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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Crown of Light

The crown of candles sits on the table by the door. I see it every time that I come into the house.

On Bridey's Eve, it graced a sacred head. The tall white candles bathed her in warm light, the leaves of its wreath crisply green against the white of her veil. 

That was thirteen nights gone. Now the brittle leaves crumble as I unwrap the gold ribbon that holds them to the crown. The ribbon goes back onto its spool; the leaves I will strew in the snowy garden, to nourish another harvest.

The candles, half-burned, go into the chandelier in the temple, where they will light our next rite.

The crown, denuded, returns to its peg in temple storage, to await the coming of another February.

More than 300 years ago, Robert Herrick wrote in his poem "Candlemas Eve":

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Beautiful, Steven, as always. Linking on FB.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Much Ground Would a Groundhog Hog...

Winter's halfway over. In my book, that means: holiday.

Whatever you call it.

Imbolc (various spellings).What, you didn't grow up speaking Irish?

Despite what you've heard, Imbolc probably doesn't mean “In the Belly” (which, when you think about it, is a pretty stupid name for a holiday anyway). What does it mean then?

Nobody knows. Possibly it's a pre-Keltic name. Anyway, it's exotic (pagans like that) and really, really old.

Oimelc (various spellings). What, you didn't grow up speaking Scots Gaelic?

Despite what you've heard, Oimelc probably doesn't mean “Ewe's Milk.” Yes, it's lambing time, and yes, our much-diminished larders are (gratefully) being replenished by a welcome freshet of new milk right now. But “Ewe's Milk” is probably best regarded as folk etymology.

What does it mean then?

Nobody knows. Possibly it's a pre-Keltic name. Anyway, it's exotic (pagans like that) and really, really old.

Candlemas. This is how they name the holiday in Cowan. (That telltale -mas on the end gives it away every time.) Some Old Craft purists, who wouldn't be caught dead using a neo-peg name like Imbolc or Oimelc, still call it this: a habit of protective coloration left over from the Bad Old Days, I guess.

Well, la-de-da-da.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Around here we tend to present the children to the Master at Grand Sabbat. Just like the witch-hunters said we did. "Suffer the
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Presentation at a temple huh. Okay, so the pagan version of Groundhog day would be presenting children 11 and under to the gods,
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    I like this. Magic is not complicated. Ritual doesn't need to be either. Name it what you want, and just celebrate. Life is short
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    What exactly is Candlemas supposed to be about? It sounds like someone is blessing candles. Chapter 4 of "Christianity the origi
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    My understanding (I'm certainly no expert on the various Christianities) is that "Candlemas" is an English folk-name for the feast

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