Thursday, February 2nd the Wheel of the Year turns to the first stop on the wheel, and the Sabbat Imbolc 2017 arrives. I’ve written about it a few times – twice in 2015 (HERE and HERE) and once last year (HERE), but I haven’t yet shared anything from one of my favorite witchy authors. Here’s a brief description of the holiday, courtesy of Cunningham’s Book of Shadows: The Path of An American Traditionalist by Scott Cunningham –
Imbolc (February 2) marks the recovery of the Goddess after giving birth to the God. The lengthening periods of light awaken her. The God is a young, lusty boy, but his power is felt in the longer days. The warmth fertilizes the earth (the Goddess) causing seeds to germinate and sprout. And so the earliest beginnings of spring occur.
This is a Sabbat of purification after the shut-in life of winter, through the renewing power of the Sun. It is also a festival of light and of fertility, once marked in Europe with huge blazes, torches and fire in every form. Fire here represents our own illumination and inspiration as much as light and warmth.
Imbolc is also known as Feast of Torches, Oimelc, Lupercalia, Feast of Pan, Snowdrop Festival, Feast of the Waxing Light, Brigid’s Day, and probably by many other names. Some female Wiccans follow the old Scandinavian custom of wearing crowns of lit candles, but many more carry tapers during their invocations.
Here is the graphic I created for the occasion, using a picture I took last year of a candle burning on a granite stone behind our house. Bright Imbolc Blessings to all!
Pretty sure “Candlemas” comes up in Jane Austen novels, but I was never sure when it was or where it came from. Interesting.
You’re right, Stephanie – it’s been so long since I’ve read any JA, I’d forgotten that. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