February 2 (to some the 1st), is Imbolc, also known as Candlemas or Saint Brigid’s Day.
It is one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals and the changing of the guard from Crone to Maiden with the first signs of Spring; the celebration of winter’s passing with the threefold Goddess Brigid.
To join the celebration of this new beginning, light candles of white, red, and yellow, burn Frankincense, dance, and smell the flowers… but don’t forget the shadow-side of your soul or fail to give thanks to the Old Crone who guards your deep, dark, wretched secrets for another year.
The Old Crone’s Imbolc
“Guardians of the East join me in my rite; Sylphs of the East join me in my rite. I ask you to exalt the veil of darkness, glorify the fields with crocus, purify the souls of the wicked. Welcome Guardians, welcome Sylphs to my circle.”
“Go on Old Crone, your time has passed. Leave circle casting to the Maidens.”
“Watch your tongue Brigid, least you not live to see another reawakening.”
The three sister Goddesses laughed and danced around the field of snow, kicking the soft flakes at the Crone. “You cannot stop the light, no matter how hard you try, Old One.”
“If it were not for me, for my dark despair, there would be no need for light. It is I who gave the crocus slumber so they may rise again. It is I for whom the candle must be lit.”
“Indeed.” Brigid cooed. “You are the cobwebs of the mind. The fear of the soul, the inertia of the body.
“All we are saying Old Crone is that your time has ended. Be gone. We, the Gaelic Goddesses, are the rejuvenation that all long for. We are the dance that titillates their stupor, the celebration whose time has, at last, come.”
The Crone bowed her head. They were too young, too naïve, too unblemished to know the power of the darkness.
Who else would hide what must be hidden? Who else would keep secret the shadow-side of all who walk the Earth?
If not for the Crone, all would be exposed, turned to ash for the shame of their foolish deeds. No woman, no man would be free to laugh, to give openly, to love honestly.
Only the Crone could keep them from being exposed– naked and raw. No one else lay dormant– sealed in the vaults of their minds, there to remind them, least they stray from the path once again.
Sadly, the Old Crone left the Maidens to their joyous preparation for the coming festival. As with every year before, they had forgotten past lessons.
So busy with their merrymaking of all that was fresh and new, they would again discard the marrow in the shadow’s bits and pieces, which each soul had collected on its journey.
Discarding them as bitter baggage instead of embracing the divine wisdom; gifts in their own right, from the Gods and Goddesses who love them.
The Crone rested her wary bones on the hard winter ground. She pulled her scarf tight against the chill. Too tired to finish casting her circle, she embraced the darkness, pulling it closer and closer.
Pulling closer every wrong done by every woman, every sin commented by every man. Holding them deep inside with the eternal promise to keep them safe another year so that each may see the light, feel the love, and dance with the Maidens on this blest Imbolc.
* * *
Blest be the Darkness,
Blest be the Light,
Embrace one no greater than the other.
Blest be the Crone,
Blest be the Maiden,
One not possible without the other.
Blest be you my friend on this day of Imbolc.