Happy Imbolc ~ Candlemas!

Imbolc.jpg

Dear ones,

I am a little late with this post but I didn’t want to let Imbolc (February 2nd) pass by without a note. Today is another holly day on the calendar of the Goddess: also  known as Brigid’s day or Candlemas, Imbolc marks the sesasonal change where the first signs of spring and return of the Sun are celebrated. It is one of the four fire festivals so if you get a chance to build a fire in your home, your garden I suggest you do. If not just light your candles and celebrate the light, the ending of winter and the beginning of spring. In my reality there is absolutely no sign of spring as of yet but I can feel it in the ethers already. It is very much like the situation in the world out there. There is so much chaos, so many things going awry at the same time that it is not always easy to see the light. But it will! We know that in the Goddess everything comes in circles; every dark period is followed by light. And we know in the Goddess everything comes and goes. Candlemas simply brings us hope, strengthening our will to move on, to stay awake in the light of our hearts and keep it bright and shining, to carry it everywhere we go!

On this day I wish to share this little story by Starhawk I love so very much. It warms my heart to read it every Imbolc. When we stay open and be in our innocent hearts spring will come, the darkness will fade and Love will win.

Enjoy the story and happy Imbolc, everyone!

A story of Brigit for Imbolc

by Starhawk

Circle round, and I’ll tell you a story…

Once there were two children, a sister and brother
named Brigit and Alex, who lived in a land where
winter brought deep snows and much cold. The children
loved to play in the snow, to make huge snowmen, and
dig tunnels in the high banks and have snowball
fights. But every year they waited eagerly for
Brigit’s holiday to come around, for they knew it
meant that the days would be getting longer and that
someday spring would come again.

One year, winter was especially harsh. Day after day,
clouds filled the sky and the snow piled up on the
streets. Night after night, a cold wind howled around
the corners of the houses and blew smoke back down
the chimneys.

Brigit and Alex grew very tired of staying in the
house, for on many days the air was too cold to play
outside for very long, even when they wore their
warmest jackets with wool sweaters underneath and
snowpants over their jeans and an extra pair of wool
socks in their boots and all the hoods and scarves
and mufflers they could put on. When they did go
outside, they were so bundled up they could only
waddle like penguins, and they were very tired of
making snowmen and snow forts.

“How long will winter last?” they asked their mother.

“Only the Goddess knows,” their mother said.

“Where can we find her to ask her?” Brigit asked.

Their mother smiled. “Light a candle on Brigit Eve,
look into the flame with an open heart, and wait. Who
knows, maybe she’ll come to you. After all, you are
named for her!”

So on Brigit Eve the two children lit a candle with
their mother’s help, placed it on the table, and
looked deep into the flame. After a while, the flame
seemed to grow and grow until it filled the whole
room with a glorious light, and a beautiful woman
appeared. Her hair was bright as living fire, her
face dark as old wood, her cloak golden as a sunbeam.

“I am Brigit of the Holy Well and Sacred Flame,” She
said, “Why have you called me, my children?”

“Oh, Brigit, I am named after you,” said the little
girl, “We called you to ask a question.”

“How long will winter last?” Alex asked.

“Winter will last until clean water rises in the
sacred well and bright flame burns on every hearth,”
the Goddess said, and then she disappeared.

“What does she mean?” the two children asked. They
went to their mother, but she could not say. They
asked their father, but he only winked and said,
“That’s the trouble with the Goddess – it’s hard to
get a straight answer from her.” So they went to bed
unsatisfied.

The next morning, they woke up early and decided that
they would go from house to house in their village
and see whether or not a good, warm fire was burning
on every hearth. And they would ask everyone if they
knew of a sacred well.

So they did. They bundled up in their warmest jackets
with wool sweaters underneath and snowpants over
their jeans and an extra pair of wool socks in their
boots and all the hoods and scarves and mufflers they
could put on, and went outside, waddling like
penguins. From house to house they went, all through
their village. On every hearth, a warm fire burned,
and while people were kind to them and offered them
good things to eat and warm things to drink, nobody
knew about any sacred well.

At last they had visited every house in the village.
The only one left was the cottage of Old Man Maddog,
which lay across the frozen fields on the very edge
of the forest. Nobody liked Old Man Maddog. He was
crusty and mean and didn’t appear to bathe very
often. And he was a stranger who had come from far
away. When children came near his cottage, he yelled
at them and shook his big walking stick. And when all
the other people in the village were working hard,
Old Man Maddog simply sat on his porch, rocking in
his old chair and smoking his pipe.

“Stay away from him,” parents told their children.
“He’s a foreigner. He’s lazy and dirty and probably
dangerous.” And the children stayed away.

But now, from the very edge of the village, Brigit
and Alex could just see the roof of Old Man Maddog’s
house. There was no smoke coming out of his chimney.

“Surely the Goddess couldn’t have meant that we were
supposed to light a fire on his hearth,” Alex said,
“I’m afraid of him.”

