Monday, February 2, 2015

A SEASONAL MISCELLANY: IMBOLC AND CANDLEMAS


A SEASONAL MISCELLANY

 

 

 

IMBOLC

 

At the celebration of Imbolc, the Candlemas of the Old Style calendar, winter is passing and we are ready for renewal.  We give thanks that new life is stirring; buds are swelling on the trees, grass is pushing its way inexorably toward the growing warmth:  Rebirth is stirring all around us.

 

White is the Color of Imbolc

 

It has been said that each phase of the passing year has a color all its own.  Some feel the color of each season corresponds to the highlight of that season – Imbolc in spring, Beltane in summer, and so on.  Others interpret these seasonal colors as aspects of the Goddess worshipped in pagan belief systems.  The color of Imbolc is white, the white of the passing snow, the white of purity and innocence, the white of the flowers and candles used to mark the season.  White is the color of the Goddess as Maiden and is, not coincidentally, the color most associated with the Virgin – the pure and willing handmaiden, the virgin vessel of the mother of the Lord.

 

Imbolc Bird Lore

 

Though considered by some to be a bird of ill-fortune, it is the peacock that is traditionally associated with Imbolc.  It is said that white is comprised of all colors, recalling perhaps the many-colored cloak of the Biblical Joseph; perhaps the iridescent hues of the peacock, mingled into a fire of white, are most expressive of this season of renewal and change.

 

The rook is another, more pleasant bird associated with this time of year, especially in England.  Its habit of flocking in whirling, cloud-like groups and then pairing off neatly into couples is thought to underscore aspects of that other celebration of the season – Valentine’s Day.

 

Symbols of Imbolc

 

In astrology, the season of Imbolc commences in the sign of Aquarius, under the dominion of the planet Uranus and the 11th house of the Zodiac.  This is the house of society and social matters, of friendships and group relationships, and of invention and swift, dramatic change.  Many consider these aspects most appropriate to Imbolc, the season when the earth is beginning to stir, and we too are stirring, after a dark and idle winter.

 

In Tarot, the card most connected to the Imbolc season is The Star, symbolizing hope and bright prospects of the future.  The Star also echoes the frosty, stellar landscape of the passing winter season.

 

Some Imbolc Candle Lore

 

v  If sparks fly from the candle wick, strangers will come to your door.

 

v  If you light a candle from the fire, you may expect to die in poverty.

 

v  A candle left to burn out brings bad luck.

 

A Threshold Blessing

 

Many people begin cleaning house in the early spring or move to new homes; in either event, it’s good to have a blessing handy.  One such blessing is meant to be inscribed over the entryway or main door, using blessed chalk:

 

Who comes to me, I keep;

Who goes from me, I free;

Yet against all I stand

Who have not my key.

 

***

 Excerpted from The 2013 Hoodoo Almanac, Copyright (c) 2013,
Alyne Pustanio for Creole Moon Publications.
 
This article is the property of the Author and is protected under U.S. and
International Copyright Laws. No portion of it may be reproduced
without the expressed written consent of the Author. 

Source:  This Article Includes Spells and Poems from Slade, Paddy.  Encyclopedia of White Magic: A Seasonal Guide © 1990, The Hamlyn Publishing Group/Mallard Press.