pink

–Llewellyn’s 2019 Magical Almanac
Charlie Rainbow Wolf

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Imbolc, Plus More…

Oimelc – Imbolc in the Saxon – marks the first stirring of life in the earth.The Yule season originally ended at Oimelc. But with increasing organization and industrialization, increasing demands for labor and production, the holiday kept shrinking, first to the two weeks ending at Twelfth Night, then to a single week
ending at New Year’s, then to a single day.

Oimelc begins a season of purification similar to that preceding Yule. It ends at Ostara. No marriages, initiations or puberty rites should be celebrated between Oimelc and Ostara.

The candles and torches at Oimelc signify the divine life-force awakening dormant life to new growth.

THEMES

Growth of roots begin again. Bare branches begin to swell with leaf buds, and growth appears at the tips of evergreen branches. The tools of agriculture are being make ready for Spring.

Xian feasts of St. Brigid, and Celtic feast of Brigit, the maiden aspect of the triple goddess and mother of Dagda. Her symbol is the white swan. A Roman feast of Bacchus and Ceres. The Lupercalia, a feast of Pan. The Nephelim or Titans, those offspring of human-divine unions said to have ruled Atlantis.

Grannus, a mysterious Celtic god whom the Romans identified with Apollo.

PURPOSE OF THE RITES

To awaken life in the Earth. Fire tires to strengthen the young Sun, to bring the fertilizing, purifying, protective and vitalizing influence of fire to the fields, orchards, domestic animals, and people. To drive away winter. To charm candles for household use throughout the year.

FOLK CUSTOMS

The three functions of Oimelc – end of Yule, feast of candles or torches, and beginning of a purificatory season – are divided by the Xian calendar among Twelfth Night, Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras, Carnival). The customs of all three feasts are derived from Oimelc, with at most a thin Xian gloss.

Parades of giant figures (Titans?) in rural towns in France and at Mardi Gras and Carnival celebrations. A figure representing the Spirit of Winter or Death, sometime made of straw, sometimes resembling a snowman, is drowned, burnt or in once case, stuffed with fireworks and exploded. They symbol of Montreal’s Winter Carnival is the giant figure of Bonhomme di Neige (snowman)Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year and St. Valentine’s Day customs.

The French provinces are so rich in Oimelc customs they cannot be listed here. Refer to “The Golden Bough”.

Wassailing the trees: at midnight, carolers carry a bucket of ale, cider or lamb’s wool in a torchlight procession through the orchards. The leader dips a piece of toast in the drink and sedges it in the fork of each tree, with the traditional cheer (variations exist) of: “Hats full, holes full, barrels full, and the little heap under the stairs!”.

Who finds the bean in the Twelfth Night cake becomes king of the feast; who finds the pea becomes queen – never mind the gender of the finders. Rag-bag finery and gilt-paper crowns identify the king and queen. The rulers give ridiculous orders to the guests, who must obey their every command. They are waited on obsequiously, and everything they do is remarked and announced admiringly and importantly: “The King drinks!”, “The Queen sneezes!” and everyone politely imitates the ruler’s example.

SYMBOLIC DECORATIONS

Snowdrops are picked for vases, but otherwise no special decorative effects are indicated. Go carnival, balloons and confetti.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Parades, with showers of confetti, gala balls, masks, street dancing, mumming, winter sports, ice and snow sculpture.

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Let’s Talk Witch – Lighting Fires at Imbolc

If you have been living in the Northwest for long, you must be used to frigid aluminum-gray skies glistening with cold soggy drizzle. Barren tree branches scratch the side of the house as if the chill will come in, past the walls, past your skin into your very bones — and it shouldn’t scare you anymore. Clouds obscure the pale, faint sun till you can’t remember the feeling of it fiery hot on your shoulders. Darkness falls for so many months on end that every so often you must turn every light in the house on just to have some brightness in your world. Wild windstorms knock out the power for hours and days at a time, so you have to use candles for light and heat with the fireplace.

It is the time of year that, for me, best reminds me of how things were, way back when. It is the time of year that I can best appreciate the contrast between cold darkness and warm light. I am ready for change! I am ready for the return of the light to my world!

Seattle winters are dreary, and by the time we get to Imbolc, we are all more than ready for a little lightheartedness and to leave the darkness behind, at least for a few hours. We are ready for purification from the heaviness of the long winter months, and we are ready to celebrate, if not the warming of the land, at least the hope that the heat will soon return and we will yet again bask in the sunshine.

