Cold, short and dark, many of its rituals (such as Pagan Imbolc, Christian Candlemas and Lent) involve fasting and abstinence, and because of its short length, it is the only month that can pass without a full moon, as it does this year. All in all, it can feel like we’ve hit the pause button where nothing seems to be happening.
But on Twitter Lane, there are sure signs that nothing stands still. Although the ground is solid and unyielding, it hasn’t stopped the Snowdrops (originally called Candlemas Bells) from erupting at the base of the hedgerows. Meanwhile, at the farm gate, the little Tete a Tete daffs are stoically pushing through the banks in search of the sun. Outside the office window the Thrush, Blackbird and Robin are singing for their territories, and by the end of the month we will have gained nearly two hours of daylight. Spring will truly be on her way!
The beginning of February sees the old Pagan celebration of Imbolc (pronounced “Imulk”) on the 1st, and the Christian celebration of Candlemas on the 2nd. Both are connected to purity, cleansing and hope, and fall roughly halfway between the shortest day and the Spring equinox. With Pendle Hill and all she symbolises dominating our daily horizon, Imbolc in particular is especially relevant to the region. If you know where to look, local Wiccans can be seen carrying burning torches across the fields to purify the land and symbolise the increasing strength of the sun and the stirring into life after winter.
Candlemas is the Christian festival of light – and candlelit processions and candles are brought into the village church to be blessed.
Both festivals use the flame to represent a way through the dark to new life, renewal and hope.
A lovely thought to hold close when you light your candle tonight.
Bye for now…