The Witches Spell-A-Day for February 2nd – Into the Light

Imbolc/Candlemas CommentsThe Witches Spell-A-Day for February 2nd – Into the Light

At Imbolc, we are “in the belly” of the mother, and like little seeds under the soil, we are quickening with ideas and inspiration. Halfway between solstice and equinox, it’s a good time to invoke faith, hope, and sunshine using a creativity spell. You’ll need a couple magazines, scissors, a blue stick a paper to stick stuff on and your imagination. Close your eyes and envision the sun, glorious, bright, and radiant. Let your faith conjure up radiance. Feel hope grow. Now open your eyes and get to work, pulling images and words from the magazines that resonate with your vision. Trim them and create a collage honoring Brighid. Place it on your altar and light a candle. Say:

Brighid, bless these simple seeds, planted deep inside of me.
Let them sprout with growing light
and grow my future safe and bright.
So mote it be.

Dallas Jennifer Cobb
Llewellyn’s 2017 Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac

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Imbolc/Candlemas Comments General Activities for Imbolc

Imbolc/Candlemas Comments

General Activities for Imbolc

Place a lighted candle in each and every window of the house, beginning at sundown on Candlemas Eve (February 1) , allowing them to continue burning until sunrise.

Hold a candle-making party and then bless all the candles you’ll be using for the whole year.

This is one of the traditional times for initiations and rededications into the Craft.

Take a hike and Search for Signs of Spring.

Decorate a plough and place on your doorstep.

Perform rites of spiritual cleansing and purification.

Weave “Brigit’s crosses” from straw or wheat to hang around the house for protection.

Make a potpourri for Imbolc by taking a piece of fabric, filling with dried leaves, pine cones, and fruit peels. Tie with a ribbon.

 

Solitary Activities

Make Candles

Research Fire Deities of your Tradition or pantheon.

Private Meditation and/or Ritual

Place lighted Candles in all the windows of the house

 

 

Group Activities

Hold a Ritual with your Group, and mark the perimeter of the Circle with lighted candles.

Make candles together with your group. If you’re really ambitious and have the time, try to make enough candles to last you until next Imbolc.

Hold an Imbolc Candle Ritual for Solitaries

Imbolc/Candlemas CommentsHold 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 moments 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 damaged.

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

 

 

By Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Originally published & owned by About.com

Group Ritual To Honor Brighid at Imbolc


Imbolc/Candlemas Comments
Group Ritual To Honor Brighid at Imbolc

This ritual is designed for a group of individuals, but could easily be adapted for a solitary practitioner. Imbolc is the time between Yule and the Spring Equinox, the halfway point in the dark months of the year. It’s the time when the days suddenly seem to be getting longer, and the snow is beginning to melt, showing us small patches of earth and green. At this time of returning spring, our ancestors lit bonfires and candles to celebrate the rebirth of the land.

In many areas of the Celtic world, this was the fire feast of Brighid, the Irish goddess of hearth and home. She is the keeper of the flame, the protector of the home, and a goddess of holy wells and springs. At Imbolc, we acknowledge her many aspects, especially that of her role as a deity of transformation. As the world awakes from the dark slumber of winter, it is time to cast off the chill of the past and welcome the warmth of spring.

Cassia is part of a Pagan group in New York that honors Brighid each year with a small, private ceremony at Imbolc.

She says, “We see the Imbolc season as a time of change and renewal. It’s when we’re all coming out of hibernation, getting off the couch and peeking out the window to see if the snow has started to melt yet. We try to do a ritual each year on Brighid’s feast day, and we honor her as the keeper of the hearthfire that kept us warm and fed all winter.”

To do this ritual, set up your altar with the symbols of Brighid and the coming spring — a Brighid’s cross or dolly, potted daffodils or crocuses, white and red yarn or ribbon, young fresh twigs, and lots of candles. Also, you’ll need an unlit candle for each participant, a candle to represent Brighid herself, a plate or bowl of oats or oatcakes, and a cup of milk.

If you normally cast a circle in your tradition, do so now. Each member of the group should hold their unlit candle before them.

The HPs, or whoever is leading the rite, says:

Today is Imbolc, the day of midwinter.
The cold has begun to fade away,
and the days grow longer.
This is a time in which the earth is quickening,
like the womb of Brighid,
birthing the fire after the darkness.

The HPS lights the Brighid candle, and says:

Bright blessings at midwinter to all!
Brighid has returned with the sacred flame,
watching over home and hearth.
This is a time of rebirth and fertility,
and as the earth grows full of life,
may you find abundance on your own path.
Imbolc is the season of lambing, of new life,
and a time to celebrate the nurturing and warmth of Brighid.

At this time, the HPs takes the cup of milk, and offers a sip to Brighid. You can do this either by pouring it into a bowl on the altar, or by simply raising the cup to the sky. The HPs then passes the cup around the circle. As each person takes a sip, they pass it to the next, saying:

May Brighid give her blessings to you this season.

When the cup has returned to the HPs, she passes the oats or oatcakes around in the same manner, first making an offering to Brighid. Each person takes a bit of the oats or cakes and passes the plate to the next, saying:

May Brighid’s love and light nurture your path.

The HPS then invites each member of the group to approach the altar, and light their candle from the Brighid candle. Say:

Come, and allow the warmth of Brighid’s hearth
to embrace you.
Allow the light of her flame
to guide you.
Allow the love of her blessing
to protect you.

When everyone has lit their candle, take a few moments to meditate on the warmth and nurturing nature of the goddess Brighid. As you bask in her warmth, and she protects your home and hearth, think about how you will make changes in the coming weeks. Brighid is a goddess of abundance and fertility, and she may help you guide your goals to fruition.

