Here is one of our Mystery School’s esoteric holiday calendar pages: http://www.northernway.org/school/way/calendar/candlemas.html
|February 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.
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.”
Rev. 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
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
There is one very well-known tradition of Imbolc, and that is the tradition
Feast 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 http://www.fellowshipofisis.com/jc/jcfeb1.html Jan 31, 2004)
Greek: DEMETER and PERSEPHONE; The Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries, Second Day:
Roman: CERES and PROSERPINE; LUPA. (Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. Vol. Il. p. 51)
(Whistler, English Fist. p. 86) “the early Church instituted on February
JUNO FEBRUA, The Purifier. (Brewer, Dict.) “Candlemas Day. . It was the old
Celtic: BRIGANTIA, BRIGHID. (Denning and Phillips, Magical Philosophy, Vol.
(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
THE CANDLEMAS QUEEN. (Farrar, Eight Sabbats, p. 66) “Imbolg, 2nd February
In an illustration shown by Dr. Margaret Murray (The God of the Witches,
THE TRIPLE GODDESS; THE IMBOLG MOTHER. (Farrar, Eight Sabbats, p. 66) “Imbolg
“The High Priestess selects two women witches who, with herself, will represent
“A Crown of Lights is prepared for the Mother and left by the altar.
Groundhog Day. (Druids Cal.) “February 2nd: Groundhog Day. ” (Fell. of Isis