February 2 is one of the Cross-Quarter days. Known as Imbolc, Candlemas, Lady Day, or by several other names, it’s a festival of Promise.

Though we are still held in winter’s frosty embrace, it’s becoming clear that we will, eventually, be released. The sun is climbing higher in the sky, and each day lasts a bit longer than the one before. The buds on the trees begin to swell. In their hollows and dens, the chipmunks and bears are turning restlessly in their long slumber. The streams and brooks break free of the ice, and the sound of laughing water is heard once again. There is a stirring and quickening over the land.

Spring is really coming back to us!

So we celebrate, with lights and music and quickening seed and running water, to show the infant Spring the first steps on the holy and ancient path of Renewal.

This is a time to rejoice in promise; to foster renewal in our own lives and hearts, and in the world around us. The old has passed away. As co-creators of the Universe, the new world will become whatever we make it.

In the Wiccan tradition that I am part of, we show this by holding seeds in our hands, and filling them with our intentions for the new growth we want to find in our own lives by focusing on them with love and will. We can voice these intentions aloud, in a Circle, or silently in our own minds and hearts.

Then we plant them, and water them gently, with joy and laughter, knowing that as they sprout, our intentions will be fulfilled, (Which, of course, also reminds us to nourish and strengthen our intentions. After all, like the seeds, if we neglect our intentions, not much is likely to come of them.)

We also have running water in the circle, if it can be managed. (Table top fountains are very popular for this.) And candles, of course, which is where the holiday gets one of its names.

On this day, when Promise and Renewal fill the Universe, the things we bless will be imbued with those qualities in a measure not possible on any other day.

So we bless all the candles we expect to use in the coming year, so that, as they burn, the qualities of this time = light, joy, hope, rebirth, and the tumbling laughter of release - will pour out of them, to work in the world.

And we feast, and make merry, as we always do. For, after all, the whole point of this religion is to increase the joy, healing, and love in ourselves and in the world around us.

Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again!