The Vigil of Christmas

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OREMUS for December 24

The Vigil of Christmas

Lord, open our lips,

and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.


Blessed are you, God of Abraham and Sarah,

the God of David and his descendants

unwearied is your love for us

and steadfast is your covenant;

wonderful beyond words

is your gift of the Saviour, born of the Virgin Mary.

You count us among the people in you delight,

and by this night’s marriage of earth and heaven,

you draw all generations into the embrace of your love.

For these and all your mercies, we praise you,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

Blessed be God for ever!


An opening canticle may be sung.

Psalm 119:1-8


Happy are they whose way is blameless,*

who walk in the law of the Lord!

Happy are they who observe his decrees*

and seek him with all their hearts!

Who never do any wrong,*

but always walk in his ways.

You laid down your commandments,*

that we should fully keep them.

O that my ways were made so direct*

that I might keep your statutes!

Then I should not be put to shame,*

when I regard all your commandments.

I will thank you with an unfeigned heart,*

when I have learned your righteous judgements.

I will keep your statutes;*

do not utterly forsake me.

How shall the young cleanse their way?*

By keeping to your words.

With my whole heart I seek you;*

let me not stray from your commandments.

I treasure your promise in my heart,*

that I may not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O Lord;*

instruct me in your statutes.

With my lips will I recite*

all the judgements of your mouth.

I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees*

than in all manner of riches.

I will meditate on your commandments*

and give attention to your ways.

My delight is in your statutes;*

I will not forget your word.

Deal bountifully with your servant,*

that I may live and keep your word.

Open my eyes, that I may see*

the wonders of your law.

I am a stranger here on earth;*

do not hide your commandments from me.

My soul is consumed at all times*

with longing for your judgements.

You have rebuked the insolent;*

cursed are they who stray from your commandments!

Turn from me shame and rebuke,*

for I have kept your decrees.

Even though rulers sit and plot against me,*

I will meditate on your statutes.

For your decrees are my delight,*

and they are my counsellors.


My soul cleaves to the dust;*

give me life according to your word.

I have confessed my ways and you answered me;*

instruct me in your statutes.

Make me understand the way of your commandments,*

that I may meditate on your marvellous works.

My soul melts away for sorrow;*

strengthen me according to your word.

Take from me the way of lying;*

let me find grace through your law.

I have chosen the way of faithfulness;*

I have set your judgements before me.

I hold fast to your decrees;*

O Lord, let me not be put to shame.

I will run the way of your commandments,*

for you have set my heart at liberty.


FIRST READING [Zechariah 2:10-13]:


Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all people, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.



Words: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), 1885

Tune: Gartan, Hermitage


Love came down at Christmas,

love all lovely, love divine;

love was born at Christmas:

star and angels gave the sign.


Worship we the Godhead,

love incarnate, love divine;

worship we our Jesus,

but wherewith the sacred sign?


Love shall be our token;

love be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and to all men,

love for plea and gift and sign.


SECOND READING [Romans 16:25-27]:


Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.


The Benedictus (Morning),

the Magnificat (Evening), or Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.



The time is at hand and your promises are fulfilled.

With joyful hearts we pray:

Today we shall see your salvation!


We eagerly await your coming:

come to those who are destitute and alone.

Today we shall see your salvation!


We eagerly await your coming,

come to the homeless, the addicted, and all held in bondage.

Today we shall see your salvation!


We eagerly await your coming,

to liberate your creation and set us free.

Today we shall see your salvation!


We eagerly await your coming,

to those who long to be taken to their eternal home.

Today we shall see your salvation!


We eagerly await your coming

upon the Church that we may proclaim

the good news of your birth.

Today we shall see your salvation!


Almighty God,

you make us glad with the yearly remembrance

of the birth of your Son Jesus Christ:

grant that, as we joyfully receive him as our redeemer,

so we may with sure confidence behold him

when he shall come to be our judge;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Awaiting his coming in glory,

let us pray as our Savior has taught us:


– The Lord’s Prayer


Make our hearts leap with joy

and fill our mouths with songs of praise,

that we may announce glad tidings of peace,

and welcome the Christ in our midst. Amen.



The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The

Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.


The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary

Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops’ Council, 2002.


The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized

Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education

of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by

permission. All rights reserved.


