Candlemas falls on February 2nd and is traditionally the dawn of the year, the time of new beginnings. As we approach Candlemas, in the last weeks of January, we find the evening light lingers longer and we begin to feel a sense that spring is not far off. We are entering into a new cycle of growth.

Outside we see the first green shoots are just beginning to peep above the ground. The earth is beginning to stir inwardly, preparing for the full flowering of spring. For us too, it is a time for inner reflection, an opportunity to clarify our intentions. Where IS our new growth? New Year resolutions are beginning to grow, delicate and pure as snowdrops. Some resolutions may have already fallen on stony ground!

Time devoted now to envisioning the year ahead on an inner level will help the promise and potential that lies within to come into flower. This is the time to celebrate new beginnings and breathe new life into old ventures.

How we start makes a difference. Rituals of dedication are often overlooked today. Yet the traditional rituals of purification and dedication that are enacted at this time are a good way to celebrate the promise of the return of the light. As the old yields to the new, the festival of light is a time to light a candle of dedication to the year, lighting a fire in our hearts, in the heart of our community and our world.

Candlemas coincides with the Druid festival of Imbolc on February 1st and with the Chinese New Year. These festivals welcome the dawning of spring. The Chinese festival is a moon festival so varies each year as it falls on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice.

As February approaches, it is a good time to do a thorough house cleaning, sweeping the floors with salt water, banishing the gloom of winter and creating a sparkling, shiny new setting for spring. This can be also energetic cleansing with sage and ceremonial cleansing as purification to make way for the new.

At Candlemas, light up your home! Place candles and lamps in each window to welcome Bridget, the light bringer and spark of inspiration. Candlemas or Imbolc is the feast of Brigit. Bridie, Brigid or St Bride. Bridget is the maiden of grace who presides over this time. She inspires poets, writers and musicians, of all who set their visions to words or music, all who create beauty by skill of their hands. She is the midwife to healing, to the emerging new light of life – the healer of all ills of body or spirit or heart or mind

It is said that as she walks the land turns green where her footsteps fall. Her breath upon the hills warms the earth and melts the ice. As she dips her hands in the spring the ice melts. Where she pauses snowdrops appear. Her flower is the snowdrop. Her symbol is a White Swan.

She is the goddess of the forge, the flame and the well, and of work, healing, and poetry. We can bring our sparks of inspiration that we seeded in mid-winter, to be blessed at the holy well or in front of the sacred flame. She comes to awaken Gaia, and we can light her path as we celebrate the gentle signs of early spring, and of light returning after the darkness of winter.