The Southern Illinois Pagan Alliance (SIPA) will host its first public ritual of the New Year and the new decade with Imbolc, on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Gaia House Interfaith Center in Carbondale, located at 913 South Illinois Avenue at the intersection of Grand Avenue across from Southern Illinois University.

Imbolc is the midwinter festival honoring Brigid, who among other things, is the goddess of fire, poetry, healing, childbirth and unity.

Imbolc is the celebration of the returning light and the first stirrings of spring such as early-budding leaves and the sprouting of crocus flowers. During the festival, candles are lit to symbolize the returning sun. The Christianized version of Imbolc is known as Candlemas.

Participants are asked to bring a red candle, either new or from past SIPA rituals. The gathering starts at 6 p.m. with the ritual to follow at 7 p.m. A potluck will follow. Attendees are asked to bring what they can to share and visit the SIPA Facebook Imbolc event page for hints and suggestions.

As always, SIPA rituals are free and open to the public. All are welcome. Donations to Gaia House Interfaith Center are appreciated.

For more information contact Tara Nelsen by phone at 618-924-0263 or by email at: taracatgirl@yahoo.com. For more information about SIPA, visit http://www.sipagan.com.

For more information about Gaia House visit http://www.gaiahouse.net.

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