There are many traditional ways to celebrate Imbolc or Bride. These include decorating natural springs and sacred wells, leaving wishes tied on the branches of trees and making corn dollies in honor of the Celtic goddess Brigid (another name for Bride). Making Celtic crosses or Bride’s crosses from wheat straw and braided cornhusks and making and charging (or blessing) candles are other traditional tasks for this time of year. The holiday is also known as Candlemas, this name taken when the Christian church adapted the pagan holiday and made it a candle blessing and the feast of Saint Brigid.

In this culture, most of us were raised to go outside on this day and look for our shadow. If we saw it, there would be six more weeks of winter, as this is a weather marker day — also known as Groundhog’s Day. One of my sisters had the audacity to be born on Imbolc, and she’s seemingly been running from her shadow every since!

You can find more about Imbolc traditions in a multitude of published books. Following, I will tell you about some of my favorite ways to celebrate, purify and get in touch with the energy of fire, water and the earth and that of the Goddess at this time of year.

Creating Beeswax Candles

One of the things we almost always do in our coven is make candles. We save the glass containers from seven-day candles and at Imbolc wash and reuse them to make our own magickal candles. On this day, I also like to create rolled beeswax candles with herbs, oils and stones and infuse them with a specific purpose, for my own personal use all year long.

Making candles is easier than you might think. We ran an article on making your own seven-day candles last year. This year, I’ll talk a bit about the beeswax type, since you can make one, a few or a bunch with little muss and fuss.

First, you’ll want to visit some place that sells candle-making supplies, I personally like Pourette, located in Ballard, that bastion of pagan life. Pourette has been in business for a long time, and the employees there can tell you most anything you want to know about how to make candles and what you will need for a particular kind of effect. Not the magickal effects, unfortunately, but then that’s your department, right?

First, decide what magickal intentions you want to make the candles for — you can have more than one, just concentrate on one at a time. Choose colors accordingly and get a few sheets of the colors of beeswax that you want to work with. For example, if you want to work for money and prosperity, you might choose green. For healing, you might want blue. Psychic work and divination would be white or purple; for love and sex, you might choose red or pink. Look up color correspondences in the back of some of your books; Scott Cunningham has some good correspondence tables for herbs, flowers, stones and oils as well as colors and astrological influences. Don’t forget that your own associations are also important. If gold means money to you, then use that. You’ll want some kind of cotton wicking as well.

You can also include in your candles runes, little bits of paper or parchment with the purpose written on them rolled up in the candle, symbolic charms or figures representing what you want and bits of paper money (corners work well) or stones. The more thought and effort you put into creating your candles, the better results you will have.

Gather all of your ingredients together, planning to make one type of candle at a time. You’ll want a clean, soft surface to work on so as not to crush the beeswax pattern; for this, you can put down an old towel or T-shirt as padding. Also, you should decide at this point how large a candle you want to end up with. I usually cut the sheet of wax into two pieces, so I have two sheets about 4 inches high each. Otherwise, you end up with a fairly tall candle. With herbs, oils and magick inside, they tend to burn very hot. An 8-inch candle can burn up rather quickly.

When you begin, you will want the room to be reasonably warm, so that the wax stays pliable and does not crack when you roll it. I commonly put down the beeswax, then cut a piece of wick the desired length, about an inch or so longer than the wax is tall. Then I get out a bit of everything I want to put into the candle. I use eyedroppers for essential oils and rub a small quantity of oil on what will be the inside of the candle after the wax is rolled around the wick (the part of the wax that’s facing up).

Next, I sprinkle a small amount of each flower or herb I am using onto the wax, so they are evenly distributed from top to bottom. I generally try to keep things simple and only use one or two kinds of herbs in any given candle. Then I include the other things: stones, symbols, paper, and so on that have meaning for me. Next, I slowly and carefully roll the candle tightly around the wick. It helps to fold the wax over the wick a little bit prior to adding the ingredients. Being careful to keep the wax level so I don’t disturb the ingredients’ distribution, I keep rolling until the whole candle is rolled around itself. During this process, I think about the desired results of my magickal candle, as if they have already manifest. I keep the purpose in mind during the whole process and put as much positive energy into it as possible.

When you finish rolling, you’ll want to gently heat the edge of the wax (a hairdryer works well for this) so that you can press the wax into itself and seal the candle, being careful not to crush it in the practice. This process gets easier the more you do it. Don’t be discouraged if your first efforts are a tad messy. You’ll get the hang of it!

