The festival of Imbolc, or Bride, is celebrated by Pagans, and also by christians who call it Candlemass. Imbolc is Irish-Gaelic and translates variously as 'in the belly' or 'ewe's milk'. It represents the quickening of light and life.
The first stirrings of spring can be seen with the appearance of such plants as snowdrops and winter aconite. Seeds that have lain dormant underground also begin to stir, unseen as yet. At Imbolc we celebrate the waking of the light within the soul. Our spirits begin to rise as we anticipate the the rebirth of nature. In Wicca, this is the traditional time for initiations. Now is the time for banishing winter and welcoming spring. We welcome the Goddess who is renewed as the Maiden.
Bride, or Brigid, is a three-fold Celtic Goddess who has been christianised as St. Brigid, who's day is February 1st. St. Brigid's cross is made from straw and rushes and dates back before christian times, representing the Sun Wheel, or Fire Wheel. It may also be linked to an ancient ceremony connected with the preparation of grain for sowing in the spring. It is often believed that the spirit of the grain, the Goddess herself, resides in the last grain harvested. This las harvested grain was brought into the house at Imbolc, blessed, and planted as the first seed of the next harvest.
The young God is now growing in strength and is now a conquering child.
What was born at Yule begins to manifest and it's the time for initial independance. We each light our own light and set ourselves tasks and challenges. We examine our potential and begin to look outwards to apply it.
Although the days are gradually getting longer, we are stil in the dark half of the year, until Beltane. This is the time to develop non-physical skills, meditation, power of the mind.
Jack Frost & The Hooded Crow