Celebrating the seasons: Imbolc

The turning of the sacred wheel of the year continues. The wind howls through the cracks like a wolf at the door calling the wild spirit.

Imbolc beckons. Spring is stirring itself and the world whispers of change soon to come. Will I take up this invitation.. step up and out and into the new

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This cross-quarter festival halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox marks the beginning of Spring and stirring of new life. Yet even as I write these words I know that out in my garden primroses are already growing and many bulbs are stirring as the climate is changing and winter has not yet bitten this season. Even so it feels that this festival honours the turning wheel mirrored in our soul and offers us an opportunity to gather with intention.

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It is said that the original word of Imbolc means ‘in the belly’ relating to the start of Spring and of lambing season. Everything is pregnant with the promise of new life, even if much is not yet visible like the swelling belly of early pregnancy. There is a promise of the world awakening after the dark nights of rest as the light returns and growth begins again. It is a time of new beginnings and rebirth.

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This is once again an opportunity for cleansing and letting go to make space for inspiration for the new cycle of growing that is to come. It is a good time to make wishes and dedications and self-initiation. The darkest of nights are behind us now and the sunlight returns more and more each day that passes. The energy that once looked within, begins to look out. We look forward to the year, make our plans and never mind the whispers of laughing from the shadows. Plan on. honour yourself and how far you’ve come.

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Do you know yourself now? where you came from and where you’re going? what is it that you really want to make of this world while you’re here?

The seasons keep on turning , offering opportunity again and again, perhaps now it is time to step up and take that initiation. Celebrate yourself, the gifts you bring and make a pledge for what you believe in.

You do believe in something after all don’t you?

don’t you.

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The world is green and not white.

What has happened to Winter?

Did I sleep too long and miss something, where are the frosty mornings and the ice covered puddles crunching under my feet as I go to check the chicken coop to collect the mornings eggs, where are the ice crystals framing every blade of grass and drop of dew into perfectly individual shapes of crystalline sacred geometry, where is the steam train puffing of my breath as I struggle against gravity to climb the hill and turn to look back and see the valley stretching out in front of me for miles and miles, where did midwinter go. I missed it.

The deep recesses of my jumper drawer have not been explored, the thermal layers lie cosy amongst themselves, the scarves and gloves (in excess I admit for there is no way one person could use for many scarves, please forgive my scarf greed) lie undisturbed next to the hats.

The world is green. The woods although mainly leafless are sprouting strange things like primroses and daffodils, lime leaves and buds where buds are not yet normal. The garden is months ahead of itself, the overwintered broad beans seedlings racing up towards the steady sun. I have to open the polytunnel because it is TOO WARM inside and the winter salad leaves are getting hot.

The chickens don’t mind, they say it’s nice because their feet don‘t freeze in the mud and there’s lots of wriggling things to eat. Last month I brought home three new girls as the old three had decided they didn’t want to lay eggs any more, only eat corn and retire gracefully into their crone time. It’s ok. The new girls lay lovely brown eggs.

art: “Green Goddess” – by Emily Balivet

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full moon rising this Christmas day

A moon full

rising

szertartas-telihold

with it my heart soars and the whole world turns so

that my face

may bathe in moonlight

like some interstellar light collector

storing it under my skin

feeding my soul

filling me up until the silvery light pours out of my eyes

down my cheeks

nurture-moon fomr Lisa Michaels

and I remember the countless times I’ve done this before being filled with light and stillness, no I write that wrong, the stillness is always there underneath everything else, obscured by the blinding busy-ness. What happens when my eyes are full of moonlight is that the noise leaves and I am left alone and quiet, soul quiet, the power of cleansing. Of course no-one ever did the research. I mean this is sunlight, reflected on our satellite. What can it do apart from the amazing? Our world would be different if the moon was not there, the tides would not turn so the seas would flap limply against the shore like dying fish. Where would we be then?

Humming Bird Owl Feather Full Moon Goddess art by Isabel Bryna

There is no other light like that of a full moon. It lights up the fields and the eyes of nocturnal creatures shine like green-blue lights from the silvery darkness. They watch.

This year will be the first time in my lifetime when the full moon rises on Christmas day. It’ll rise at 11.11am when I in my slippers will be making the fire and drinking something warming. It’s a funny feeling to think of the full moon out there then when I will be occupied with these earthly things. I promise to remember to step outside when it’s dark and turn my face up to catch a skinful of moonlight this Christmas. And I’ll think of you, as well out there under the silvery sky. Where will you be?

blessings

Hazel

Moon Goddess of Mystery Psychedelic Tarot Art

 

 

art credits:

szertartas-telihold

nurture-moon from Lisa Michaels

Humming Bird Owl Feather Full Moon Goddess art by Isabel Bryna

The Moon – Goddess of Mystery by Emily Balivet

 

 

 

 

where badgers play

Next to the stream on the edge of the old corn field, past the barbed wire fence and not far from the big oak tree, there is a place that almost makes me cry but not cry for sadness or maybe a little. It makes my heart lift in unexpected ways. It is the place where badgers play. badger

The paths are smoothed clean by the shuffling of many little feet, the leaves swept to one side by the sweeping of passing tails.