When you have finished all of the candles you wish to create at this time, you’ll want to bless and charge them with energy. To do so, cast your circle and do a ritual imbuing them with your purpose. Then you can burn them in your spell work for the rest of the year. Make sure when you burn these candles that you attend them closely, keeping in mind that they should be on a nonflammable surface and being cautious that there is nothing in the vicinity that can catch on fire. When candles have flower petals, herbs, oils and paper inside them and are magickally charged, they tend to burn like an inferno. Your candle may be burning nicely and then all of a sudden flare up and be consumed in a matter of seconds. So guard them closely!

Making Bride’s Water

Another thing I like to do at Imbolc or Bride is to make Bride’s water, water holy to Brigid. We usually do this during a ritual where we invoke Brigid and raise energy for the many things that she represents to us. She is the patron goddess of wells, fire, the forge, music, storytelling, poetry, arts and crafts and much more. She is central to my artistic inspiration, and so I honor her at this time of year by purifying myself with her holy water and with fire (more on that later).

To makes Brigid’s water, we place a huge cauldron in the center of the altar, filled with alcohol and Epsom salts; when lit, it emits a beautiful blue flame. We have ready purified and blessed water in a large container, several pieces of charcoal, some long barbecue tongs and enough small containers with corks that we can each take some Brigid’s water home.

Once we cast the circle and invoke the goddess, we raise energy for Her by chanting, dancing or whatever we have determined. During the energy raising, the charcoal (self-lighting incense charcoal, not barbecue charcoal!) is lit from the fire in the cauldron, and it is allowed to burn for a few minutes until it is glowing red. At the apex of the energy raising, we chant, “Bride, Bride, Bride, purify me… Bride transform me!” Then when we all stop, the charcoal is thrust into the water with a great amount of sizzling, smoke and steam. We then file past the fire and water and are anointed and blessed with the Brigid’s water for purification and inspiration. Each covener takes some home to use much as one would any holy water, to bless and purify house, tools, self family, and so on.

Purifying with Fire

My very favorite form of purification is that of fire. It is odd to think that I — a Pisces with Cancer rising, very watery signs — would enjoy fire so much, but I do have a lot of Aries in my chart, as well as Moon in Leo. A veteran firewalker since 1984, I have a good and close personal relationship with the powerful fire elementals. They are a means to profound transformation, bringing change wherever they occur, whether we like it or not!

I have been working with fire for so long that it takes me by surprise when people are irrationally afraid of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy fear and respect for what fire can do if I am not careful! I have seen people badly burned, and when I lead my coven in firewalking rituals, I admonish them to be very, very afraid. But I add that if you allow fear to stop you in life, you’ll never do anything worthwhile. Don’t be careless with fire, though, or it will most definitely teach you the hard way!

With this in mind, I offer my version of purification by fire. You can do this as the first part of the former ritual or all on its own; it is very powerful all by itself! If you want to do a combination, do the water ritual second, as a blessing after purification by fire.

For the fire purification, you’ll need a cauldron full of 90 percent rubbing alcohol and Epsom salts, which you will light. You can also use 151-proof rum for the alcohol content. Use alcohol and salts about 50/50 by volume; the alcohol should just cover the salts.

Be sure to take safety precautions, such as having a number of wet towels and a fire extinguisher available within reach. Move all furniture out of the way and pull back the drapes, or just do the ritual outside, away from anything flammable if you can. Take off any loose clothing that could catch and tie up your hair if it’s long. It helps if the participants are skyclad, or at least topless, as it is easy to accidentally catch clothing and extremely difficult to put it out! Then get ready for an intense encounter with fire.

Depending on whether you want to in fact light people on fire (very temporarily, and safely) or just allow them to experience the energy of fire, you’ll need one or two torches — one torch if you’re not lighting people, two if you are. If you are not lighting people, you can pass the lit torch slowly over various parts of the body so that the fire just touches the skin. It is instinct to pull away, and it sometimes takes a few moments for people to allow the fire to interact with them. That’s okay. Take time and go slowly, and you will have better results.

If you do want to actually light people on fire, you’ll need a couple small torches. You can make these by wrapping cotton batting around a wooden rod that’s about 10 to 12 inches long and small enough around to be comfortable in your hand (see drawing below). Wrap the cotton around the rod five or six times, then follow that with a complete wrapping of plain gauze. Wrap the gauze around the cotton six to ten times until you have covered it all, and you have a good torch. Finish the torch by tying it with cotton thread wound around the handle at the top and bottom and around the middle several times, so the thread goes from the bottom up, around and ends up back at the bottom. The thread winding ensures the torch stays together.

