Aside from being Groundhog’s Day, February 2nd is also the traditional date of Imbolc, or “Imbolc Brigantina” also known as St. Brigit’s Day. The actual high holy date falls precisely halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal or Spring Equinox, which this year is on February 4th.
Brigit or Brighid is the Celtic Goddess of the Forge, and on her day, she awakens the sleeping earth with her power of creative fire. She’s known as the inspirer of poets and writers and artists of all kinds.
The Christians adopted her and changed the holiday to St. Brigit’s Day because it was easier to do that than to get the Pagans to give up their Goddess.
The Catholic mass celebrated on this day is called Candlemas, and St. Brigit is depicted with a crown of glowing candles.
A temple to Brighid that existed in Kildare, with 9 priestesses in charge of tending an eternal flame, was converted to a church. There are now 9 nuns there tending that same fire, and they wear red nail polish as did the priestesses of Brighid before them.
By the way, the correct pronunciation of the Goddess’s name depends on who you ask, many say “Breed” or just “Bree” and others “Bride” but natives of the Celtic lands say, “Bree-yah.”
This day, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal (spring) Equinox, we delve deep within to examine the sparks that Spirit has inspired to life within us. (Inspire = In Spirit. And also, to inhale. Breath and Spirit are closely entwined.)
Those sparks of inspiration are glowing hot now, in response to the power of this in-between time. It’s time for us to examine them, and then to tend our inner fires and make them grow. We are holding our raw metals to the flames of the Forge, heating them, and beginning the work of forming and shaping them into our new reality.
This is a beautiful time to renew those New Year’s Resolutions. It’s also a traditional time to cleanse and bless our homes with the new energy of the coming spring.
Next time: An Imbolc Ritual