The collect is from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the

Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is

copyright (c) The Archbishops’ Council, 2000.


The closing sentence is from a prayer reprinted from _Revised Common

Lectionary Prayers_, copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common



The opening prayer of thanksgiving is adapted from a collect in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

Esoteric Christianity Helps Reconcile Spiritual Magical Beliefs with Mainstream Religion

A visitor wrote today:

I am based in London, UK. I am in the process of reconciling my spiritual / magical beliefs with my Catholic upbringing and have been searching for a religion or even just a group of people who share it. I found your website for Esoteric Christianity and Theosophy and I was wondering if you know of a church like this in the UK or if you can point me towards recommended reading for someone new to this path?

+Katia answered:

A good place to post your question below would be to our online forums. They are old but venerable, and have lots of people on them including UK residents. Here is the list of forums. I recommend GoddessChristians and EsotericChristians to post your question.

And here is a good booklist we use with our Mystery School students: ; First thing to read imo is Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose

I also recommend the “other” first thing to read(!) which is: the last course on this page, the Inner Christianity course. The book is a life-changer! (smile)


+Katia Romanoff

What is the Central Mystery of Christianity?

Inner Christianity: A must read for ordained ministersBesides ordaining ministers, Rabbis, and other clergy, our Seminary also runs an online Mystery School with many fun lessons. One lesson is based on the life-changing book,  Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition by Richard Smoley.

A current member just answered the Chapter 4 question, “What is the central mystery of Christianity?” as follows:

For one to enter into the Kingdom of God, one must step past the constraints of the “I” and understand that the “I” is ultimately the same in all of us.  “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22) “God has only one Son. If all His creations are His Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship, so the Sonship in its oneness transcends the sum of its parts.” …that there is an underlying unity of Being of which we are all part.

Absorb some Super Moon Light for Stability, Magic and Wisdom

Super moon has magic and religious significanceThe moon is the closest it’s been in 69 years and thus is called a SUPER MOON. It actually appears larger, see image.

Be sure to get out, or at least sit by a window and experience her special light. Put some jewelry, talismans, prayer beads, knotted prayer rope or rosary in your windowsill to absorb the light of the super moon.

Also, soak your face in her light and ask, “Do you have a message for me?”  For thousands of years people (and Magi, the “Jedi” of earth) have done that.
In the Holy Land the moon was viewed as male, but then so was the sun and everything but Venus. Very male-centric solar system in the eyes of our Middle-East forbears. The Norse also view the moon as male and this may be where we get our “man in the moon” concept, just as we get our weekday names from the Norse. The Norse believed the sun was female (a warm loving mother) and the moon her husband. In ancient Sumeria and what is now Iraq / Syria, the earth was a woman and the moon her husband. His name was Sin pronounced Seen, and we now have the Sinai peninsula and of course Mount Sinai named after her beloved.
Without the moon we would scoot around from north to south poles and agriculture would not survive due to unstable weather patterns, neither would we. We might even fly completely out of orbit. S/He stabilizes us. It’s pretty cool!
Absorb some of that magical and yet stabilizing energy this week…. especially Monday night when it is strongest.
Esoteric spiritual clergy gather for super moon ordinationWhen you gaze at the Moon, know that hundreds of thousands of people are doing the same thing at that same moment. Know that some are fellow esotericists like yourself. Some will be putting things in their windowsills, especially silver is said to be nicely “charged up” by moonlight. I will be thinking of you all when I do my moon-work this week.
“See” you there!
Bishop Katia

Morality and Ethics in Esotericism – Dirty Words in an Unclean World

Morality and Ethics in Esotericism – Dirty Words in an Unclean World

by esotericist Mark Stavish

Kabbalah for Health and Wellness book cover for spiritual counseling teaching healingWhile it is generally agreed that our outer health, and even material circumstances, are a direct reflection of our inner wholeness, the connection of this idea in reality is a lot less simple for many in practice.  Much, if not all of this difficulty comes from the notion that esotericism is a sort of ‘do it yourself’ process, in which practitioners can ‘pick what they like and leave the rest behind’.  In reality, while that is fine to tell drug addicts and alcoholics in an NA or AA meeting and who are on the edge of total self-destruction (so anything is better than nothing) it is a lie when it comes teaching students who “of their own free will and accord” have placed themselves on a path of illumination.

