02 February, 2008

candlemas...

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
- lambs
- 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,

shelley

13 comments:

Katherine C. said...

The artwork is beautiful! This is our first year to celebrate Candlemas at home with our nearly 3 yr old. We're making beeswax candles and our house smells delicious!

Lizz said...

Happy Imbolc to you.

denise said...

Lovely!

Ayla said...

Imbolc blessings!

Stacy Garner said...

Hey Shelley!

It is great to see you in blog land! It is so funny - this morning as I was waking up, I heard birds chirping out the bedroom window and I thought to myself "oh, I have not heard that sound in awhile!" And so all day I was having thoughts of spring. I know nothing of Candlemas though...

I am very interested in the Waldorf lifestyle and am thinking it might be a good schooling choice for my very spirited son. You seem like an expert in the subject!

Anyway, your blog is beautiful. I am still chuggin' away at the booties. Hope to have them done within the next week!

Stacy - FiberMama.

mosey handmade said...

dear dear shelley,
i am just loving your blog!
loving!

tamlovesran said...

I had never heard of Candlemas until this year and your entry was very informative and inspiring. Your blog is beautiful. I'll be adding you to my list of blogs to read. I think I'll learn a lot from you.

Tammy

Tracey Huguley said...

Love the blog and pictures. Thanks for the Candlemas info. I was looking around on the web for some info on Candlemas and found you. I'm a Waldorf Homeschooling Mama.

Nice to get to see your blog.

Hugs,
Tracey Huguley
www.traceyhuguley.blogspot.com

shelleycaskey said...

thanks for your comments, everyone!

kristin said...

oh, you have a daughter naomi!

me too...how i love to imagine my naomi as a 21 year old...having made it through the years of growing...she's nearly 10 now.

Grace said...

I love Cnadlemas and this time of year in general. I don't sympathize with the bloggers who whine about the "February Funk". February is not depressing at all -- it's magical!!!

Thanks for sharing a beautiful post.

Amy Bradstreet said...

Blessed Imbolc! Nice to see this important sabbat mentioned here. I recently posted about how I find this time of year invigorating, and how these rituals bring such satisfaction and meaning to what is usually considered a dark time of year for people.

Sunshine Mama said...

I know this is an older post, but I just wanted to say thank you. We had never celebrated Candlemas before and I found your post very helpful. I wrote a post about our first candlemas and linked back to this post of yours ;)