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~ Imbolc – Candlemas – Lupercalia ~
Candlemas (Imbolc, Imbolg and Oimelc) is a Major Sabbat that is a celebration to mark the return of the sun and the end of winter. We celebrate the waxing sun and the beginning of Spring. Candlemas is a celebration of hope, the light returns and Spring is just around the corner.
Altar Decorations: Candles, Corn Dollies, Grain Dolly, Sun Cross Animals: Wolf, Snake, Swan, Vulture, Robin, Burrowing Animals, Sheep, Lamb, and Deer Birds: Cockerals, Cranes, Crows, Ducks, Eagles, Goose, Owls, Ravens, Swans and Wrens Colors: White, red, pink, yellow, blue Deities: Aradia, Arachne, Arianrhod, Athena, Brighid, Blaize, Branwen, Cupid/Eros, Diancecht, Dumuzi, Februa, Februus, Gaea, Inanna, Lucina, Vesta Foods: Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Poppyseed Cakes, muffins, scones, and breads, all dairy products, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, and Raisins. Herbs: Angelica, basil, bay Laurel, blackberry, celandine, coltsfoot, heather, iris, myrrh, tansy, violets, and all white or yellow flowers. Incense: Basil, myrrh, frankincense, wisteria, jasmine, camphor, cinnamon, and lotus. Oils: Jasmine, Apricot, Carnation, Sweet Pea, Neroli and Olive Stones: Amethyst, bloodstone, garnet, onyx, ruby, turquoise Trees: Rowan Zodiacs: Aquarius and Pisces Imbolc Traditions and Symbols Brigid Corn Dolly – a very old custom involved making a “Brigid” corn dolly that can be placed in a “Bride’s bed” to bring fertility and good fortune to the home. If you made a “Corn Mother” at Lammas, you may simply re-use it. Dress the Corn Mother as a bride in colors of white, red and or gold, and your Harvest Crone transforms herself into the Brigit Spring Bride. Place the Bride in a “Brigit’s bed” along with a priapic wand to symbolize fertility. A priapic wand is a be-ribbonned fruit wood wand with a pine cone on the end which symbolizes the God. Brigid’s Bed – to show your hospitality and to encourage the Goddess to spend the night at your home, create a “Brigid’s Bed” near the hearth fire. By inviting Brigid to stay overnight in your home you’re symbolically asking that her powers of fertility, blessing and healing be with your family all year long. A Brigid’s bed can be a pretty wooden or cardboard box, a wicker basket or anything large enough to hold your Brigid corn dolly. Be sure to decorate it with ribbons, flowers, herbs etc. and place a comfy blanket on the bottom of the bed. Don’t forget to place the priapic wand in the bed so that the Goddess will not be lonely. Hearthfire – the hearthfire is sacred to Brigid and is her altar in every home. At Candlemas in the depth of winter the fire was more important than ever. It was not allowed to go out and in the evening the fire was smoored ( covered with ash to preserve the hot coals) by the lady of the house Brigid’s Crosses – are a form of woven straw or rushes symbolizing the Sun and used as talismans to bring fertility, prosperity and protection to the home. They would be created at Candlemas and hung on the door, near the hearth, under the eaves or in the barn to bring luck and protection.
Burning the Yule Greens– the evergreens for Yuletide decoration are gathered and burned by Candlemas. It is a symbolic way to let go of the old year and make way for the new.
Springs and Wells – toss coins in wells springs, fountains or any running water as an offering the the Goddess Brigid
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