Thursday, February 2, 2017

What do Groundhog Day, Candlemas and Imbolc have in common?~~

Hello Everyone,

Well that's a question that I'm putting to you, what do Groundhog Day, Candlemas, Imbolc and even St. Blaise Day have in common?

They are in essence celebrated on the same or with in a day or two of each other for the same reason, the pre-welcoming of Spring.

 Today Feb 2 is a 4 times important day for anyone who does ‘the work”.

In its more mundane aspect it’s “Groundhog Day”, that’s where Punxsutawney Phil, the famous Pennsylvania groundhog that can supposedly forecast when the North American winter will end.

As legend has it, if this not so little rodent sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, frigid and blustery weather will continue for six weeks. If it is cloudy and no shadow appears, the onset of spring is near.

However this year Phil dashed everyone’s hopes for an early spring on when he emerged from his tree stump and saw his shadow. And that is according to the Reuters news-feed.

Spiritually this is also known as St. Blaise (pronounced Blaze) Day Although it’s actually celebrated on Feb 3rd. According to the Acts, while Blaise was being taken into custody, a distraught mother, whose only child was choking on a fishbone, threw herself at his feet and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, he offered up his prayers, and the child was cured. Consequently, Saint Blaise is invoked for protection against injuries and illnesses of the throat.

In many places on the day of his feast the blessing of St. Blaise is given: two burning candles, blessed on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord ("candlemas"), are held in a crossed position by a priest over the heads of the faithful or the people are touched on the throat with them. At the same time the following blessing is given: "May Almighty God at the intercession of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, preserve you from infections of the throat and from all other afflictions". Then the priest makes the sign of the cross over the faithful.

Candlemas in the Catholic Church, is also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus, is a Christian holiday commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It falls on February 2, which is traditionally the 40th day of the Christmas-Epiphany season. While it is customary for Christians in some countries to remove their Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), those in other Christian countries historically remove them on Candlemas. On Candlemas, many Christians (especially Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, Orthodox and Roman Catholics) also bring their candles to their local church, where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year.

Special candles are brought along to the blessing by the worshippers. These are often very elaborate and are highly treasured. Afterwards they are taken home and kept to be lighted at times of stress – during storms, in sickrooms and at the bedside of the dying.  According to some sources, Christians began Candlemas in Jerusalem as early as the fourth century, the candle lighting procession started in the fifth century.

Friedrich Justus  Knecht,  in his book  A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture (Published 1910)  states. "We keep a feast on the 2nd of February, forty days after Christmas, in memory of our Lord's Presentation in the Temple. This feast has several names. First, it is known as the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus. Secondly, it is called the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But the usual and popular name for this Feast is Candlemas-day, because on this day candles are blessed before Mass, and there takes place a procession with lighted candles. Candles are blessed and lighted on this particular feast."

  Niall Edworthy, in his book The Curious World of Christmas.  Stated "The time-honored epoch for taking down Christmas decorations from Church and house on Candlemas Day, February 2nd. Terribly withered they are by that time. Candlemas in old times represented the end of the Christmas holidays, which, when "fine old leisure" reigned, were far longer than they are now."

Steve Roud, in his book, The English Year, confirmed this tradition "….. in the mid seventeenth century Christmas decorations were expected to stay in place until Candlemas (2 February), and this remained the norm until the nineteenth century."      

But although we’d have all of the Christmas decorations taken down well before Feb. 2, Granny insisted that the Manger Scene be left up until Feb. 2 and then taken down and packed away after we came back from church.    Even I do it now although it sometimes frustrates my Niece but I tell her that it’s easy to pack away so relax.

Most folks try to have their decorations down by Martin Luther King, jr. Day,  by that time they will have recovered from the Holiday Season, in time to enjoy the Super Bowl Football game.

But these Feasts and celebrations are far older than the 4th century.

The ancient Romans celebrated the Lupercalia in mid-February, in honor of Lupercus, the god of fertility and shepherds. The celebration of Feralia occurred at the same time.  It was the custom of the Vestal Virgins during Lupercalia, to be offering cakes made with wheat from the old crop so that the following crop would be good.

The custom of making pancakes or crepes is similar to the Vestal virgin cakes in the celebration of Imbolc which is on the first of February. This was in honor of the goddess Brigid and was associated with purification and fertility at the end of winter. Peasants would carry torches and cross the fields in procession, praying to the goddess to purify the ground before planting.  Crêpes or Pancakes with their round form and their golden color are reminiscent of the sun, an appropriate symbol during Candlemas, as this is the time of the year when the days get longer. It is also the time of year when the winter seeds begin to grow. The people therefore used left-over flour to make these crêpes, symbolizing prosperity for the coming year.

