February is when we see the first stirrings of Spring.
Throughout the British Isles, in olden days, these first cheerful signs of Spring's return were celebrated by our Celtic ancestors in a holiday called "Imbolg" or "Bride's / St. Brigit's Day". Celebrations varied from community to community but the central theme was the same. Nudged by the observations of "life returning" in the form of small green shoots poking through the sometimes snowy ground, buds forming on trees and the birth of little lambs, the festivals often included bonfires or candles to represent the return of the warmth of the sun, and offerings to the Goddess Brighid, a mother goddess later venerated as Saint Brigit by the arrival of Christianity. It was also traditional to burn any leftover winter greenery, used in the Yuletide celebrations, indicating to me, a fresh start. I rarely say "Off with the old, on with the new" for I love many beautiful legacies from the past, represented in architecture and vintage items; but in this case, throwing off the old refers to things that no longer serve you or have run their course, in a natural cycle that makes way for new life.
It is a beautiful time of year and we are experiencing a particularly gorgeous Imbolg. Lots of snowdrops, crocuses, songbirds, small buds ... and even a wee bit of snow glittering in the fantastically warm sunshine. If you have the opportunity, go for a little walk and see what you can see - Happy Imbolg!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2019 / edited 2020 & 2021
Bibliography: Guide to the Fairy Ring, by Anna Franklin, 2002, Llewellyn Publications; Entry for "Imbolc", Wikipedia, last edit 2019
This bit of magic comes from Derbyshire, England.
On St. Valentine's Day eve, walk in a clockwise circle around your local church, scattering a handful of hempseed behind you. Whilst scattering, make sure you chant:
"I sow a hempseed,
Hempseed I sow.
He who loves me best,
Come after and mow."
Run home quickly now and look over your shoulder. If a man begins to follow the path you made ... you will be married within the year.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2022
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