February 1st-2nd is the middle point between Winter and Spring and called a cross-quarter holiday. Some see it as the very depth of Winter, while others see it is the awakening of Spring. She’s starting to stir, stretch, and yawn and make her presence known. For me, I see it as the first glimmer of Spring.
Pagans call this day Imbolc and usually honor the Goddess/Saint Brigid. Christians call it Candlemas and honor the Virgin Mary and Jesus, others simply wait to see if the Groundhog will see his shadow.
I celebrate it as a day of Fire.
There are four fire festivals each year, the cross-quarters, in most modern pagan traditions. Each of these days fall between two equinoxes. February 2nd is the spark of the flame, May 1st is new, wild, flickering flames, August 1st is the hot, steadily, burning fire, and October 31st, the flames are extinguished leaving smoke and burning embers.
You can find traditional Imbolc information here but let me tell you about my own practices and traditions. It’s tradition that every Imbolc, I play Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles while I light every candle in the house to symbolically welcome the return of the sun and incremental lengthening of the days. When the song is over and I’m done singing loudly off-key, I then blow them all out, because cats. Four cats. Fire hazard.
This year, I don’t have to work, so I plan to sit out on my porch at sunrise with a candle to welcome the sun, that beautiful ball of fire that will soon be warming us and shining brightly, making the leaves bud and flowers push through the soil.
Then it is time for nesting. Like a bird, I have this intense desire to turn my focus to my home. To clean, to make it full of warmth and comfort. This gives me the foundation to do the work, whatever that work may be.
This day is the day that I see the spark and I begin to gently feed that fire, the fire within me. It is when I see that the winter won’t last forever and life is coming and I am ready.
It is a time to ask myself what I need to move forward. What do I need to burn brighter?
What do you need to burn brighter?
Here’s an older version of the image!
This is a gentle day for me. I sit with the flames of the candle gently glowing as I sing Here Comes the Sun, I sip tea, and I bask in the energy of home. What about you?