To light people on fire, you’ll need 70 percent rubbing alcohol. Do not use a higher concentrate than this, or you’ll really burn people! Put the alcohol in a small spray bottle with a mist capability. Before working with a whole coven, it’s not a bad idea for you and a friend or two to try this out yourselves first, just to get familiar with how it works, timing, the feeling it has on different body parts and so on.

During the ritual, you’ll want to have a person or two who do nothing but “spot” people and be ready to put them out if necessary. You put the fire on skin out by using a petting action from the top down, smoothing out the fire. Don’t allow any body part to burn for more than about 5 to 10 seconds, or it may scorch the skin, and you’ll end up with a sunburnlike burn. Be sure and go over the safety procedures before anything is lit! If anything gets out of hand, use the wet towels on people, the fire extinguisher on objects.

When you are ready, the cauldron is lit and the chanting or music begins. Whoever does the lighting holds two torches, one to spray with alcohol and apply to people’s skin, one to remain lit.

To light the ongoing torch, spray it generously with alcohol, being very careful not to drip or get any alcohol on anything else. Then, light the torch from the fire in the cauldron. Next, spray the second torch with two or three mists of alcohol. You’ll then use this torch to apply alcohol to the body part to light.

The safest body part to light is the hands. Have participants hold these out, palms up very flat and together. When you apply alcohol, make sure not get ritualists’ hands too wet or to let alcohol pool on their hands.

After you have applied alcohol, light it with the lit torch, saying something like: “Be transformed!” Let the flame burn for a moment or two and then have the ritualists clap or rub their hands together to put it out. Don’t let them shake their hands in the air while lit; that just makes the fire burn hotter.

The fire will go out of its own accord fairly quickly as the alcohol burns away, but it is more empowering for people to feel able to control it and put it out on their own. The first inclination will be for them to want to put it out right away, as soon as it’s lit. Let them try it a few times, and as they learn that it won’t hurt them, they will be more inclined to allow it to flicker for a few seconds. Suggest that they put their hands on a body part that they want purified by the fire energy, such as over their heart, but only after the fire on their hands is completely out!

We have done this ritual many times with only minor incidents. One year, when we were doing symbols on people’s backs, one man who had said he only wanted to light his hands changed his mind and wanted us to light a symbol on his back. He had longish hair that wasn’t tied up, and though we had him bend over, he stood up before the fire was out and his hair caught slightly and was singed a bit. It wasn’t a disaster, but it was scary enough that I want to reiterate the precautions. If you intend to light anything, including hands, be very careful and do a practice session out of ritual space first.

We use this very powerful energy to transform ourselves, our projects and our lives — coming out from darkness and lighting up our purposes. This ritual has a tendency to be very intense, so keep in mind that people can get carried away by the energy and forget the safety precautions! Make sure to be responsible with the fire and always err on the side of caution.

Afterward, breathe and ground well and share your experiences of the fire energy with one another. It’s amazing the different perceptions people will have.

Whether you choose to enjoy one or more of these suggestions or something else entirely, have a great Imbolc and a wonderful year!

–Sylvana SilverWitch, Author

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The Witches Magick for Friday, February 1 – Solitaire Imbolc Ritual

On your altar should be placed a circle of 13 stones and, within the circle of stones, a circle of 13 candles. Within the circle of candles should be spread some maize – i.e. corn meal – and in that a waxen female candle to symbolize the Goddess on your altar. On the eastern side of the altar should be placed a small sheaf of grain with a candle inserted inside it.

You should dress in your usual ceremonial garb for Magickal rites or skyclad, as you prefer.

Retire to bathe in salt-water (use sea salt) before the ritual. As you do so picture the water cleansing the soul and spirit, just as it cleanses the body. When you have dressed, anoint yourself with a holy oil. When you have prepared yourself, sit in a dim quiet place and light a candle – ONE THAT IS NOT BEING USED IN THE RITES – and meditate on how at this time of year the Goddess in her fiery aspect AS LIGHT was welcomed back into the Temples and the Homes of the land.

Take this candle and walk slowly to your altar. Place it in the circle of the 13 candles. Then light the two altar candles, which are separate from the circle of lights also, and the incense. (Incense should be stick or powdered incense on charcoal in a swinging burner.) Then light all the quarter candles in the 4 directions, starting in the east and going clockwise.