“He’ll probably yell at us and shake his stick,”
Brigit agreed. “But still, I think we should go see
if he has a fire.”

So they did, wading through the deep snow that
covered the fields so thickly they seemed to be
walking in a tunnel as high as their heads. At last
they came to Old Man Maddog’s house. The door was
closed, and there was no smoke coming out of the chimney.

“Maybe he’s not home,” Brigit said. “Maybe we should
just go away.”

“Let’s look in the window first,” Alex suggested.
They peered in the small glass window and saw Old Man
Maddog lying on his bed. There was no fire on his hearth.

“Maybe he’s sick,” Brigit said, “We’d better go in
and see.”

The door was not locked, so they entered the room. It
was cold as the cold air outside, and dirtier than
any room Brigit had ever seen. Old Man Maddog lay on
his bed, moaning and shivering with fever.

“We’ve got to help him,” Brigit said. She brought him
a drink of water, while Alex took an old blanket and
shook it outside and then covered the old man. They
ran out into the forest and gathered fallen wood
until they had a big pile. Then they lit a fire on
the hearth, and soon the entire room began to grow
warm. They found some potatoes and carrots and onions
in a bag and cooked up a nice, hot soup. While it was
simmering, they cleaned the house and swept the floor
and washed the dishes.

Finally, Old Man Maddog was warm enough to sit up and
drink some soup.

“Pesky children,” he said in a gruff voice, “I never
did like children. Still, I suppose I ought to thank
you.”

“That would be polite,” Brigit told him.

“But what we really want to know is whether you’ve
heard of any holy well around here,” Alex said.
“Holy well, jingle bell,” Old Man Maddog said, “I
don’t hold with your holy wells. The only well I know
of is that old fallen-in well in the woods, and it’s
all full of garbage.”

Brigit and Alex looked at each other. Garbage! That
didn’t sound very holy. But still, it was the only
well anyone had told them about all day.

“I guess we’d better go look for it,” Alex said.
“We’ll bring in some more wood before we go, and when
we get home, we’ll send our mother and father to take
care of you.”

“Don’t do me any favors,” said Old Man Maddog, but
they both felt he didn’t really mean it.”

Once again they bundled up in their warmest jackets
with wool sweaters underneath and snowpants over
their jeans and an extra pair of wool socks in their
boots and all the hoods and scarves and mufflers they
could put on, and went outside, waddling like
penguins. They went deep into the forest, following
the opening between the trees.

At last they came to a small clearing. In the center
was a ring of stones, all tumbled down and scattered.
They looked inside and saw nothing but a small puddle
of frozen mud, all choked with stones and leaves and
garbage.

“Could that be the holy well?” Brigit asked.

“It doesn’t look much like it,” Alex said, “but maybe
if we clear it out a bit, we’ll be able to see some
water.”

They began prying up the stones and pulling out big
lumps of things, which turned out to be cans and
bottles and old, rotting papers. Brigit took a big
stick to clear away the fallen leaves. Alex took off
his mittens and scooped out the mud. And soon clear
water began to rise through the mud.

“We can’t do much more,” Alex said. “It’s starting to
get dark. We’ll have to come back tomorrow, and bring
a shovel.”

“But at least we’ve begun,” Brigit said.

“You’ve done well,” a voice said from behind them.
They turned and saw the beautiful woman and hair
bright as flame and a face as dark as old wood.
“You’ve begun the work – and that is all that anyone
can do.”

“Is this your holy well?” Brigit asked the Goddess

“Yes, it is. A long time ago, the people of the
village tended my well carefully, keeping it clean
and dressing it with flowers in the spring. But now
they have forgotten the way here, just as they have
forgotten the law of kindness to strangers. Without
the warmth of loving kindness, how can the days grow
warm again? And when my clear springs are choked with
dirt, how can the rains of spring fall?”

“We’ll remind them,” Brigit promised. “We’ll bring
everyone out here to finish cleaning up the well.”

“And we’ll make sure to keep a warm fire burning on
Old Man Maddog’s hearth,” Alex added, “Even if he
isn’t a very nice man.”

The Goddess smiled. “Good. You have lit my fire and
cleaned my well. And now I will tell you a secret.
Inside the heart of every girl and boy is a holy
well, full of the waters of love and joy and new
ideas. This is the well you must keep clean, because
it can easily be choked by hatred and greed and
selfishness. And inside of you is also a fire you
must tend and feed and keep burning, so that you grow
to be strong and wise and brave. Will you do that?”

“We’ll do our best,” they promised.

“And now will spring come?” Brigit asked.

“Spring will come,” the Goddess promised, and she
winked at them. “Spring will come – as soon as winter
is over.”

And it did.

Copyright © 2017, Areolia Glück
This is copyrighted material. If you wish to share this information online in ANY form please make sure to share it INTACT and in its ENTIRETY with full credits given to the author(s), including a link to this website. To re-publish this material in any online or print media please request permission first. Thank you!
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