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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in candlemas

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Repetition of February

It’s Imbolc again, or Groundhog Day, if you will. Thinking of the latter, I’m reminded of the clever Bill Murray movie. Also realizing that February itself can make one feel like they’re trapped in an endless time loop of drudgery–repeating the same thing day in and day out, ad nauseum. February might be the shortest month, but it can be a tough one to get through, especially if you don’t have anything to look forward to. Grey days with not enough sun, especially in the Midwest–we’ve all been there. I have things to look forward to this year, many in fact. I must remind myself of them repeatedly as I inch ever closer to spring and the best month ever, March. OK, it’s my Birthday month, but that’s beside the point. That’s when spring is officially sprung, and the real thaw and signs of life begin. Along with new hope, new beginnings, new ideas. All of which, I have a boatload of this year. I just have to be patient and see what takes hold and what falls away. I know intellectually that it’s a good practice to let go of things, materially and otherwise. It’s just the figuring out of when to wave the white flag officially, that perplexes me somewhat. I’m stubborn and a fighter, so sometimes “giving up” doesn’t come quite naturally to me. Perhaps some of you can relate?

 Imbolc Rituals

This Imbolc, perhaps we could all stand some extra moments of quiet reflection to truly meditate on what to let fall away from our lives. What no longer serves us, what doesn’t fit, what cherished piece of clothing has grown so many holes it needs to be repurposed as a cleaning rag. Just needed to interject a bit of levity there. I think that’s another thing to keep in mind this February, the longest and shortest month. Keep some laughter in your life. Don’t take things too seriously, and let stuff roll off your back whenever possible. They say it’s the best medicine, and they’re not wrong. Think of Bill Murray in that movie, when he learns to find joy and take delight in the simplest pleasures, where once he only found monotony and annoyance.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 10 facts about groundhogs

 "It is the Washin' o' the World's Face."

(R. García y Robertson, The Spiral Dance)


Our story so far: The Chinese have invaded America and then (for reasons never specified) pulled out again. The East Coast literally walls itself off from the rest of the Continent and becomes a stuck-in-the-head techno-megalopolis.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Continent reverts to tribalism. Foremost among these tribes are the Latter-Day Witches who call themselves "Circle", or "Coven", who through centuries of inbreeding have achieved mastery of the art of direct mind-to-mind communication, what they call lep.

(If you suspect that this has something to do with telepathy, I think you're probably right.)

That's the universe of Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin's Masters of Solitude series, some of the earliest (late 70s/early 80s) popular literature to be profoundly shaped by the emerging Wiccan movement.

Being, in effect, our children, the people of Circle observe the same Wheel of the Year that we do today. Part of the fun of the novels for pagans lies in extricating the names of the firedays from what 1000 years' worth of linguistic erosion have left of them.

For Circle folk, Eostre/Ostara/Easter is Leddy. (I myself can remember back when, in the early days of American paganism, some folks knew Spring Equinox as Lady Day.) Then comes Belten, Sinjin (< “Saint John['s Day]"), Lams, Milemas ( < Michaelmas), Samman, and Loomin for Yule. (I'm guessing that this latter is probably a worn-down form of illumine, drawn perhaps from Doreen Valiente's quintessential Yule chant Queen of the Moon, Queen of the Sun: "Golden Sun of the Mountains,/Illumine the Land, Light up the World,/Illumine the Seas and the Rivers,/Sorrows be laid, Joy to the World." If so, it's a nicely folkloric touch.)

Their Imbolg/Oimelc/Candlemas is Grannog.

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The Quickening: Imbolc and Related Holidays

We have been in the long dark for the past few months. Cold, snowy weather and the now-ever-present threat of serious disease have kept us inside our homes, bundled in cozy clothes and blankets, sipping our tea or coffee or hot cocoa. We’re expecting yet another snowstorm here in the eastern U.S., more to add to the snow that hasn’t left us from the last one. We yearn to step out into light and warmth, feel soft grass beneath our feet, but not yet. Still, the time of long light will come again. The days are already beginning to gradually unfurl like the fronds of a fern.


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white candles on black surface


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A Little Folklore of Light & Shadows

We often find ourselves yearning for light and warmth during these last winter months in the northern hemisphere. We grow tired of being bundled up, of shivering, of staying indoors. Yet, if we look carefully, we begin to notice that, little by little, the light is growing. Situated in the fading of winter, the holidays celebrated on February 2nd -- Groundhog Day, Imbolc, Candlemas -- feature an interplay of shadows and light as we approach revitalization in many forms.


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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Candlemas Song


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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Crown of Light

The crown of candles sits on the table by the door. I see it every time that I come into the house.

On Bridey's Eve, it graced a sacred head. The tall white candles bathed her in warm light, the leaves of its wreath crisply green against the white of her veil. 

That was thirteen nights gone. Now the brittle leaves crumble as I unwrap the gold ribbon that holds them to the crown. The ribbon goes back onto its spool; the leaves I will strew in the snowy garden, to nourish another harvest.

The candles, half-burned, go into the chandelier in the temple, where they will light our next rite.

The crown, denuded, returns to its peg in temple storage, to await the coming of another February.

More than 300 years ago, Robert Herrick wrote in his poem "Candlemas Eve":

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Beautiful, Steven, as always. Linking on FB.

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