All the while the snow covers the ground, the seeds are stirring in the earth, responding to the increased light levels. When the thaw comes, they will push green into the light, and already, the first snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are poking their drooping white heads from the frozen earth in my garden. I always await their coming eagerly, the first brave flowers in a barren plot, and some of their folk names such as Candlemas Maiden, Candlemas Bells and Fair Maids of February reflect their flowering period. Snowdrops are a sign that life is returning, and in folklore they represent new beginnings, youth and purity. I often read that snowdrops were sacred to the goddess Brighid, but this is simply not true. The plants are not native to Britain and Ireland, and were not introduced until late in the sixteenth century CE from southern Europe
Snowdrops and their bulbs are poisonous to humans, so it is perhaps it is not surprising that they were also called the ‘Death Flower’, and thought to be unlucky if taken indoors. Consequently, they are not used by hearth witches medicinally, though the pharmaceutical industry is investigating some it their compounds for treating Alzheimer’s disease and HIV. However, I do place the first ones on the altar and take their appearance as a cue to perform a personal ritual of purification that echoes the renewal of the Goddess by bathing in a sacred pool.
Snowdrop Purification Ritual
Prepare a cauldron or large bowl of pure water and float some snowdrop flowers (or other early flowers) on its surface. Lay beside it a small crystal ball or spherical representation of the Earth. Have some towels ready.
Light a white candle and say:
Like the Goddess of Spring, I wash in the cauldron of transformation so that I may be purified and renewed.
Wash in the cauldron, visualising washing away negativity and letting things you need to be rid of dissolve in the water.
Then wash the crystal ball (representing the Earth) in the cauldron and say:
As I wash this crystal in the water of this vessel, so may the spring rains wash cleanse the face of the Earth and make it ready for planting. I beseech the Goddess that the Earth may be cleansed of pollution, negativity and evil, and pledge to play my part in this endeavour.
Spend some time meditating on this, and when you have finished, close the ritual by saying:
Let this ritual end with love and blessings.
Put out the candle. Take the cauldron of water outside and empty it on the earth, if possible.