Celebrating Candlemas Day
Learn about the origins of Candlemas day plus ways to celebrate this Pagan holiday which promises of the return of the light and the renewal of life.
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Brigid is the goddess of creative inspiration as well as reproductive fertility. This is a good time for sharing creative work, or, if you don't think of yourself as especially creative, an idea that worked or a plan that materialized. Thank the Goddess for her inspiration, perhaps by dedicating a future work to her.
Since Candlemas is a time of new beginnings, this is also a good day to celebrate all things new. Plan a ceremony to name a new baby, officially welcome a new person into a family or plight your troth to your beloved. Make a commitment to a goal, like a New Year's resolution. This would be an especially powerful thing to do in a group.
In San Francisco, the Reclaiming Collective sponsors a public ritual called Brigid, which focuses on political commitment. After acknowledging despair over the events of the past year, the participants reflect on the source of their own power and then make a pledge in front of the community about the work they intend to do during the coming year. During this ritual, the flames in a cauldron represent Brigid's Sacred Flame, the fire of inspiration and passion, while a punch bowl filled with waters gathered from all over the world represents Brigid's Holy Well, the source of healing and purification.
If you plan your own ceremony, use these two powerful symbols: fire and water. For instance, wash your hands and bathe your face in salt water, which is especially good for purification. Light a candle as you make your pledge. Incorporate the third symbol of the holiday--seeds--by planting a seed or bulb in a pot to symbolize your commitment, or by blessing a bowl or packet of seeds that you will plant later.
Since the Christian season of Lent can sometimes begin as early as Feb. 4, some Candlemas customs have became associated with Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (the day before Lent's beginning on Ash Wednesday), which is a time of purification.
Have you ever given anything up for Lent? If not, you might consider it. You don't have to be Christian to gain spiritual benefits from the voluntary surrender of something you cherish. You can give up something frivolous or something serious, but it should be something you will notice. Folk wisdom says it takes six weeks (or approximately the 40 days of Lent) to establish a new habit, so you may end up with a lifestyle change.