february 2 is one of the important cross-quarter days which make up the wheel of the year. it falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring. a time of new beginnings. a time when the ground is 'awakened' and a seed is placed in the belly of the earth. promises of the return of the light and the renewal of life. it's time to creep out of the hibernation of winter, cautiously, like the ground hog who emerges on this day to check his shadow. the irish name for this celebration is 'imbolc', derived from the gaelic word for 'ewe's milk'...after the lactating sheep that are nursing their first born lambs of the new season this time of year. a festival that was originally dedicated to the goddess, brigid, keeper of the perpetual sacred flames.
a favorite piece of artwork that graces the far wall of our hallway
traditional symbols and activities for candlemas include:
- candles and candle wheels
- sun wheels
- seeds and grains
- goddess figures
- fire and water
- cooking pancakes (symbol for the sun)
- planting a seed or bulb in a pot
- spring cleaning
our candlemas candle decoration
one tradition is for every candle or lamp in the house to be lit for a certain time. or to gather all of the candles from the house into one place and bless them for the coming year. if you have a fireplace, clean out your hearth and then light a new fire. sit around the fire and reflect on your hopes for the coming year. what do you hope to accomplish? what are you passionate about? what seeds do you wish to plant?
a cherished watercolor painting made by my daughter, naomi (now 21), when she was in her waldorf kindergarten
this is also a great time for a good spring cleaning. sweeping the floors with salt water, oiling all of the wooden toys, organizing a creative nook. lifting the darkness of winter and creating a sparkling, shiny new setting for spring!
yours in renewal,