January 31 – February 6, 2019: Four of Swords

Sundown this Friday, February 1st, marks the start of Imbolc, a Sabbat knowns as Brigid’s Day that lasts through February 2nd. This is precisely the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The harsh, cold winter is starting to give way. The sun sets just a bit later every day.

This is the time to welcome the Celtic Fire Goddess Brigid with a festival to honor the maiden. Imbolc festivals always involve fire ceremonies, and lots of candles.

The maiden is key in Pagan tradition. The triple goddess symbol shows the phases of the moon and also represents phases of life: the child, the maiden and the crone. Imbolc means “ewe’s milk” and also “in the belly of the mother.” At this time of year, the seeds for Spring are sitting in the womb of mother earth, waiting to pop up through the icy ground. This is a time for rebirth, renewal and preparation for the future.

I’m new to learning about Paganism, I was raised Roman Catholic. I am always fascinated by the ways that Christianity uses Pagan traditions. In the church, February 1st is St. Brigit’s Day and February 2nd is Candlemas, when the candles are blessed for ceremonies throughout the year. The Feast of the Virgin Mary is also this time of year; Mary was a maiden, a mother. Pagan tradition involves making Brigid’s Cross out of wheat stalks, which are similar to the crosses made from palms on Palm Sunday, coming up a little bit later in the Spring for Christians.

Today, there are lots of ways you can honor Brigid. You can have a bonfire or light a candle in each room of the house. Sweeping and clearing the dust from the home is customary. Out with the old and in with the new. Cleaning of anysort is a good way to celebrate, even cleansing the body by taking a nice herbal bath.

Decorate your altar or your mantel with signs of early spring like tulips, daffodils, feathers, or anything green and fresh. Of course food is very important, as with any holiday. You can make a nice meal with seasonal items like root vegetables, seeds, hearty starches. Dairy products are also associated with Imboc (I mentioned the “ewe’s milk” earlier). Yogurt, custard, creamy soups or sauces. I personally like dairy, so I plan to make a vegan “cheesy” cauliflower potato soup (here’s the recipe) and maybe some fresh baked bread or warm cinnamon rolls.

I pulled a tarot card, looking for some advice on the week ahead, and up came the Four of Swords. Here, we have a knight resting on an altar, over a sword. When I see this card, I always think of the idiom, “just sleep on it.” Reflect, rejuvenate yourself, rest as much as possible this week. You have a lot to do, and the sword below the knight suggests there is one particular point or situation, where turning off your brain will be beneficial. The three swords above the knight, pointing down means that other things can wait. Hang up your weapons, put down your shield, and take care of yourself. The knight’s hands are in prayer, which means meditate, pray, whatever you want to call it – just clear your mind. This is great for Imbolc weekend!

As you start the work week on Monday, there is a new moon in Aquarius. New moons are a good time to manifest what you want. I just started a new job, so I’ll be performing my own manifestation ritual to focus on letting go of the old version of myself and expanding into my highest potential during this moon phase. You can make moon water for spells and rituals by placing a bowl of salt water outside or by a window where moonlight will reach the bowl. Then, you might have to defrost the water depending on where you live, but it can be used in sprays, baths, gardens, etc. Anywhere you want to spread some magic.

The new moon in Aquarius might have you feeling a little bit lonely. I think that some alone time to recharge your batteries will be needed over the weekend, but don’t carry that reclusivity with you through the week. Brainstorm with people, ask for input, collaborate on problems, reach out to people in your social circle. Open yourself to new experiences. It will be good to think outside of the box this week. Stir the pot, so to speak.

Here are some excellent articles that I read for this blog:

 

November 29 – December 5, 2018: The Hermit

The Hermit is a wise old man that has retreated into the wintery mountains for a bit of solace and reflection. He carries a glowing star inside of lantern, barely lighting his way. This card comes when you need to trust that the steps you are taking have you going in the right direction. Not everything is going to be revealed to you at once.

What’s going on this week?

Friday, November 30 is the Festival of Hecate Trivia, the goddess of the cross roads. She is often depicted facing three ways and holding torches, so that she can see in all directions. The three sides of Hecate also represent her powers working in threes: birth, change, death; past, present, future; etc. Shakespeare called her the “Queen of Ghosts,” and she is the keeper of the underworld. She is worshipped during Winter, when everything is dormant, the year is ending, and it’s time for personal reflection. I think that Hecate and the Hermit would be great friends!

On Saturday, December 1, Mercury retrograde enters Scorpio. If you are negotiating any new business partnerships, making investments, or spending some savings, it would be wise to wait until Mercury does back into direct motion on Thursday, December 6, if possible. On Sunday, Venus also enters Scorpio which will activate very passionate emotions like ambition or jealousy. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

If you find yourself at a crossroad this week, leave an offering for the Goddess Hecate and kindly ask her to grant your wish. Trust that the road where she shines her torch might not be completely illuminated, but like the Hermit, trust that it’s the right path. Indulge in some alone time. Winter is in full effect here in Rhode Island, so I’ll be cooking up some comfort food and sitting by the fire. Stay cozy my friends!

 

Check out my sources:

http://www.maicar.com/GML/Hecate.html

http://www.witchology.com/contents/november/hecate/

https://associationofparanormalstudy.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/the-festival-of-hecate-trivia/

https://cafeastrology.com/astrologyof2018horoscopes.html