February 1, The Fires of Bride, Brigid, also called Candlemas
Once again, the best laid plans bow to the Weather Gods. A large snowstorm began in the afternoon, making the roads too slick to drive. However, the Celtic Goddess Bride, also called Brigid, or Brigantia, really wanted me to come out and play. Bride (pronounced Brid-ee) is the Goddess of Fire, and also Smithcraft, Poetry and Midwifery.
Last year, when the big ice storm at Winter Solstice shut down everything, a huge branch, about 40 feet long, broke off a maple tree under the weight of all the ice. It managed to get caught on our hydro wires, and shorted out the electricity to the house, which is witnessed by the two scorch marks on the bark. Shortly after this branch did its plunge to the wires, it seemed like the rest of Southwestern Ontario also lost power.
This branch was the last one we removed when we were clearing the wires to the house, and it was a race to get the icy branches off so that the Hydro crews who were working in the area could safely restore our power. (There were not enough workers to clear all the branches from all the wires in the county, and so we were told if we could clear it ourselves, they would turn the lights back on sooner.) Of course, we were told by Hydro One the power was really, really off. Which it obviously was, all over the county.
Even so, "unwiring" the part of our brains that said "don't ever touch hydro wires!!!" was really difficult. The Branch had hooked itself in two places over the two wires, like a big fork, tines pointing down. In the end we succeeded, sawing overhead on this last 40 ft long branch. When it parted, one half of the branch went one way, one half went the other, like something out of the game of Mousetrap. The wires waved up and down, free at last. The reward came an hour later, when the Hydro inspector came by and said "good job, we'll restore your power that evening".
So, now, of course, The Branch needed to become a part of a shrine to the Goddess of Fire, and her modern counterpart, the powerful Goddess of Electricity.
I made two banners with ancient Pictish symbols (the Picts predate the Celts in Scotland), and hung them near The Branch, which I'd buried before the ground froze up. The Branch was decorated with ribbons, and candles marked the four directions at its base. Just like when The Branch became an object of power, the weather picked up. Thankfully it was a dump of snow not ice. The fire was tended into the night, and I lit many candles, celebrating Candlemas.
The moonrise the next morning was beautiful.