In Kabbalah for Health and Wellness there is a discussion of the role of the Ten Commandments (as well as the two given by Jesus) in psychological and physical health so that inner realizations could take place.  Somehow the knee-jerk rejection of anything rooted in Western culture took sway, and some neo-pagans reviewing the book seemed bent on criticizing this point rather than taking a step back and remembering that kabbalah is essentially Jewish, even when it is dressed up in late 19th and early 20th century polytheistic and reconstructionist metaphors.  You can throw the baby out with the bathwater, but then in the end, you are left holding an empty bucket.

This desire to strip traditional teachings of any connection to their past is in no means limited to studies of kabbalah. American Buddhists are notorious for it as well. Like their Leftist, counter-culture, Sixties holdovers in the neo-pagan community, American Buddhists find it nearly impossible to sit down, shut up, listen, and change their point of view – even if for a moment – but instead insist on picking and choosing what moral and ethical precepts they like and which ones they don’t like. This is especially true when it comes to teachings against sexual license in general. This is further extended into the need to turn everything into a political and social movement rather than do the hard work of deconstructing and reconstructing themselves as individuals. It is as if the idea of actually being an individual – even for a moment – is too frightening to their entrenched collectivist ideology.  “If it is good enough for me, then it is good enough for everyone” seems to be the motto of too many pathological reforms across many of the current spiritual groups in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Within Buddhism and its Tibetan predecessor, Bon, there are Ten Virtuous Deeds. Like the Ten Commandments for those who practice kabbalah, in any of its forms – Christian or Hermetic – the Ten Virtuous Deeds are not an option, but must be strictly followed.

These Ten Virtuous Deeds are:

  1.  Avoiding taking another’s life, including animal and plants beings whenever  possible.
  2.  Practicing generosity.
  3.  Being mindful, paying attention to what you are doing and what you are  thinking of at any moment.
  4.  Following moral discipline to overcome sexual misconduct.
  5.  Telling truth and avoiding falsehood.
  6.  Working to bring together friends who have separated, and not spreading  rumors.
  7.  Speaking peacefully and calmly and avoiding harsh language.
  8.  Practicing – prayer, meditation, pilgrimages, and other works, rather than  wasting time, particularly on gossip.
  9.  Being free of evil thoughts towards others, generating love and kindness  towards them rather than harmful thoughts.
  10.  Being free from wrong views of the teachings one is receiving, particularly firmly realizing the truth of the law of karma (cause and result or effect), and firmly entering the spiritual pathway.

If we take a careful look at these non-optional moral and ethical requirements, we can see that they are in fact even more stringent than the so-called Ten Commandments found in Jewish scripture and adopted by the Christians. The Ten Commandments can be summarized into: put God first, don’t blaspheme, keep one day set aside for spiritual practice, don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t lie, don’t commit adultery, and don’t desire for what another person owns.  The Egyptian Negative Confession to Truth or Maat is even more detailed, yet repeats the same themes.  All of these guidelines are direct and to the point – if you want to know God, or experience enlightenment, then these are the rules you need to follow.  And if these are too burdensome, then your journey will become a longer and more difficult one. The choice is up to you.

The simple truth is that only by following such guidelines, particularly when it is difficult, causes us material or social loss, and goes against our predisposed ego (self-pitying and self-limiting) image we cherish of our self, can we really say we are on the Path.  Only with a firm commitment to organize our inner life and master the inner energies that run rampant within our psyche, can we hope to be open to deeper realizations and experiences we call spiritual, as well as to project that new found harmony as power and form in the material world.

We can either treat genuine and authentic spiritual teachings as a rich multi-course meal that has been laid out for us by a master chef and staff, or we can treat it like a buffet where we indulge our preferences and walk away having paid too much money for second or third rate food only to get indigestion.

For Western esotericism to survive and thrive in its own soil it must provide solid evidence that it is more than just a collection of occult and psychic thrill seekers, but has real and tangible means of living a healthy and happy life. Morality and ethics is the beginning and end of who we are and the litmus test of our spiritual path, for this shows how we treat others and ourselves.

The above article was first posted in VOXHERMES in February 2008.