This is carried over into countries such as France and Belgium.

I could go on and on about this as there are many “Fire” or Candle or torch legends especially surrounding the Month of February such as the Demeter hunting and finding her daughter Persephone and with that the return of warmth to the earth and spring.

The word February comes from the Latin verb februare which means "purification". Christianity has therefore placed the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin at this time. The purification in question is the departure of the "winter darkness". The myths of Sleeping Beauty or Theseus and Ariadne (for example) relate to the release or liberation of the light (Dawn of the year) by the "solar knight"

In Puerto Rico this festivity officially finalizes the end of Christmas for Catholics, the festivities include a procession where the statue of the "Virgen de la Candelaria" is carried on the shoulders. Others follow with lit candles until they reach a church where a Mass is celebrated. In the evening the festivities continue with a giant bonfire and singing.

In Mexico it is traditional to celebrate the presentation of the Christ child in the temple on February 2. The dressing and adoration of the child Jesus and family meals with tamales are an important Mexican tradition.

But in the United States and Canada it has mostly been replaced by Groundhog Day.

No matter what it is called it is a festival of light or a fire festival, and a Festival of Purification.

Granny and her Ladies would go to church for the blessing of the throats, but they’d also would lay in a huge supply of candles for their spiritual use but all of them would take one candle (when the churches use to do it) and have it blessed by a priest, and from that candle they would light their own sanctuary “lamps” or Candles for their altars to make sure that whatever energy (mostly positive ) was sent out it would always remain.

Also and I remember this as a child and I still do it today as an adult, we would bathe in a purifying bath or shower, with hyssop herbs in a muslin bag and pray Psalm 51 lines 7 to 12:

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

After that we would start an early Spring Cleaning of the house, the garage, the shed anything that could be done inside out of the rain, and I mean cleaning, things that haven’t be used or worn in ages but still usable were donated, closets emptied and clothing sorted, (it was hard to get some of the men to surrender their favorite old T-shirts) bed’s striped, mattresses flipped, furniture pulled away from walls and dusted and vacuumed, base boards (if painted) washed down.

And then all the wards and shields would be reactivated and renewed.  

Now I’m not saying the Granny was a Wiccan, she wasn’t, it just made very good sense to do all of that because then the house became lighter in energy, cleaner in spirit and more protected than before.

Now this could not be done in one day, no, but February 2nd  Candlemas, St. Blaise, Imbolc, Groundhog Day whatever you wanted to call it, it signaled to clean things from Attic to basement and that was also squeezing in doing the income taxes and paying the property taxes as well.

So we started by cleansing our bodies and souls, and then our living environment.   And all to welcome Spring and the earth warming up as well as re-setting our protections.  

If more folks got back into that habit they would clear out a lot of clutter in their lives, and find a lot of weight lifted from their shoulders.

Bright Blessings,
Ms. Q


  1. Can you contact me? I have specific questions on how to rid a workplace/business of negative energies..but I have to be careful in what I use and how I do it, because it is a public place. Let me know if you are willing to answer my questions and offer advice, and I will send you my contact information...

    1. Dear Erin,

      I'd be more than happy to answer your questions.

      But I never e-mail anyone any more, due to privacy issues as well as preventing my computer from catching a virus.

      That happened to my old computer, rendering it useless.

      But if you post your questions in the comment section to this post I'll be happy to help you.

      Before I retired I had to do the same thing, so there are some remedies, but it helps to know exactly what it is that you sense.

      Bright Blessings,
      Ms. Q

  2. I'll try to keep a long story short. I work at a bar that has been in business for 32 years. It was a new build in 1985, and since then it has been remodeled and added on to. It is currently in the style of a sports bar...several TV's, gaming machines, dart boards etc. Hours of operation are from 11am until 2am, monday through sunday. I have worked here now for 6 months. My shift is in the evenings, with closing time being 2am., which requires me to be in the building alone for an additional hour. At first, whatever is in there, was subtle, yet made sure that I was aware. Knocking things over, things falling off of bottom shelves in the kitchen, shadows and blobs. Those things don't happen as much anymore, but there is an immense amount of negativity. The ambiance is clean, warm, and somewhat inviting. Its the kind of place that you either love it or hate it. Im not a negative person by nature, but this place will put me in a negative mood. Just being in the building, even when Im off the clock. I catch myself saying things I wouldnt normally say when I am there. Customers have expressed that they have the same problem when they are there, and its not just the liquor talking. Tons of drama and animosity between employees, customers and employees, etc. Which is weird, because deep down we all really like each other. Iv considered sage cleansing, but the air flow may not be enough to evacuate the smell or the energy. The maintenance guy shows up at about 4:30am...and black salt can be unpredictable. We have a lunch, happy hour, and evening patrons. There are no comparable businesses in the immediate area that offer the kind of space and amenities, including a full bar and menu. But sales overall have been down for at least a year or two that I am aware of, and the economy in the area is the best its been in 10 years. Several people have said that they love going there, but it just instantly puts them in a bad mood, so they don't stay long. What can I use instead of the methods mentioned? I certainly don't want to make things worse, I just want to make it better so people will come back, and to make it a fun place to be.