Cast your circle in the usual manner, but Invoke the Goddess with the following:

“Sacred womb, giver of the secrets of Life, Mother of all that exists in the Universe, I ask your guardianship of this gathering and your assistance in my work. I am gathered in celebration of your gifts and my work is most holy. SO MOTE IT BE”

And Invoke the God in the following manner:

“Fire of the sky, guardian of all that exists in the Universe, I ask your guardianship of this gathering and your assistance in my work. I am gathered in celebration of your gifts and my work is most holy. SO MOTE IT BE”

(Continue with the circle casting if it is not already finished)

Light the 13 candles and then the Goddess candle in the center and say:

“Warm and quickening Light awaken and bring forth beauty for thou art my pleasure and my bounty LORD and LADY OSiRIS AND ISIS” (or you may substitute whatever names your circle uses for the God and the Goddess – or those you personally prefer)

Reflect a moment on the coming of the light and offer up the incense.

Say

“O ancient Ones Timeless Goddess and Sacred King who art the heralds of springtime and it’s bounties be with me now in celebration

Hail to Osiris and Isis

Harvest giver and blessed Lady

Let this be a time and a place sacred to your power and your beauty

SO MOTE IT BE”

Light the candle in the sheaf of grain and hold it up with the loaf of bread in the other hand and say (or the cakes – whatever you or your tradition uses for the cakes and wine/juice ceremony)

“My Lord and Lady, as the seed becomes the grain, so the grain becomes the bread, Mark the everlasting value of our seasons and their changes. ”

Break a piece of the bread or cakes off and burn it as an offering in the central candle.

Then say:

“In the deepest Icy Winter the seed of the Earth lies deep within the womb of the Great Mother. The Spring brings the heat of the Father and with their joining comes new life. The completion of the cycle brings food to the children of the world. As I taste the food I shall know the wisdom of the cycles and be blessed with the food of wisdom throughout my life”

Consecrate cakes and wine/juice in the usual manner and partake of them, but first raise your chalice or drinking horn and say:

“Hail to thee ISIS

Hail to thee Osiris

For thou art blessed”

After this commune in meditation with the Lord and lady for a while, then close the circle in your usual manner.

GOOD IMBOLC

Michael Hall, Author
Distributed by PAN – the Psychic Awareness Network – 1-703-362-1139
Note – by Matrika, co-sysop – this ritual was written by someone I knew from the Boston MA. area a couple of years back. It is based on a combination of the lore of the Wicca and some of the afro-Caribbean Diaspora traditions of Paganism and Magick.

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Imbolc Meditation

Submitted By: Cogar niMhorrighan

Here is an original meditation for the Imbolc festival (can be used at any time):

It is a lovely spring day. The air is fresh with the fragrance of green plants preparing to bloom. The sun’s radiance bathes you in comfort,perhaps the first warmth you have felt in many months. You sense that
you are in Ireland, because it is green and everything feels clean and alive. The landscape is timeless and magical. In the distance, you hear birds singing as they welcome the unexpected warmth of the day.Inside you, happiness begins to bubble and dance, very quietly at first. It feels almost like anticipation, but it puts a smile on your lips as well.

You are walking up a slight hill, not steep enough to tire you but just enough to sense that something wonderful can be seen from the top. As you walk, the grass is already tall enough to brush against your lower
legs. You know you are in a wild place where Nature flourishes.

Towards the top of the hill, you see a dolmen – two standing stones and a large stone across the tops of them, like an arch. You wonder why you didn’t see this dolmen sooner. It is as if it appeared when you were just twenty feet from it. Does it mean something? Is it real? You do not pause to wonder, but keep walking towards it.

As you walk between the stones, you notice carvings and symbols on the sides of the dolmen. Some of them are lines and hash-marks, which you suspect are an Ogham message. Others are just symbols, which you will
return to look at, another day.

As you pass through the dolmen, you feel an invisible curtain brush over you gently. In the space of a blink, it is a clear, crisp night. The stars are above you, brilliant and twinkling. You know the moon is behind you, but you do not notice its light because there is a sparkling fire just ahead. There is no breeze, but the evening is chilly as you would expect when Winter is still in the air.

You pull your clothing more closely around you, as you continue up the hill. You are eager to reach the warmth of the fire, which is bigger than you thought at first. In fact, it is a bonfire and you realize you have arrived at Imbolc.