Words of My Teachers – A Companion to the IHS Audio Programs


A Tsunami of Wishful Thinking has washed across the West

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, made a prescient comment on the new moral reality in an article in the the Wall Street Journal in 2011, warning, “A tsunami of wishful thinking has washed across the West saying that you can have sex without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality and self-esteem without the responsibility of work and earned achievement.”


Esoteric Christianity, what does it mean?

Bishop James posted Wikipedia’s definition of esoteric Christianity,

Esoteric Christianity is an ensemble of spiritual currents which regard Christianity as a mystery religion,[1][2] and profess the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices[3][4] of which the public is unaware (or even to which they may be denied access) but which are understood by a small group of people.[5]

and then he asked:

Do you think it is an accurate description?  How can it be defined as “the existence and possession of certain esoteric doctrines or practices of which the public is unaware (or even to which they may be denied access) but which are understood by a small group of people” and yet many of the described elements have so many books and public websites devoted to it?

How can a Christian possibly be devoted to Crowley type goetia?

* * * * * * * * * * *

Very thought provoking question; I responded thus:

Aleister Crowley’s perverted nonsense is not esoteric Christianity.  One might call it esoteric Satanism, but never Christianity.
The Wikipedia definition of esoteric Christianity is accurate in my opinion for the “original” esoteric Christianity. Almost exactly 100 years ago esoteric Christianity finally became talked about in the salons and publications of the Western world.  Of course it did exist before, but the turn of the last century is when it gained a wider audience, a small niche, but much wider than the centuries before.
Now there are indeed tons of books and websites dedicated to esoteric Christianity, my first website in 1999 was one of them. But the esoteric underground stream is still just a small niche in Christianity. In this Internet Age esoteric is still little known, but not as obscure and “occulted” as it once was.
My favorite definition of the word esoteric is based on the original Greek word “esoteric”, which means “inner”. Esoteric Christianity is really “inner” Christianity. Richard Smoley lays it out perfectly in his very enjoyable book, Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition
Here are our lessons based on that book:
Because we are the Esoteric Interfaith Church, Inc. esoteric teachings and Smoley’s book figure prominently on our tenets of faith page here:
Our tenets of faith are not dogmas that must be followed by all our ordained minister and rabbi clergy. We are definitely multi-faith and interfaith in addition to being esoteric. We recently ordained a New Thought minister and a Celtic Minister. Technically since esoteric Judaism (Kabbalah, etc.) is part of the underground stream we enjoy, we should call ourselves esoteric Judeo-Christianity….and multi-faith, interfaith, spiritual…

Child Refugees – won’t any Western country take them?

You’ve heard about laughing out loud, well I was just crying out loud watching the short video above.

A British guy, now a knight, saved hundreds of Jewish kids on the eve of WW2 by getting them into England. Their parents couldn’t leave their home countries because no country would accept refugees, but many desperate parents managed to get their kids out. This British stockbroker forged travel documents and bribed officials, whatever he had to do, to get London to accept the children. America was asked to take some Jewish refugee children, but the embassy said no. If only the USA had said yes, we could’ve saved hundreds, maybe thousands more, he now says. Yeah, the guy is still alive — at 105 years old. You should watch the video.

I broke out in tears about 3 quarters of the way thru when the old man who saved all the kids is sitting in a crowded London theater. You have to watch the video to see why I was sobbing out loud, I am not spoiling the awesome-ness of it!

Oh yeah, I also cried-out-loud when a man spoke about remembering his parents putting him and his brother on one of the rescue trains. His parents lied and said we will join you in England in a few months. He went back to Czechoslovakia after the war — a teenager — to search for them (in vain). He went from camp to camp, watched footage, looked for records. Then he moved to Israel in his 20’s probably hoping maybe they would go there, if there is any place to “accidentally run into them” it might be in Israel. He says at the end of the video, “I never gave up looking…” and I bawled again.

But the most of my tears were generated when the old man was sitting in that crowded theater. I am tearing up just thinking about it again. Geez. Happy tears, really. Make sure you watch the thing!

