The Leo Full Moon, Candlemas and the Magic of February

China tea, the scent of hyacinths, wood fires and bowls of violets – this is my mental picture of an agreeable February afternoon. –Constance Spry

February has a disagreeable reputation, especially here in the North East where it is often cold, wet and extremely windy. Many people flee to warmer climates or stoically endure. Personally, I love the dark, winter days and long nights; I revel in the quiet and the calm that comes with gently falling snow and the opportunity to turn inward. It is a time for deep thoughts, great novels, rich conversations, for planting seeds and small pleasures. This month is like a sanctuary for it offers us a refuge from the busy world and a time to process and prepare.

February is the second month of the Gregorian calendar and the year’s shortest month. The month itself is named for Februa, an ancient festival of purification. February is traditionally a good time for foretelling the future and purifying oneself. –Llewellyn’s 2005 Witches Spell-A-Day Almanac
February 2nd is Candlemas

February is the season of Brigid. Light white candles to invoke the spirit of Brigid and invite her to bless and enhance your creative projects. “Brigid of the forge / forge for me / new creativity / light and growth aids us both.” –Llewellyn’s 2005 Almanac

Candlemas is the midpoint between winter solstice and spring Equinox. The Celts called this festival Imbolc and it was dedicated to Brigid, the ancient Celtic goddess of water and fire, the holy well and the sacred flame. She presided over smith craft, poetry, pets, and healing. The Christian Church turned the pagan goddess Brigid into St. Brigid and Imbolc became Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, in which candles are lit at midnight to honor the Virgin Mary. In mythology, Ceres, goddess of fertility and mother of Persephone, is said to have searched Hades by candlelight for her daughter signifying the beginning of the journey back to spring and rebirth. Omens were taken on Candlemas for the new growing season and animals were said to leave their hibernation of offer predictions for the end of winter – which is the origin of Ground Hog Day.

Leo Full Moon – February 3

The Sun is in freedom-loving Aquarius, the sign of the rebel and the reformer. The Moon is in creative and colorful Leo, the sign of the artist and performer. Intellectual Aquarius is cool and detached; it is associated with group consciousness, community and the future. Emotional Leo is personal and passionate; its focus is the here and now. Both signs have to do with courage; the dispassionate Aquarius Sun asks us to defend our beliefs; the dramatic Leo Moon invites us to listen to our feelings and follow our fire. Emerging from the chrysalis of winter, this lush Full Moon initiates a cycle of creative self-expression.

Uranus and Pluto, those two mega planets that have been dominating our lives since 2012, are moving towards their seventh and final square on March 16. The pressure is building; change is stirring – on the world stage an in our own psyches. Uranus, the modern ruler of Aquarius, makes a positive trine to the Moon and expansive Jupiter in Leo bringing a wave of optimism and the possibility of collaboration. Creative potential is strong right now; use the energy of this Full Moon to revive your projects, plans and buried dreams. “Our creative dreams and yearning come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.” –Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way)

Mercury remains retrograde until February 11, but mental Mercury is in brilliant Aquarius; this placement can help us cut through the fog and bring fresh insights to long standing problems and old patterns. Mercury and Saturn are working together, allowing us to integrate new and original ideas. Neptune, Venus, Chiron and Mars are all in caring and compassionate Pisces adding empathy to this dynamic mix, helping us to release prejudices that impede us from being who we truly are and to recognize our interconnectedness. “Let pride dissolve in the waters of compassion while moving from fields of competition to webs of cooperation.”

The Magic of February

February doesn’t possess the shiny newness of January with its ambitious goals and big plans nor does it have the promise of March which advertises spring flowers and sunshine. But this private and deeply personal month has cherished gifts for those who are willing to get to know it. Today the world moves extremely fast; speed is valued over depth, information over knowledge. February teaches us patience, faith and the importance of waiting. One must slowdown in winter in order to appreciate the subtleties; the pale winter sun in a watery blue sky; the gentle sound of animals rustling through a snowy meadow; the scent of pine and cedar in the hearth; winter is a listening time, a learning time.

“The beauty of nature insists on taking its time. Everything is prepared. Nothing is rushed. The rhythm of emergence is a gradual slow beat always inching its way forward; change remains faithful to itself until the new unfolds in the full confidence of true arrival. Because nothing is abrupt, the beginning of spring nearly always catches us unawares. It is there before we see it; and then we can look nowhere without seeing it.” –John O’/Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us)

I said to my soul be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love for the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all is the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the
dancing. -T. S. Eliot (Four Quartets)