What is Candlemas?
‘Candlemas’ is the Christian name for pagan festival of Imbolc. ‘Imbolc’ means ‘in the belly’ - in the womb of Earth life stirs, green shoots break through and light grows. To present-day pagans this festival is special to the Goddess – the female aspect of the Divine that tends the sacred flame of creativity. Aligning your personal rhythms with the seasons is a great way to inner peace and power, so celebrate Candlemas and open your heart to illumination. The official date for Imbolc is February 2nd, but any convenient time around that date is fine.
Ways to Celebrate Candlemas Festival
- Open a window in every room of your dwelling and ring a bell in all of the four corners and the centre, saying ‘Wake up, wake up and welcome the Light!’. Close the windows and ignite a white candle on the windowsill of each room. Settle somewhere comfortable and light your own personal candle – this should also be white, and wreathed in ivy and/or other greenery of your choice. Sit in front of the candle imagining light slowly spreading over the winter hills, waterways, cities and woodland. Feel this also within you, chasing away the shadows and stagnation. Affirm that a flame is burning within you, also, and that you are ready for fresh inspiration. When your meditation is complete, be sure to extinguish every candle.
- Fragrance your living and/or working area with essential oils that are compatible with the seasonal vibe. Lavender purifies, aids concentration and promotes peace and contentment. Peppermint stimulates and gives encouragement – it may also open you to visionary experience. Jasmine will cleanse your aura (although it is very expensive). Always choose natural oils from a reputable source and vaporize them gently in a burner.
- Invite friends round for a candle-lit meditation on peace and rebirth. Afterwards enjoy a modest feast of organic, local food (as far as possible – no need to stress). Each person should bring a contribution, and if you can, keep to white or light foods, such as white cheese, pale green apples, white bread and a white iced cake. Decorate your cake with three white candles for the three aspects of the Goddess, Maiden, Mother and Crone. Each participant should have the opportunity to make a wish for the coming Spring, blow out the candles and re-light them for the next person. Share your plans with the group, if this feels right, and experience the excitement of the season.
- Start a craft project, preferably with friends and so much the better if this is to benefit charity in some way. One idea might be making a patchwork quilt, or a rug. Men might prefer training for a sponsored sporting event – the idea is to bond, create and move forwards.
- Visit local wells, lakes and streams and reflect on purification, healing and renewal. Feel this spreading through you – you are a centre for hope and healing, and in this world every little helps!
PUBLISHED: 01 February 2014