We need such heroism today to save other children on the verge of extinction, for example the Boko Haram kidnapped girls, and the Yazidi girls kidnapped by ISIL. Two earliteen Yazidi girls, ages 14 and 13 escaped on their own this week after 2 months of sex slavery when the lock didn’t hold on their room. They had been sold to a sheik in his 40s and were used for “sport” by multiple men. The girls were plucky, and managed to get to Baghdad on foot somehow and are now back with their families way up north in the Yazidi refugee camps. Hundreds of Yazidi girls and women, maybe thousands, were sold into such slavery or are about to be. I only found out about the two escaped Yazidi girls by seeing a video on EuroNews. Not much is mentioned any more about the Boko Haram kidnapped girls in Africa, either. 200 are still missing, and those that escape tell of horrors.

If only people would or COULD sponsor refugee kids. There are no programs set up to do so. There are over 1.5 million of Syrian and Iraqi refugee KIDS right now stuck in Iraq and Syria. There are a bunch of children (and families) displaced hiding out in Kiev, Ukraine, but for now they are safe and don’t need to exit their home country.

Tens of thousands of the Syrian/Iraq refugee kids are Christian and Yazidi (Zoroastrian-AngelWorshipping-Noah’sArkDescendants) and many have at least one parent still alive. Wish the UN or some gov’t would set up programs to get them out and to new countries, especially the orphans. Nobody seems to care any more. Well, France took a couple hundred Iraqi Christians (in family groups) from the Biblical city of Ninevah (now called Mosul). France will probably take more. The few Yazidis living in Europe have started a program amongst themselves in which a family already living outside Iraq can sponsor a person or child that needs to escape, but it is so small and limited. There is a large group of Yazidis in Nebraska, I wonder if they are trying to get some of their people into the US.

Our Knights Templar group donates a portion of our dues to children victims of terrorism and war. We’ve been doing that for over a decade now. Last month we sent that money to UNICEF who was the first in Iraq to bring attention to the horrors on Mount Sinjar, and the many Christian and Yazidi child refugees fleeing for their lives from ISIL.

If anyone knows of other charities out there besides the UN, to help child refugees (or families), please comment below. The UN charities like UNICEF are great, but the UN isn’t able to help re-home these people. I guess no one is.

Anger toward religion provoked priest attacks in Arizona

Anger toward religion may have provoked deadly attacks on priests in Phoenix last week

The person who brutally attacked two Phoenix priests might have a lot of anger toward people and things associated with religion, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman said.

Police also said they are looking for a man who was seen entering a residence attached to Mother of Mercy Mission Catholic Church, where one Phoenix priest was shot and killed and another badly beaten Wednesday night.

The violent nature of the crimes – the Rev. Kenneth Walker was shot multiple times and the Rev. Joseph Terra was brutally beaten – leads police to believe the attacker is angry at churches, priests or religion in general, said Sgt. Darren Burch of the department’s Silent Witness program.

Burch said there was a lot of anger and venom involved in the attacks in the rectory of the church on Wednesday.

“Somebody in our community knows about an individual in his 40s that has that type of anger, that type of violent nature, those tendencies and that’s the perfect tip that we need,” Burch said.

Terra remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Burch said the attacker might have previously outwardly exhibited anger toward religion or priests but might have become more withdrawn and not as visibly agitated since the attack.

A flyer issued by the Phoenix Police Department said police were looking for a white man, 40 to 49 years old, who was seen entering the residence at the church near 1500 W. Monroe St. about 9:11 p.m. Wednesday.

Police continue to urge anyone with information about the suspect or the crimes to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (480-948-6377), or 480-TESTIGO (480-837-8446), or 800-343-TIPS (800-343-8477).

Silent Witness is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or indictment of the suspect or suspects in this crime.

Read more:

Esoteric Meaning of Candlemas, Imbolc, Groundhog Day, Feast of the Purification

Here is one of our Mystery School’s esoteric holiday calendar pages:

Candles lit in a rowFebruary 2, Candlemas, Imbolc, Feast of Purification

You’ve probably heard of Midsummer and Midsummer Night’s Eve.  But did you know today is Midwinter and last night was Midwinter Night’s Eve?

Midwinter, Groundhog Day and Candlemas are part of a very old holiday with a Christian-Pagan history. Its Christian version is called the Purification of the Virgin and is the end or culmination of the forty day period after Mary God-Bearer had her baby on December 25. Jesus is 40 days old today.  He gets to be Christened at the Temple, where Anna the Prophetess and Simon will see the baby and proclaim him the “Light of the World”.