    1. Dear Erin,

      I think you may need to talk to the owner/manager of the place, there may be two different things happening in the place but the question is which one because not only is its energy off, it also might be haunted by a negative entity that has taken up residence in the place.

      You say that the place was built in 1985, but it has been remodeled several times, the question is what was there before the Bar was built, and did anything bad happen in that area? Now that is what I’d ask if it might be haunted.

      But the other thing is that is has successfully operated for 30 years before things took a down turn, that tells me something has displaced the proper energy flow, and it is going to take more than sage or sage water to bring it back up to par.

      You also say it’s been remodeled several times and lately it’s in the style of a Sports Bar, now sales have been off for nearly two years, did this start after it was remodeled into a Sports Bar?

      If so then the Fung Shui or energy flow of the place has been completely thrown off into a negative pattern. This can attract negative spirits as well as causing folks to become uncomfortable and I’m putting that mildly.

      What you need is someone who is an expert in Fung Shui to tell the owner what is needed to be done to correct this, it could be the placement of the gaming devices or T.V.s, the arrangement of the seating, even the colors on the walls.

      Some things may have to be added to re-direct the energy, a water device or a mirror, plants or crystals, just something.

      But only a Fung Shui expert can tell you this and I have no idea how much they charge, but talk to your boss, it certainly can’t hurt if your boss has sensed this as well.

      I mean look at Chinese restaurants they are pretty successful, why? Because they design their layout with Fung Shui, and I have never felt any negative energy in a Chinese place of business.

      That’s why I’m beginning to feel that it’s more of an energy flow problem as oppose to a haunting.

      Talk to your Boss and hopefully the Fung Shui expert can help your place of business and lighten the energy to get customers to stay longer and spend more.

      Bright Blessings,
      Ms. Q

  3. So, what can I do to keep the "blobs" at bay?

    1. Dear Erin,

      “Blobs”, I sort of like that description, if you can you can make sage water, and when you’re wiping things up spray that to clear out the negativity or at least keep it at bay, but do get your boss or the manager to consider a fung shui consultant.

      Making sage water is easy you can do it at home and it’s a good substitution for burning sage. What you do is get a bunch of fresh safe from your local grocery store, as well as a bottle of spring water, such as Arrowhead.

      In a non-metal pan (like corning wear) put the sage into the water and boil it for at least 9 minutes, allow it to cool, add a few drops of Florida water or church blessed holy water, then strain the water through several layers of cheese cloth, into another bowl, say the 23 psalm over it making the sign of the cross.

      Then put it into a spray bottle, spray the water and wipe down with a clean cloth the bar, the tables, around the door ways as if you were cleaning dust. It’s easier than burning sage and should have the same effect.

      It is only a stop-gap measure, another thing is to put a green plant like bamboo near the front door if possible, but I strongly advise that your manager or boss consult with a Fung Shui expert, you may be able to find one in your area if you search on the internet under Fung Shui Consultants and see what their ratings are.

      It would be worth the cost and effort, I cannot stress this enough, but I think once it’s done everyone will feel good, and business will improve.

      Another thing is to consider “contamination” by electrical currents, if you have read how people are adversely affected by high power lines, it’s possible that with all the T.V. screens and the wiring that somehow a ‘negative’ Faraday cage was created inadvertently, and it’s energy can subtly work on people in a negative fashion, creating fear and anger responses making people feel uncomfortable.

      An electrician who is an expert on that could determine that, and develop a shielding that could cut down on that.

      I know that was happening where I worked, it wasn’t until we had an electrical problem that the electrician notice that effect and did work to correct it, things cleared up afterward and the atmosphere improved.

      Try that first to see if its electrical contamination, then try the Fung Shui expert, in the meantime do the Sage Water.

      Good Luck and keep at it with your Boss, especially if you want business to improve.

      Bright Blessings,
      Ms. Q