You run the last few steps to stand next to the fire pushing your hands towards it, to capture the heat from a safe distance. Tall yellow and white flames seem to warm you inside and out. You pause to look at the sky again, and savor the moment.

Looking across the flames, you suddenly realize that you are not alone. You can see the top of someone’s head, and you aren’t certain if you have intruded on a private ceremony. Slowly, you walk around the fire, and your companion stands up from the rock she was sitting upon. She is a tall, strong woman, with long hair so light you cannot tell if it is blonde or white. She looks like the Queen of Pentacles in a way, with an ageless sense of knowing and accomplishment. She wears a long gown and an embroidered cape, yet you can see her bare feet peeking out from under her skirt. You know she is someone noble yet without artifice.

Without a word, she stretches out her hands to take yours in welcome.You know, as if you’ve known her all your life, that this is Brighid. This is a special and sacred moment.

She welcomes you to her fire, which will burn tonight and every night,for Imbolc is her festival and her fire is never extinguished.

You sit down next to her, on large flat rocks that are warm from the fire, and very comfortable. She begins to explain to you the meaning of Imbolc, and its promise of a fresh beginning–not just to the plants and
animals, but also to everyone on Earth who chooses to permit Imbolc into their lives.

She helps you to remember your past dreams, especially the ones fromyour childhood which began, “When I grow
up…” And as you recall these fantasies and goals, you realize how many of them were left behind with your childhood, yet how many are still alive in what you do each day, today. This is not a sad realization as much as it is a recognition that you can start afresh now. Every one of those dreams is still with you.

Brighid reaches to her side and picks up a fallen twig from a nearby yewntree. It looks like any other twig, in the firelight. However, when Brighid places it into the fire, the bark on it sparks and flames like a
sparkler, giving enough heat energy to set the twig burning brightly. Without saying anything, Brighid is showing you how even a small spark will set alight your oldest and most neglected dreams.

The lesson was simple, but vital. Now it is time to return to your own world. As you stand, Brighid offers you a cup of clear water, which you sip. The sensation in your mouth is unique. There is a kind of life-giving energy, that is Spring itself. You take a large swallow of the water, and feel your entire body respond to that water with a vitality that–like your forgotten dreams–you had almost forgotten from childhood.

After returning the cup to Brighid, and then a quick embrace, you stride purposefully around the fire and back to the dolmen. Passing under it, you emerge back into the daylight and the warm air and clear sunshine of an early spring day. You know you have not merely learned the meaning of Imbolc, but actually experienced it in your soul. From now on, every time you sip fresh water, or see twigs and branches burning in a bonfire, you will feel Brighid’s presence, and be reminded of the fire–and dreams–that burn within you, too, and will never be extinguished.

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Imbolc Oil
5 drops Sandalwood
5 drops Vanilla extract
6 drops Jasmine
2 drops Balsam
Mix with 2 Tbsp. Grape Seed Oil

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Imbolc Incense

3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Dragon’s Blood
1/2 part Red Sandalwood
1 part Cinnamon
a few drops Red Wine

To this mixture add a pinch of the first flower (dry it first) that is available in your area at the time of Imbolc (Feb. 1st). Burn during Wiccan ceremonies on Imbolc, or simply to attune with the symbolic rebirth of the Sun – the fading of Winter and the promise of spring.

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Candlemas Ritual Potpourri

by Gerina Dunwich

A small cauldron filled with homemade potpourri can be used as a fragrant altar decoration, burned (outdoors) as an offering to the old gods during or after a Sabbat celebration, or wrapped in decorative paper and ribbons and given to a Wiccan sister or brother as a Sabbat gift.

45 drops Myrrh Oil
1 cup Oak Moss
2 cups Dried Heather Flowers
2 cups Dried Wisteria
1 cup Dried Yellow Tulip Petals
1/2 cup Dried Basil
1/2 cup Dried and Chopped Bay Leaves

Mix the myrrh oil with the oak moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and then store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

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Imbolc Soap
1 cup grated unscented soap
¼ cup hot water
1 Tbsp. Apricot oil
1 Tbsp. Angelica
½ Tbsp. crushed Bay
½ Tbsp. crushed Basil
6 drops Myrrh oil

Place grated soap in a heat-proof non-metallic container and add the hot water and apricot oil. Leave until it is cool enough to handle, and then mix together with your hands. If the soap is floating on the water, add more soap. Leave to sit for 10 minutes, mixing occasionally, until the soap is soft and mushy. Once the soap, water, and oil are blended completely, add the dry ingredients. Once the mixture is cool, then add the essential oils (essential oils evaporate quickly in heat). Enough essential oils should be added to overcome the original scent of the soap. Blend thoroughly and then divide the soap mixture into four to six pieces. Squeeze the soaps, removing as much excess water as possible into the shape you desire, and tie in a cheesecloth. Hang in a warm, dry place until the soap is completely hard and dry.

