The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi


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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Today is Candlemas, a station of fire on the wheel of the year which marks the equidistant point between winter and spring solstices. Our pagan antecedents would have gathered today, and exchanged candles of beeswax to mark the occasion. The entire month of February is named for a Roman feast held on or near the 15th, called Februa, a purification ritual.

The pre Christian Irish called this time of the year “faoilleach”, the wolf month.

In modern times, it’s mainly known as “groundhog day“.

from wikipedia

The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, which falls on 2 February, celebrates an early episode in the life of Jesus. In the Eastern Orthodox Church and some Eastern Catholic Churches, it is one of the twelve Great Feasts, and is sometimes called Hypapante (lit., ‘Meeting’ in Greek). Other traditional names include Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At least three thousand years of tradition say that today is a good day to cleanse the body and home, and tradition states that your Christmas decorations must be torn away by tonight or death will come to your house. Additionally, one is expected to eat pancakes.

Farmers begin turning the soil today, and their wives are expected to put baked goods on the windowsill as an offering to the fertility goddess Brigid (later latinized as St. Brigid).

Our Lady of the Pentacle and your humble narrator look forward to evening pancakes. It has been too long.

from wikipedia

Imbolc (also Imbolg), or St Brigid’s Day (Scots Gaelic Là Fhèill Brìghde, Irish Lá Fhéile Bríde, the feast day of St. Brigid), is a Celtic festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is celebrated on 1 or 2 February (or 12 February, according to the Old Calendar) in the northern hemisphere and 1 August in the southern hemisphere. These dates fall approximately halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

The festival was observed in Gaelic Ireland during the Middle Ages. Reference to Imbolc is made in Irish mythology, in the Tochmarc Emire of the Ulster Cycle. Imbolc was one of the four cross-quarter days referred to in Irish mythology, the others being Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. It has been suggested that it was originally a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brigid, who should not be confused with St Brigit of Kildare.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the fictional clade of H.P. Lovecraft’s mythos, Candlemas is a day oft mentioned, and is most prominently the birthday of both Wilbur Whately and his twin brother. The brother had no name, but was said to resemble their father more strongly than Wilbur.


It was in the township of Dunwich, in a large and partly inhabited farmhouse set against a hillside four miles from the village and a mile and a half from any other dwelling, that Wilbur Whateley was born at 5 A.M. on Sunday, the second of February, 1913. This date was recalled because it was Candlemas, which people in Dunwich curiously observe under another name; and because the noises in the hills had sounded, and all the dogs of the countryside had barked persistently, throughout the night before.

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