In the ancient world, it was the custom for women to wait forty days after childbirth before entering a church or Temple again due to “uncleanliness”. This 40-day waiting period is still observed in Eastern Orthodox Christian churches today, and all Christian churches still schedule the Christening of a new baby at least forty days after the birth in keeping with this ancient purification practice. Also, there was the idea that the soul takes 40 days to anchor inside the baby.

Therefore today is Yeshua’s Christening or Naming Day when an exorcism is performed and the baby formally enters the Church.This special forty-day period in the Christian calendar is one of four such in the esoteric Church year.  The other three forty-day periods are:  Fall Equinox (Sept 21) to Halloween / AllSaints Day (Oct. 31, Nov.1), Spring Equinox (Mar 21) to May Day (May 1) and of course, Lent. Lent is the forty-day period beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday every year.Candlemas is a church “adaptation” of a pagan goddess holiday called Imbolc where people light candles to banish dark spooks. Candlemas is celebrated on the same day as that pagan holiday, February 2nd.
The word Imbolc, variously spelled Imbolg, Oimelc and Imelg, means “ewe-milk” because this is the time lambs were born in old England, Ireland and most of Europe thus bringing back the flow of ewe’s milk.

February 1, Imbolc Today (tomorrow, according to some calendars) is the day of Candlemas, the Festival of Lights, a Midwinter Festival. Known to Neopagans and ancient Celts as Imbolc (Gaelic origin, “in milk” or ” in the belly”), a festival of the Maiden Goddess and a traditional time to bless agricultural implements (especially the Plow) and livestock. Neopagans celebrate the holiday with home blessings and lighting candles to welcome the coming of the light and the Goddess in Spring. In Ireland, the day is the festival of St. Bridget, a holdover from celebrations of the Celtic Goddess Brighid. Traditional corn dollies and Bridget’s crosses are fashioned from straw.

–Jennifer Emick

Bishop Katia writes:


On February 2nd we ask that all members of our Church of the Way and Ekklesia Epignostika light a candle at their altar and carry it across the room to put in a window.  It’s a simple but powerful rite that acknowledges today as a holy day going back 5000 years. You may light more candles if you’d like, the more the better. See the picture below for how many candles Christian churches get ready for this day!


Make a Crown of Lights for the Candlemas Queen

Another observance is to light several taper candles (seven is best) which are shaped into a crown, called the Crown of Lights worn by the Candlemas Queen.  See the very end of this page for description:  “A Crown of Lights is prepared for the Mother and left by the altar. Traditionally, the Crown should be of candles or tapers, which are lit during the ritual.”

Mother of God of the Blessed Thunder Candle from Polish TraditionRev. Francis X. Weiser, SJ writes:

The Poles have a beautiful legend that Mary, the Mother of God of the Blessed Thunder Candle (Matka Boska Gromniczna), watches on wintry nights around Candlemas, when hungry wolves are on rampage outside the sleeping village. With her thunder candle she wards off the ravenous pack and protects the peasants from all harm…

All over Europe Candlemas was considered one of the great days of weather forecasting. Popular belief claims that bad weather and cloudy skies on February 2 mean an early and prosperous summer. If the sun shines through the greater part of Candlemas Day, there will be at least 40 more days of cold and snow. This superstition is familiar to all in our famous story of the groundhog looking for his shadow on Candlemas Day.


Mark Raines writes:

Imbolc really is the beginning of Spring, despite the fact that there may
still be snow in some places and dreary skies almost everywhere! If you look closely, you will see that the snow is just a blanket covering the beauty of the Mother, which is about to shine through soon. You’ll see the first hints of Spring, if you’re really looking for them. In this spirit, Candlemas is celebrated. (Note: Candlemas is the Christianized name for Imbolc, but the two are used almost interchangeably by many earth-based groups such as Wiccans today. Groundhog Day is a secularized term, but it draws from a Pagan tradition. More on that in a minute)

