February kindles the fires of our hearts and our souls kicking off with the festival of Imbolc (pronounced “Im-ulk”)! This celebration of the return of the light is also known as Candlemas in the Catholic tradition. It is celebrated anytime from February 1st through the 4th. Imbolc centers around the gradual returning light of the sun and the promise of the greening of Spring. It honors Saint Brigid who evolved from the Goddess Brigid who preceded the saint by a millennia. The eternal flame of Brigid is perpetually tended by the Brigidine Sisters of Solas Bhride, a Catholic retreat and hermitage center open to people of all faiths. Solas Bhride is located in Kildare Town, County Kildare, Ireland considered Brigid’s homeland. Candlemas celebrates the presentation of the Christ at the Temple of Jerusalem, referring to him as the “Light of the People.”
Imbolc celebrates the return of the light at the time when we arrive at the halfway point between winter solstice and the first day of Spring. At this time in the year, we begin to notice the sun rising a little earlier and setting a little later. Foremost, Imbolc is a festival of hope; that even in the still dark times of winter, light will return. Feasting and fire are both significant parts of the honoring of the Saint and Goddess so loved by Celtic peoples. This year is the honoring of the 1500th year anniversary of her death. Ireland has a series of festivals and events scheduled to honor this anniversary.
Brigid was many things as both Goddess and Saint. She was envisioned as one who worked at a forge changing the form of steel as she changed the lives of those who worked with her. Her fires at the forge were creative fires and the fires of change. She inspires all things creative. She is especially associated with poets and I personally honor her and her inspiration in my writing.
She was considered sacred to farmers and associated with crops, cows, milk, sheep, and lambing. Another animal associated with her is the groundhog, and many think our groundhog day comes from Brigid traditions in antiquity. Brigid is also said to have created a wonderful ale that not only tasted delicious but was also healing.
Honor this sacred time by doing something you are inspired to do. Take a different look at the common things and experiences around you and seek new insights and joy. Shed a little light on something you have always wanted to learn or experience. Take a moment and author a poem in Brigid’s honor. Perhaps that poem might be a Valentine for your Beloved. Another idea might be to brighten your world with a “pay it forward” moment. Keep this sacred flame of creativity alive. Keep love alive, our world is in desperate need of it.
At A Sandy Place, we are honoring growth and creativity this month on February 24th by offering a workshop which explores the life changing impact of affirmations called, “Affirmations Affirm.” Participants will learn about this therapeutic, evidence-based way to support your goals and grow in the direction you want to grow! Additionally, we will create our own affirmations as they are the most powerful. This workshop will be held virtually. If you feel so moved, please consider joining and engaging with us in this experience. Connect with us! We can all benefit from connection and learning new skills. Get to know us and find a little of yourself in the process!! Registration and workshop information are located on the events page of www.asandyplace.com, https://asandyplace.com/events/