To the Roman the halfway point between Winter Solstice and the Spring equinox is Lupercalia. Nearly naked men ran through the town smacking people with bits of hide. If you were smacked you were considered lucky ;). What is unusual about this festival is that it is not associated with a certain deity. It focuses on Romulus and Remus who were suckled by a she-wolf in a cave called a Lupercale.
Archive for January, 2012
I have a winters’ heart
For me, a special part.
Snowflakes causes smiles
A whiteness that goes on for miles.
I run through holly
Coldness makes me jolly.
Red berries I’d want to kiss
Summertime I’d give a miss.
The season gives me love
Amongst the whiteness of a dove.
Bleakness that makes me feel at home
A world encapsulated in a snow dome.
A feeling deep within my soul
And as Sacred as mistletoe.
Eternally waiting for Yule
The Holly and Oak king duel.
Royalty waiting for an empire
A partner to take me higher.
This season leaves its mark
Rough like oak tree bark.
Bitter berries that taste sweet
A love of coldness over heat.
Minutes go by too fast
A season that will not last.
But a man come one winter night
Destined to turn me to the light.
Come to disturb my darkly plan
A God in disguise as a man.
He only took me partly the way
But I will reach the sunshine one day.
There are many myths associated with Brigid or Bride and problems arise as there appears to be several Bride and their stories have been squashed together over time. Bride has links with fire, arts, beauty, sky and sea. With man being the highest type of beauty (!) she watches over their births. With this in mind, she is associated with Mary, mother of Jesus. This Sabbath became Christianised into Candlemas. Candles are often part of rituals far beyond then just their practical uses in lighting the way during rituals celebrated at night. Light is alleged as being carried by the Devil, usually on his head, and he would light witches torches off it. Therefore it would seem the right time to call Lucifer at the time of Candlemas.
Some activities associated with this time is to look after the hearth as this is a fire festival. A old -fashioned traditional dish was made with the freshly docked tails of lambs. Bride dolls are created out of oats, dressed in woman’s clothing and buried as part of fertility rite. The doll is also placed into a basket called “Bride’s bed” and is left either in the door step or on the hearth. A white candle is left burned next to it. Spring cleaning has its roots in Imbolc as it is the time to get rid of the clutter both physical and mental. It is a time to break old habits and to start seeing the world afresh.
One of the symbols of Imbolc is the plough. A decorated plough is taken door to door with children asking for food and drink. If they are denied this then the plough is used to destroy their garden. A decorated plough also has Whiskey poured over it as a blessing. Cheese and bread are left as an offering to the spirits in the new furrows. However it is a celebration of all Virgin and Maiden Goddess, from Brigid, Inanna to Gaia and the Gods of love like Eros.
The pentacle is a five-pointed star within a circle and it is the most iconic symbol associated with Pagans and Wiccans. Each point represents the four elements (fire, air, earth and water) and the spirit, the circle then connects them all. A five point star without a circle is called a pentagram. Another star symbol is a septagram which is a seven pointed star and is sometimes called an Elven or Fairy star. Seven is a number associated with spirits. The points do not have set meanings like a pentacle but are sometimes associated with the four elements and above, below and within. This has connections with astrology as the classical world saw the universe containing seven planets. Another important symbol is the triple moon which is linked with the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother and Crone) is the form of waxing, full, waning moons. This is often worn on the head-dress of High Priestesses.
The Eye of Horus is another symbol although a slightly confusing one. It can be either the left or right eye. When it is the left eye it is associated with the moon. When it is the right eye it is in fact the Eye of Ra and is associated with the sun. Although some people believe that they are one of the same thing. The Eye is the eye lost by Horus in his fight with Seth over the death of his father, Osiris. This is worn for protection and ward off evil spirits.
You appear in my dreams
Like a ghost waiting to solidify.
If you love me, then come to me
If not, stop living this lie.
You haunt my dreams
You haunt my soul.
I’m fragmented into pieces
And you can make me whole.
Your laughter fills my dreams
But silence is my reality.
Do I haunt you, daily
As you constantly haunt me?
Together forever, only in my dreams
And that how I’d like us to be.
One night is all I ask of you
When two people become a “we”.
The 2nd of February is a the festival day for Brigid (Bride, Brighid, Brigit), a Celtic Goddess who become a Christian saint. Her day was originally the 1st of February and is was called Imbolc which is a reference to lactating milk of ewes. This is the starting point of life flowing back into everything and is seen as the first day of spring. Catholic Church made the 2nd of February Candlemas, a day of worship of the Virgin Mary and this was done through a candlelit procession. Therefore Brigid the light-bearer has translated from Paganism into Christianity. However, anyone that lives in the British Isles will find February one of the hardest months. In Scotland February is part of a time known as Faoilleach, the Wolf-month; it was also known as a’ marbh mhiòs, the Dead-month. However, if you look closely enough then you will see the signs of Spring appearing, lambs are born at this time and rains bring the first sight of lush green grass, ravens start building their nest and birdsong becomes more audible. Ireland start preparing their lands for the new seed, calves are born and fisherman watch the last of the freezing storms in contained joy at the prospect of returning to the sea to fish. In Scotland the old woman of Winter, Cailleach, is reborn as Brigid, the young maiden of Spring, frail but growing stronger every day with the revitalising rays of the sun. One of the most popular images of Brigid in John Duncan painting The Coming of Bride. This shows Brigid as an innocent golden-haired girl surrounded by children. (Here is a link to see the picture http://www.illusionsgallery.com/bride2.html) However I prefer Alexander Carmichael view of:
Bride with her white wand is said to breathe life into the mouth of the dead Winter and to bring him to open his eyes to the tears and the smiles, the sighs and the laughter of Spring. The venom of the cold is said to tremble for its safety on Bride’s Day, and to flee for its life on Patrick’s Day.