There was no-one there when I went by the other day but I saw signs everywhere.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting better at this game of seeing things that once were there, of reading the footprints left in mud, the stray bits of wiry fur caught on a fence, the signs of a long nose snuffling acorns, the well trodden paths leading off into the forest, the enormous holes in the bank and huge piles of freshly dug soil. They were always there I guess. It’s like seeing clearer, to know their habits and see without eyes.

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There’s a fallen over pine tree, oh I wish you could see it. I’d take you there and we’d walk in silence, listening to the world close in around us. You could touch it with your hands then you’d understand what I don’t know if I can explain with words alone. Something about the smooth edges, the ridges worn down by so much play. This is the badger playground, the place that exists for no other reason than pure joy. It brings me happiness to simply know that it exists. That out there in the dark there are animals playing, racing around and around this fallen over tree, over and under, up and down, rolling and tumbling.

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The wildness of them touches parts of me that were once wild too, fierce and free. I feel them still, echoes in my soul.

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art credits:

Amanda Clarke

Wendy Andrews

Photography by Richard Packwood

Louise Shotter

 

 

 

 

There’s an orchestra in the wood

Buddha-Pictures-Art

 

for each instrument a tree, a bush, a plant holds a secret. The wind is the wild haired conductor waving their arms furiously bringing life to the  notes hidden within each rooted long arm. Buried in earth move as if pulled by strings. Invisible hands create music. There’s an orchestra in the woods.

The cause of these Four seasons of symphony slowly dawns. How could I have not seen, not heard the distinctness between each song until now? This pause between the stream and the hill, my ear turns and i hear it for the first time the silence and then the song. As if I had been waiting all my life for this very moment. This ceasing of doing to pause and for a moment listen to the way the wind can play. It was an audition of a lifetime and I humbled to hear.

The trees sigh the heart song. with leaves around ankles this is the Winter’s song with bare branches making a different sound to that of spring or summer

The invisible conductor sweeps down the hill the song grows louder. Then, the rest of the world joins in. Birds call out. Insects hum. The squirrel cries, the woodpecker makes a beat. The symphony of the wintery woods crashes around my ears.

Outside the concert hall a bus stops to pick up some passengers, then moves on up the road.

 

Walking the sacred wild ways

The paths underfoot are trodden by wild things; badgers, foxes, deer and rabbit have passed this way. not long since. The marks of their passing still fresh. A scent hangs on the breeze. A fox musk masks the end of the lane.18.-The-Path-Up-To-the-Halnaker-Windmill-in-Sussex-20-Magical-Tree-Tunnels-You-Should-Definitely-Take-A-Walk-Through

To those who pass by it says, ‘this is my path.’ To all who can read his speech of scent it silently screams, ‘I live here, this is my world.’

His claws are sharp; their marks left imprinted in the red Devon clay soil the colour of cob houses and old walls covered in ivy. Putting my thin fingered hand next to his in the mud my nails make no mark. I cannot kill with claws nor jaws alone, like his that are the closing of death.  These fingers tap at the black keyboard, the symbols they touch appear on the screen. This all seems perfectly normal. They hold a different kind of power.

Other footprints betray the passing or those invisible creatures hidden under the silent cover of wood. My soul calls and the wind answers. This ground is my ground. This land is my land. There is no other.

This last year my blog Soul Sassy Mama has had a break. Twelve months of silence while I walked the wild ways to learn the language unspoken. To listen to the squeal of the green woodpecker as she feasts on ants and the croaking of the rooks as they swirl in their evening dance.  These fingers ache with words poured into out of the leafy shrines into notebooks and closed. It seemed like walking on sacred ground, these wild ways. Listening to the cry of the pheasant startled into flight I saw there is always a choice. To hide silently in the bushes or to be startled into breaking cover with that grating two-note call so different from the cock-like crowing he makes when proudly announcing his place in the world: to react or to act.

Sacred ways honoured here, these are the breadcrumbs. Who will follow them?

 

 

so I do

tumblr_mxermpbiaK1sjoq1co1_500At the end of the lawn, that’s where the woods begin. There’s a gate, ivy covered, and behind that a fallen tree covered in ferns and old mushrooms. Crossing the tree is like stepping over a threshold. Somehow the air is different. The house is hidden now. Goodbye. Dark yew and thick rhododendron wave their arms in fond farewell. Now the undergrowth is thick. I have to bow my head a little, like a prayer, the path requires humility. No striding here.

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