Every so often I am struck by idiocy, and being up and about in the middle of the night, worrying, is one of my favourite pieces of stupidity.
As it goes, midnight of February 1st / 2nd, was a perfect time to be up and about, stupidly worrying.
Today, February 2nd, is Candlemas ~ the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, one of the 12 great Christian feast days. In Britain, Candlemas is also a cross-quarter day, or term day. This is sometimes used as the starting date for school terms and in Scotland as the day on which rents fall due.
Cross quarter days are part of the wheel of the year, and in paganism Candlemas is called Imbolc, (derived from Imbolg, meaning quickening in the belly). This marks the first stirrings of Spring, and is when spring cleaning is supposed to start. This is the time of The White Goddess.
February 2nd; Imbolc, (Imblog, Imbole, Candlemas), is one of the threefold transition points of the Goddess energies from those of the Crone to those of the Maiden. Traditionally this is a Sabbat of Purification, and a festival of Light and Fertility. If you wish good fortune, then just after sunset on Imbolc, one should light every lamp in the house ~ and especially light candles in each room.
If you are either poetical or practical you should really pray to the ancient Goddess Brigid. Especially midwives and metal-smiths wishing good fortune should maybe acknowledge Brighid’s Day / Candlemas (February 1st / 2nd.)
The Americans, who seem to have a talent for forgetting, mark February 2nd as Groundhog Day. This festival originated among the Pennsylvania Germans, and can be traced back to the wheel of the year and Imbolc. Imbolc, being the first quickening of Spring, also involved weather prognostication, but the animal in question was a badger. The Scottish have a poem for it;
If Candlemas be bright and clear
There will be two winters in the year
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain
Winter will not come again
What you really, really want on Groundhog Day / Candlemas / Imbolc is clouds and rain. And candles, don’t forget the candles.
words and pictures by jack collier