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Putting Imbolc Energy Into St Valentine's Day.

So, what do you do for St Valentine's Day?

Me neither!

I've had the occasional romantic and thoughtfully original Valentine's gesture, and that's pleased me enormously. But is there really much thought put into a Hallmark Card and a box of Milk Tray? Does it make us feel good to give something so 'cheap'? Does it make us feel valued and loved to receive it?

The history surrounding our celebration of St Valentine's Day is quite unclear. There were a few notable Valentines in 3rd and 4th century. One of whom secretly performed marriage ceremonies for Roman soldiers, when marriage was supposedly banned for them. It's suggested he was buried on 14th February (Yup, like Christ was born on 25th December!) From none of the other early stories of 'Valentine', are there any links to marriage or romance, or 14th February.

There are few other suggestions of why the actual date of 14th February should be so important, and various dates have been used over the years, but it is now fixed in our calendars very probably because it coincides with the coming of spring, and THIS is the event we actually feel a need to celebrate.

As with so many of our current day celebrations occurring around the same time as a pagan, or nature based, point in our calendar, Valentine's Day falls pretty near to Imbolc.

The pagan celebration of Imbolc honours the 'quickening' of the year, the welcoming of warmer, longer days, lambing and ewe's milk; the stirring of new life. It is thought the original word was 'Imbolg', meaning 'in the belly', but others say the word 'Oimelc', or ewe's milk, may be closer to the origin. Either way, they both embrace renewal and promise. Evidence of this honouring goes back into Irish neolithic times, and is an honouring of life itself!
No saint, god or goddess required.

But don't we like to focus our energies, hopes, and moans towards another, rather than ourselves? (means we can put the blame elsewhere when things go wrong!)
    Welcome to Brighid.
       She's my kind of goddess.

"The triple goddess of the forge, firing the world with passion. The poetess, blessing the world with inspiration. And healer, touching the world with her heart." (Words from a friend.)
Brighid is the goddess of inspiration and craft, and a midwife of healing, birth and fertility . She honours the quickening deep in the earth, woods, and our fertile bellies.
No wonder folk would light a sacred fire for her, or leave clothes out of an open window for her to bless the backs they covered. Brighid wheels or crosses were made and hung above doors as a welcome into the hearth, to bring blessings, to purify and invigorate the coming season. Brighid was so blessed and worshiped in Pagan times, that Christianity followed and 'adopted' her as a saint. She is worshiped in all manner of festivities and religions.
And no wonder St Valentine's Day falls when Brighid is at her most powerful. She holds the key to new beginnings and fertility, to a setting of intent, brings the thrill of promise when the earth is only just wakening.

Life is sweet, and so very short. If I'm old, let me play at being teenage. Let me use this excuse to love, to practice and remember the excitement of new beginnings, and the quickening of hearts and bellies. Let me light the sacred fire and give blessings, and take a moment to think beyond this commercial trash.
It isn't silly, and it isn't frivolous. It is surely a most precious gift.

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