Imbolc is closely associated with the Celtic-Irish goddess Brigid. Imbolc is sacred to Brigid because she is a goddess of fire, of poetry, and of healing, all things that go along
with the creative powers of the onset of spring. She is a powerful representation
of the Maiden Goddess, and she has been almost perfectly preserved for us
today by none other than the Roman Catholic Church. Rather than call her
demon and risk the displeasure of all Ireland, they canonized Brigid and
made her the patron saint of poetry and healing. This appeased the Irish,
who at the time probably saw the Catholic saints as being very similar to

There is one very well-known tradition of Imbolc, and that is the tradition
of the groundhog’s shadow predicting our weather. If a groundhog came out
of its hole and saw its shadow, that meant six more weeks of bad weather.
This tradition is still widely celebrated today. Another tradition is to
put a candle in your window on Imbolc Eve, representing the Eternal Flame
of the Maiden Goddess.

Candlemas Christian Setup at the Credence TableFeast of the Purification

In Myth and Ritual in Christianity, Alan Watts says about the Feast of the Purification observed in Catholicism, and by Anglicans and Lutherans: “Finally, the rites of the Incarnation reach their climax with the Feast of the Purification on February 2nd, otherwise known as Candlemas. For at this time the Church blesses all the lights to be used in its ceremonies thruout the year, since it was at Christ’s Presentation at the Temple that Simeon called him “the Light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people.”…As the choir chants…all the clergy and people assembled for Candlemas receive the blessed candles before the altar, and then go in procession with them around the church, singing: O daughter of Sion adorn thy bride-chamber and welcome Christ the King: greet Mary with an embrace, who is the gate of heaven, for it is she who bringeth the King of Glory, of the new light. … During the mass that follows, all hold their lighted candles during the chanting of the Gospel” and various other times in the ceremony.

FEBRUARY 2nd (Excerpt below Ret’d from Jan 31, 2004)

Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, Second Day:
(for the first and third days of Feb., see the above link)

Roman: CERES and PROSERPINE; LUPA. (Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. Vol. Il. p. 51)
“the list of festivals for the whole Christian church was swelled by the
consecration of the day [February 2nd] of the holy virgin Mary, that the
people might not miss their Lupercalia, which they were accustomed to celebrate
in the month of February.” Note by Soames: “This was instituted in the reign
of Justinian, and fixed to the second of February . . The Latins called it
. . Candlemass; because many candles were then lighted up; as had been done
on the Lupercalia, the festival of Proserpine, whom her mother Ceres ‘searched
for with candles . . See Hospinian, de Fest. Christ, p. 52.

(Whistler, English Fist. p. 86) “the early Church instituted on February
2nd the Feast of Lights, blessed her candles, placed by the altar in sheaves,
and filled her basilicas with candleshine . . ‘Thus’, said the Pope, ‘what
was done before to the honour of Ceres, is now done to the honour of the
Virgin’. (Foot-note) Quoted by William Hone, The Every-Day Book, Vol. 1 Col.

JUNO FEBRUA, The Purifier. (Brewer, Dict.) “Candlemas Day. . It was the old
Roman custom of burning candles to the goddess Februa, mother of Mars, to
scare away evil spirits”.

Celtic: BRIGANTIA, BRIGHID. (Denning and Phillips, Magical Philosophy, Vol.
III. p. 166) “Brigid is the most widely powerful of the Celtic Goddesses.
She is the power of the new moon, of the spring of the year, and of the flowing
sea. In Ireland she is most famed, and in Britain she was Goddess of the
widespread tribe of the Brigantes. Her festival, from ancient times to the
present, is the second of February, the Celtic FireFestival of Imbolc . .
In Pagan times, her statue was annually washed in sea or lake to celebrate
her festival, being conveyed ceremonially overland, in a chariot or a boat;
in her associated with a ship – she may be compared to Isis (note: see March
5th). . Always with candles and with water do we greet her, the great
Moon-Mother, patroness of poetry and of all making and of the arts of

Candlemas LightbearerClick on the image on the right to read a modern pagan take on Imbolc/Candlemas.

(B. Morgan, Matriarchy Newsletter, No. 2) “Just as Hallowe’en marks the retreat into winter darkness and symbolises menstruation at the dark of the moon, so Candlemass marks the opening out of the natural world, ovulation, and emerges into the pure light of Spring first glimpsed at the Winter Solstice. The festivals symbolise on another level the Celtic belief in reincarnation; death at Hallowe’en followed by gestation in the dark space-womb of the Goddess and rebirth in a new body at Candlemass. This is the time for initiations in witchcraft, a rebirth of the spirit.