Recipe adapted from Kate West’s The Real Witch’s Kitchen Sabbat Soap recipe.

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13 Ways to Celebrate Imbolc

by Heather Evenstar Osterman

Regardless of what religion we grew up with, most of us have favorite memories of things we did every year for specific holidays. These traditions were what made our celebrations special. So what do you do when the holidays you celebrate now aren’t the same ones you grew up with? How do you share the joys of Imbolc with your family?

Imbolc (or Candlemas/Brigid/whatever you choose to call this celebration) falls on February 2nd and is a time to honor the quickening of the earth and the first manifestations of spring emerging from winter. This Sabbat is sacred to the goddess Brigid in particular, and is a wonderful time to acknowledge your own creativity, expand your knowledge, and practice the healing arts. Here are my suggestions to get you started developing your own family traditions!

Help your kids go through all their clothes, toys, and books to find the unwanted and outgrown items. Donate everything to a charity that will give the items to children who need them.

Collect canned goods from family and friends to give to a food bank. Yule isn’t the only time people are in need.

Go for a walk! Search for signs of spring. Take off your shoes and socks and squish your toes in the mud.

Open all the doors and windows and turn on every light in the house for a few minutes. Let the kids sweep all the old energies out the doors.

Lead the family on a parade around the outside of your home, banging on pots and pans or playing musical instruments to awaken the spirits of the land.

Make corn dollies and a cradle for them to sleep in.

Create a sun wheel out of stalks of grain and hang it on your front door.

Meditate as a family. Have everyone explore what it would feel like to be a seed deep in the earth, feeling the first stirrings of life. Lie on the floor and put out tendrils. Stretch and bloom.

Have your children hold some herb seeds in their hands. Talk to the seeds. Bless them with growth and happiness. Fill them with love. Plant an in-door herb garden.

Decorate candles with stickers, metallic markers, paint and anything else you can think of! Light your candles and give thanks to Brigid for her inspiration.

Help your kids make a special feast! Spicy foods and dairy dishes are traditional. Try Mexican or Indian cuisine. Top it off with poppy seed cake. Drink milk or spiced cider.

Set a fabulous dinner table with your candles, evergreen boughs spring flowers, dragons, sun symbols, or whatever says Imbolc to you. Use the good china.

Let your children make their beds in a special way to represent Brigid’s bed. Go camp style with sleeping bags or build a makeshift canopy! Have sweet dreams…

Heather Osterman is the Family Services Coordinator for the Aquarian Tabernacle Church.

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Spirit Message of the Day – Heart, Hearth, and Home

CELTIC GODDESS BRIGHID
In many traditions of Paganism, the Celtic goddess Brighid is celebrated at Imbolc. A protector of hearth and home, Brighid is a fire goddess who is typically associated with poetry, smithcraft, and inspiration. She was especially honored when it came to matters of prophecy and divination. A sacred flame was maintained by a group of priestesses, and her sanctuary at Kildare became the home of a saint.

Origins of Brighid
In Irish mythological cycles, Brighid (or Brighit), whose name is derived from the Celtic brig or “exalted one”, is the daughter of the Dagda, and therefore one of the Tuatha de Dannan. Her two sisters were also called Brighid, and were associated with healing and crafts. The three Brighids were typically treated as three aspects of a single deity, making her a classic Celtic triple goddess.

Patron and Protector
Brighid was the patron of poets and bards, as well as healers and magicians. She was especially honored when it came to matters of prophecy and divination. She was honored with a sacred flame maintained by a group of priestesses, and her sanctuary at Kildare, Ireland, later became the home of the Christian variant of Brighid, St. Brigid of Kildare. Kildare is also the location of one of several sacred wells in the Celtic regions, many of which are connected to Brighid. Even today, it’s not uncommon to see ribbons and other offerings tied to trees near a well as a petition to this healing goddess.