When you are ready, end the ceremony, or move on to other rituals, such as Cakes and Ale, or healing rites.

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

 

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How to Hold a Rededication Ritual for Imbolc

Imbolc/Candlemas Comments

How to Hold a Rededication Ritual

Imbolc is a time, for many Pagans, of new beginnings. Spring is looming close by, new life is beginning to stir beneath the surface of the land, and it’s a season for spiritual reawakening. If you’ve already dedicated yourself to the gods of your magical tradition, why not use Imbolc as a time of rededication? By reaffirming your commitment to the deities of your pantheon, you can reawaken the sense of wonder and magic that may have been lying dormant through the cold dark months of winter.

Note: If you’re part of a group that is initiating new members, you may want to try this Group Initiation Rite instead.

This rededication ritual is designed for use by a solitary practitioner, but can easily be adapted to group practice. If you’re a solitary dedicating for the first time, try our Self-Dedication Ritual.

Bear in mind that rededication is a commitment you are making. It is a way of symbolizing that you are dedicated enough to the gods of your tradition to continue honoring them throughout the coming year.

The purpose of this ritual is to reaffirm that commitment, and is not something to be done at random or without significant thought beforehand.

You may choose to perform this ritual skyclad; at Imbolc it is often too chilly for ritual nudity, so another option is to wear a simple ritual robe. This will allow you some freedom of movement as needed. Find a quiet place to perform this rite, where you will be free of distractions like cell phones and children. You will need the following items:

One plain candle for each of the deities you wish to honor
An offering of some sort, depending on your gods

If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so at this time.

Begin by grounding yourself. This is a way of focusing yourself and reconnecting. Shut out all the things from your mundane life that are distracting to you – focus on the Self, and your relationship with your gods and goddesses.

Your god/goddess candles should be on your altar or workspace. A brief note here about selecting candles to represent the gods: many Pagans, including Wiccans, honor a god and a goddess, and so would use two candles. If your tradition or belief system honors multiple gods, feel free to use as many candles as necessary. Likewise, if you honor a single divine being, use a single candle. If you wish, you can use colored candles – for many people, the goddess Brighid, is represented by the color green, so you may wish to incorporate a green candle into a rite honoring her. If you honor Mars, the Roman god of war, you may choose to use a red candle. Use whatever color is appropriate; if you’re not sure which color to select, use basic white.

One at a time, light the candles representing your gods. As you light each candle, say:

I call upon you, [deity’s name], as one who walks your path.
I am [your name], and once more I pledge myself to you this night.
I will walk by your side, honoring you as I may, and ask only
That you watch over me as one who pays you tribute.
I thank you, [deity’s name], and again I promise you service.

You may also want to personalize your pledges to your gods – for example, if you were honoring the Morrighan, you may wish to include something about protection and strength. A call to Lugh might include a comment about skills and craftsmanship. Tailor your rededication pledges as needed.

Next, present your offering to the gods of your tradition. This will vary, depending on which gods your tradition honors, and what they demand in tribute. As you present your offering, place it in front of the candle(s) representing the gods. Say something along the lines of:

Hear me, O great gods! I call upon you, [names of deities],
And offer you this gift.
I present to you my tribute of [offering], as a token of my dedication.
Know that I will honor you and ask nothing in return,
Beyond your watching over me.
Hear me, great gods, O [names of deities], and know that
I, [your name], am your servant/ your priestess/ your child/[other appropriate description].
Please, accept my offering.

Take some time to meditate. Feel the afterglow of the ritual, and feel the energy of the gods around you. You have brought yourself to the attention of the Divine, so they will be keeping an eye on you. Be sure you can uphold any pledges you have made to them during this ceremony.

 

 

 
By Patti Wigington
Article originally published and owned by About.com

The Witches Correspondences for Imbolc


Imbolc/Candlemas Comments

The Witches Correspondences for Imbolc

 

Tools, Symbols & Decorations
White flowers, marigolds, plum blossoms, daffodils, Brigid wheel, Brigid’s cross, candles, grain/seed for blessing, red candle in a cauldron full of earth, doll, Bride’s Bed; the Bride, broom, milk, birchwood, snowflakes, snow in a crystal container,evergreens, homemade besom of dried broom, orange candle annointed in oil can be used to sybolize the renewing energy of the Sun’s rebirth.

Colors
Brown, pink, red, orange, white, lavender, pale yellow, silver, green, blue

Customs
Lighting candles, seeking omens of Spring, storytelling, cleaning house, bonfires, indoor planting, stone collecting, candle kept burning dusk till dawn; hearth re-lighting

Animals/Mythical beings
Firebird, dragon, groundhog, deer, burrowing animals, ewes, robin, sheep, lamb, other creatures waking from hibernation

Gemstones
Amethyst, garnet, onyx, turquoise

Herbs
Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, clover, heather, myrrh, all yellow flowers, willow

Incense/Oil
Jasmine, rosemary, frankincense, cinnamon, neroli, musk, olive, sweet pea, basil, myrrh, wisteria, apricot, carnation

Rituals/Magick
Cleansing; purification, renewal, creative inspiration, purification, initiation, candle work, house & temple blessings, welcoming Brigid, feast of milk & bread

Foods
Dairy, spicy foods, raisins, pumpkin, sesame & sunflower seeds, poppyseed bread/cake, honey cake, pancakes, waffles, herbal tea


The Witches Guide to Imbolc

Imbolc/Candlemas Comments

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.

 

 
By Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Orginally published & owned by About.com

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