“Candlemass is when we come spiralling out again from the darkness, and our matriarchal symbol, the spiral, seems to recur in many aspects of Brigit’s cult. The dynamic shape of her crosses, the curling coats of her sheep and perhaps even the twisted patterns in Aran wool, handed down from mother to daughter, are part of her”.

British-Roman: SUL-MINERVA. (B. Morgan, id.) “Sul-Minerva of Bath seems to be identical with Brigid; a goddess of knowledge and healing with an ‘ashless fire’ in her sanctuary. If Sul, whose name derives from the Celtic words for the eye (i.e. suil) and seeing, is cognate with the Goddess of Silbury Hill, there could well have been a procession at Candlemass to her sacred spring, the Swellowhead, which begins to flow again in February, when the Queen ‘comes from the mound’ “.

English: THE WIVES. (Esther Harding, Woman’s Mysteries, p. 131) “In the north of England . . Candlemas used to be called The Wives Feast Day because it was regarded as a fertility festival”.

General: THE WITCHES, Great Sabbat. (Doreen Valiente, ABC of Witchcraft, p. 98) on Druidic links with Witchcraft: “the Great Sabbats of the witches are identical with the four great yearly festivals of the Druids in Celtic countries; namely Beltane (30th April), Lughnassadh (1st August), Samhain (31st October) and Imbolc or Oimelc (2nd February)”.

Jewish: THE VIRGIN MARY. (Esther Harding, Woman’s Myst. p. 130) “Another ancient festival of candles celebrated long ago for a moon goddess is now repeated on the same date, February the second, for the Virgin Mary, Moon of our Church. . This is the Festival of Candlemas. It corresponds in date and customs to the Celtic Holy Day of St. Bride or St. Brigit. St. Brigit is the Christianized form of the ancient Celtic goddess Bridgit or Brigentis, a triune moon goddess whose worship was at one time very widespread. On February the first, as today in the Catholic Church at the Festival of Candlemas, the new fire was kindled and blessed”.

(Whistler, English Fest. p. 87) An extract from an account written by a
prebendary of Durham, in 1628, of John Cosin, bishop’s chaplain, later Bishop
of Durham: ” ‘On Candlemas Day last past, Mr. Cozens, in renuing that . .
ceremonie of burning candles in honour of Our Ladye, busied himself from
two of the clocke in the afternoon till foure, in climbing long ladders to
stick up wax Candles in the said Cathedral Church. The number of all the
Candles burnt that evening was two hundred and twenty, besides sixteen torches:
sixty of those burning tapers and torches standing up, and near, the High
Altar . .’ ” (id.) “A writer to the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1790 noticed
at Ripon that ‘the Collegiate church was one continued blaze of light all
the afternoon, from an immense number of candles’. Today, in all Roman Catholic
churches, and in some Anglican ones, the feast of lights is remembered, and
there is much blessing and processing with tapers . . Snowdrops are ‘Mary’s
Tapers’ – ‘Candlemas Bells’. They are the day’s particular flower”.

THE CANDLEMAS QUEEN. (Farrar, Eight Sabbats, p. 66) “Imbolg, 2nd February
. . In Christian tradition, the Crown of Lights is often worn by a very young
girl, presumably to symbolize the extreme youth of the year”.

In an illustration shown by Dr. Margaret Murray (The God of the Witches,
p. 15) the Swedish Lucia-Queen is a girl wearing a crown of seven tapers
set in a circle.

THE TRIPLE GODDESS; THE IMBOLG MOTHER. (Farrar, Eight Sabbats, p. 66) “Imbolg
. . The Preparation:

“The High Priestess selects two women witches who, with herself, will represent
the Triple Goddess-Maid (Enchantment), Mother (Ripeness) and Crone (Wisdom)
– and allocates the three roles.

“A Crown of Lights is prepared for the Mother and left by the altar.
Traditionally, the Crown should be of candles or tapers, which are lit during
the ritual”.

Groundhog Day. (Druids Cal.) “February 2nd: Groundhog Day. ” (Fell. of Isis
Dir.) “February 2nd: Groundhog Day. Down to Earth for growth”.