Celebrating Brighid
There are a variety of ways to celebrate the many aspects of Brighid at Imbolc. If you’re part of a group practice or a coven, why not try Honoring Brighid With a Group Ceremony? You can also incorporate prayers to Brighid into your rites and rituals for the season. Having trouble figuring out what direction you’re headed? Ask Brighid for assistance and guidance with a Brighid’s Crossroads Divination Ritual.

Brighid’s Many Forms
In Britain, Brighid’s counterpart was Brigantia, a warlike figure of the Brigantes tribe near Yorkshire, England. She is similar to the Greek goddess Athena and the Roman Minerva. Later, as Christianity moved into the Celtic lands, St. Brigid was the daughter of a Pictish slave who was baptised by St. Patrick, and founded a community of nuns at Kildare. In addition to her position as a goddess of magic, Brighid was known to watch over women in childbirth, and thus evolved into a goddess of hearth and home. Today, many Pagans and Wiccans honor her on February 2, which has become known as Imbolc or Candlemas.

Crafts to Honor Brighid
In many Pagan traditions today, Brighid is celebrated with crafts that honor her role as the protector of the hearth. You can make a Brighid corn doll, as well as a Bride’s Bed for her to sleep in. Perhaps the best known decoration is the Brighid’s Cross, whose arms represent the place where a crossroads comes together, the space between light and dark.

Brighid and Imbolc
Like many Pagan holidays, Imbolc has a Celtic connection, although it wasn’t celebrated in non-Gaelic Celtic societies. The early Celts celebrated a purification festival by honoring Brighid. In some parts of the Scottish Highlands, Brighid was viewed as a sister of Cailleach Bheur, a woman with mystical powers who was older than the land itself. In modern Wicca and Paganism, Brighid is sometimes viewed as the maiden aspect of the maiden/mother/crone cycle, although it might be more accurate for her to be the mother, given her connection with home and childbirth.

THE LEGEND OF BRIGHID’S MANTLE
Brighid is the Celtic goddess who is the keeper of the hearth, the deity who watches over nursing mothers and pregnant women, and who is the overseer of all things domestic. She is also connected to healing and wisdom. One commonly found symbol of Brighid is her green mantle, or cloak. In Gaelic, the mantle is known as the “brat Bhride.”Although her origins are that of a Pagan goddess, at one point she became associated with Christianity and St. Brighid of Kildare. The legend has it that Brighid was the daughter of a Pictish chieftain who went to Ireland to learn from St. Patrick. In one story, the girl who later became St. Brighid went to the King of Leinster, and petitioned him for land so she could build an abbey. The King, who still held to the old Pagan practices of Ireland, told her he’d be happy to give her as much land as she could cover with her cloak. Naturally, her cloak grew and grew until it covered as much property as Brighid needed, and she got her abbey. Thanks to her roles as both a Pagan goddess and a Christian saint, Brighid is often seen as being of both worlds; a bridge between the old ways and the new.

In Celtic Pagan stories, Brighid’s mantle carries with it blessings and powers of healing. Many people believe that if you place a piece of cloth out upon your hearth at Imbolc, Brighid will bless it in the night. Use the same cloth as your mantle each year, and it will gain strength and power each time Brighid passes by. The mantle can be used to comfort and heal a sick person, and to provide protection for women in labor. A newborn baby can be wrapped in the mantle to help them sleep through the night without fussing.

To make a Brighid’s mantle of your own, find a piece of green cloth long enough to comfortably wrap around your shoulders. Leave it on your doorstep on the night of Imbolc, and Brighid will bless it for you. In the morning, wrap yourself in her healing energy.

Published on SpiritBlogger’s Blog

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Daily Incantations & Enchantments for February 1

To ensure a day full of happy.

Sadness be GONE!
All smiles, no sorrow
Troubles not to borrow.
Feeling happy, never sad
Misery ceased, all pain is released!

–The Power of Positive Witchcraft: Daily Incantations & Enchantments: A Spell a Day for 30 Days . Garden Summerland

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Witch Tip #125 for February 1

If you don’t feel comfortable using or don’t want to use blood in your ritual use orange, beet, or cherry juice instead.

Witch Tips : The Essential Guide to Contemporary Witchcraft

A. Rayne

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Invocation to Brid, Celtic Triple Goddess

Brid, I call you.
Oh, Bright One! I call you.
Goddess of Fire, Healing, and Inspiration, Hear my cry.
Help me stand strong like the Rowan, that I may become your Brigand and rise up against the darkness.
Oh, Bright Arrow! Guide my judgment, protect me in my wanderings.
I will remember always — Brigantia.

by Dettie Em Freefoot