Candlemas, Brigid, Chinese New Years Newsletter
It is the day after Candlemas. We sit in the warm house watching the cold snow outside falling again. Again and again. Snow, ice, sleet, ice, snow, snow and snow.
The festival of Candlemas, called Imbolc by the ancient Celts is one of the holy cross quarter days of earth honoring peoples, and marks the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is the time of quickening. It marks the time of stirring, rousing, and enlivening as we emerge out of the dark of winter's slumber. And this moment brings, within our collective memories, the promise of renewal before the spring, awakening us to the new year.
I think everyone in the northeast was pretty much finished with winter this year even before winter began. Ice storms still shake much of the country here in the US, economic fallout continues around the world as the greedy rich are rewarded with bailouts and the rest of us frantically try to hold onto our homes, our jobs, our ability to care for our selves and our loved ones.
I still hold the promise of peace in my heart as we watch with rising horror, the genocidal impulses of Israel, the bankers who spend millions of dollars on super bowl parties, the hungry getting hungrier, entire government currencies becoming worthless, the gambling casino hijinks continuing no matter the response of the public, the weather changes shaking us all on every continent, and still our government and business leaders continue to play their sordid 'bidness as usual' games.
Not that we invested in the idea that any president could save us from disaster, but it feels good to have hope once again that perhaps a world leader could effect peaceful change. As we progress into a year imploding with crisis on every front, we find we are challenged just to maintain some sort of equanimity in the face of so many challenges. The inequity between the haves and the have nots continues to grow and here where I live it just continues to snow.
Candlemas is one of my favorite times of year, the time when in the depths of winter, I can dream of spring again, when the days wax in light and the birds return to our yard looking for food. Candlemas is the promise of the quickening not only of the seasonal year, but also the promise of desires' fulfillment. Love stirs within -- for my loved ones as well as for myself and for my neighbors around the world.
New recipes, poems, drawings, ideas and perspectives begin to form within and cry out for manifestation.
So if you haven't made those new year resolutions, now would be a good time as we are poised between spring and winter, as we are poised on the brink of tumultuous change. Inner change must come for each one of us to navigate this worldwide storm in which we find ourselves on Mother Earth.
Any spiritual, meditative, energetic practices you can do will be greatly enhanced as we enter this time of quickening. Call on Brigid, the Celtic Triplefold Goddess to assist you in any projects you need to begin or continue at this time. Perhaps you or a loved one is in need of healing, Brigid, the healer can assist you in this. Perhaps you want to plan a garden, for surely now, we must all use any small plot of land at our disposal to grow some food, to reach into the earth for the goodness which provides for us all. Contact your community garden centers if you live in a city, or buy a windowbox, get together with your neighbors to start a small community garden together or plan to each grow excesses of a single crop so that you may all share in diverse bounties. The much maligned suburbia is a perfect place in which to grow food instead of lawn, to adapt to organic and permaculture practices to remediate the earth, grow fresh food for your family and friends and cooperate in new ways. Any small piece of earth will appreciate your tender care and attention. Support small seed companies by growing heirloom, local and non-hybrid seeds which are bred to withstand bugs, weather variables and other stresses.
According to Z. Budapest, a respected Wiccan elder, Brigid "or the Three Mothers, or the Three Blessed Ladies of Britain, seemed to have a lot more to do with poetry, arts, crafts, smithcraft, agriculture and women. She is the patroness of the bards, inventions, good harvest, and healthy babies."
Make offerings of seeds, honey cakes, well water or simple prayers for guidance, inspiration and abundance to Brigid, Mary, Isis, Astarte or any version of the Great Mother who resonates with your path.
Also according to Z, today, February 3 is the day of Brigantia in Ireland, the day to protect your home from the evil eye. There are traditions of making a solar cross of straw to place in the home over the door for protection.
Certainly, we all need as much protection as we can, whether from political fallout, weather changes, personal changes, family strife, economic challenges, the list goes on.
Hold hope in your heart while you act out in the world. We need balance of both inner and outer work at this time. Organize with your friends and neighbors to protest the inequity and greed that forms the backbone of public policy. Be creative! Make love not war, the best policy from the 60's to re-invent.
When I lived in NYC in my younger years Mayor Koch said the city was bankrupt. Those were times when a struggling artist could actually afford the rents in NYC and creativity was everywhere. I have hope at this time that creative efforts by everyone in every field of work and study is going to be our saving grace. So use this moment of balance in the year between the inner and outer worlds to poise creative action with loving contemplation. Use your voice to be heard, whether in your community or to your congressperson. Use your creative energy to plan for an abundant future, help those in need of assistance and be creative in all aspects of your life.
We wish you all the spark that's needed to bring the impulse of new life into your hearts and homes!
all artwork and photos by Jane Sherry; originally written in 2006