Candlemas and Imbolc are no longer options for me to celebrate since I started on this path of combining the wisdom of my Saami and Norse ancestors. I have to find alternatives that honour both lineages while staying true to myself.
What we are actually celebrating during Imbolc, which some celebrate on the 1st and some on the 2nd of February (and some on both days!), is the return of the light of the sun. I think that is something we can all agree on and you don't have to be religious to have a day of feasting in honour of the return of the sun's warming light.
The tradition of lighting candles and decorating my home with flowers in all the colours of fire/the sun (red, orange, yellow) is something I still feel is appropriate but my altar will be to Sunna-Beaivi rather than St Brigid this year. Sunna is the Old Norse for the sun and Beaivi is Saami for the same. In both traditions, the solar deity is female.
On my altar there will also be items dedicated/offered to the Norse deities associated with the return of the light, as well as with the fertility of the land. I'm thinking first and foremost of the two solar twins, Fröj (Frey) and Freja (Freya/Freyja) but also of Balder (son of Freja/Frigg and Odin) for rebirth and regeneration. Apropos Balder, there is supposed to be an earthworks showing where there used to be temple to him in or near the village where I live but I have yet to locate it!
In the Saami tradition, the sun is found at the centre of most of the old noaidi (shaman) drums that managed to escape during the persecution of my ancestors. The sun is represented by the solar cross you see in the image above. My Saami ancestors viewed Beaivi as the source of all life and wellbeing. We don't have to think long and hard to realise how true that is. Without Beaivi, there would be no life on this planet and our immune system is completely dependent on getting enough vitamin D (synthesised in our bodies by the sun), throughout our entire lives.
However, it is just not the body ('likr' in Old Norse) that is dependent on the radiance of Sunna-Beaivi. Our spiritual and emotional wellbeing comes from Her as well. Her intelligence has the power to elevate our mood and fill us with a sense of purpose/direction. When a person is feeling as if they have lost their purpose and the will to do anything with their lives, it is the energy of Sunna-Beaivi they are short on.
Amber and gold (both associated with Freja) carry the energy of Sunna-Beaivi, so they make appropriate items to wear or place on the altar today and tomorrow. Traditional Imbolc offerings of milk (or cream, butter etc) and honey also feel right for the occasion. Falcon feathers, associated with the Falcon cloak of Freja belong on the altar, of course.
Are you celebrating? If so on which of the two days (or both)... and how?
Blessings of Sunna-Beaivi!
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