athenagrey: (Default)
 At this point on the wheel of the year, I should understand why I am moving forward, know that winter is half through, and be gathering my strength to spring forward.  I should be moving slowly, but free of encumbrance, as I make my way forward.

It looks something like that.  I landed here with a thump, and have been resting and refocusing.  I have been in imperfect health the past three weeks, but am finally on the mend.

I have a good idea of where I am headed on my creative path, and on my path toward home. I am less sure about the company I'll have for the extended journey. I certainly have had some of my burdens slip away. Amber cat is in a better place now, having left behind her frailness when she crossed over.  I no longer have to worry for her comfort.

Indigo cat is an easygoing one, asking little of me and giving much love. She'll be with me on the journey, sashaying along beside me as we reach foreard toward spring.

I am travelling lighter and with more ease now that G and I found our paths diverging last autumn. At one point we had dreams similar enough that they overlapped, but I am preparing to go live mine, and he talks of his dreams and maybe invests them in the next generation. I wish him peace on his journey.

There's a new G (please, can't we have a new letter?) but I don't know how she fits into the journey, other than to inspire me and make me smile. 

I've found a deeper compassion this winter, more personal and less theoretical. I've come to know and care deeply for people across the entire spectrum of the 99%. I've learned to trust my intuition more, and to speak out when I can make a difference.

In the practice of stillness, I have found my voice.

I wish you peace on your journey toward spring. I turn to the east and acknowledge this time of beginnings. In the south, I salute the sun that nourishes my spirit. I turn to the west and remember those that have gone before me. In the north, I honor all things steadfast and true. In the center, I reach up my arms to embrace the Goddess.  Have a blessed Imbolc.
athenagrey: (Default)
I've often though that the cross quarter days exist so that the passage of time can be marked.  The time between solstice to equinox is long, and it can be hard to see forward movement over such a long time. Marking the midpoint of these quarters gives us something to look forward to, and also a brief place to rest our thoughts before moving onward.

At Imbolc, we are on our way out of the tightest and darkest reaches of the spiral. Hopefully, we feel ready to embrace a time of growth and transformation. Hopefully, we are carrying inspiration with us. But what of energy and sustenance?

Snow blankets the fields and gardens for a reason. It warms and it nourishes the earth. It keeps the bulbs and seeds alive beneath the ground. Growth and transformation happen slowly and gently in a sheltered space. We can learn from this, and not jump headlong into what we are inspired to do. We can take things slowly and take advantage of the things that shelter and nourish us.

Take some time in this season to meditate on what sustains you. Who are the people who provide support?  What are the containers that surround you? What nourishes you, physically, mentally, spiritually? How does the Goddess within sustain you through this time of growth and transformation?

If you need a visual cue for your meditation, there is a beautiful divination that is appropriate to this season of fire and snow. Find a sheltered spot outside and light a tealight or votive candle. Let it burn until there is a small pool of melted wax. Pour the melted wax onto the snow. Liquid wax transforms to solid. Solid snow transforms to liquid. Pick up the interesting shape of wax and use it to guide your meditation.

Know that you are complete and that you have everything that you need to complete your transformation.

Consider planting some paperwhite bulbs at Imbolc. The spring bulb, complete as it is, and ready to flower in six to eight weeks, is a perfect symbol of your completeness.

Blessings.
athenagrey: (Default)
 Blessed Imbolc, everyone!

It's hard to believe that life is stirring under all that ice and snow. The warm temperatures 
yesterday and today did help convince me.

In my snug little treetop Aerie, I have been in a frenzy of cleaning in preparation for the 
sabbat. It was time to get the staleness and dust of winter out of my life. Even last night's 
dinner had some of that clearing energy, as I turned out the larder and combined a lot of 
leftovers into rice pilaf with lentils and chick peas, and a mixed vegetable curry in a mild 
and creamy sauce.

My Imbolc celebration began at the hearth. I had saved a couple of sprigs of holly from 
Yule, and in my cleaning frenzy, found a small bit of fir that had fallen behind the fire 
screen when I took down the Yule decorations. As I burned these remnants of Winter, I 
chanted:

Winter begone!
Welcome the Spring!

Spring isn't so far away. The cross-quarter days remind us of progress. It's easy to see 
what is. The solstices and equinoxes are definitive. Progress is less easily seen, and it is 
fortunate that our highest celebrations of Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain mark 
the otherwise imperceptible passage of time. We know the wheel of the year is turning, 
but we would not otherwise know exactly where we are.

The rest of last evening's ritual was a personal devotion to Brigid. I have spent a few years 
in Her service. I wonder if She will call my name again tonight?

Today promises to be quite busy. There's a blessing of the land that my mother and I 
always gave, involving a pail of milk and a besom. I will carry on the tradition.

Then, there are candles to be made, eight pairs of beeswax tapers to be dipped so that 
there is light for each Sabbat. Some years, I include the candle ends from the previous 
year in the pot, but this year I want the candles to be completely new. Change is on the 
air.

Bright blessings!
Athena
athenagrey: (Default)
In the stillness of morning, I filled the red pail with milk. Wrapped in Jannie's wine-colored cloak and carrying a small besom, I went outside to bless the land in the name of Brighid.

To the East, Renewal
To the South, Warmth and Heat
To the West, Succulence
To the North, Growth, Abundance and Fertility

I give back to Goddess a share of her blessings.

Some years I have stood on snow to give this blessing. This year the ground was soft and moist beneath my feet. Last year, Jannie watched from the window; it was the last Sabbat she celebrated at home. Wrapped in her cloak, I can feel her love and kindness surround me.

Now, eight fat pairs of candles hang from their wicks, aligning themselves between earth and sky, cooling slowly and becoming strong.

A simple repast of bread and cheese awaits.

It is still the quiet time of year. Things are happening in nature, bulbs swelling into flower under the soil, tree buds growing fat in anticipation of flowers and leaves. Silent and steady, She awakens. Promises are whispered and acknowledged. Small stirrings are heard. It is a time of stretching, reaching, and preparing to unfold into motion.
athenagrey: (Draw Down the Moon)
It has been a long time since I quietly slipped past the self-limiting role of the reluctant priestess. I'm still not going to be found declaiming high poetry to the gods, but I have found my ritual style, and I am comfortable in it. What works for me is having something practical to do, and a story to tell.

Our Imbolc celebration began with dipping candles on Thursday morning. I added a handful of beeswax to bring out the waxy, living texture that holds magic better than the slick brittleness of paraffin. The candles looked awesome. I've never dipped candles before, and expected it to be one of those crafts that takes a lot of practice. Call it beginner's luck, but eight pairs of smooth, stout tapers hung on the rack to cool. The one question remaining was, would they burn properly? Candles have to age a bit, so we wouldn't know until we celebrated the Esbat on Friday night. Yes, the eight pairs had been made with the Sabbats in mind, but there's no way we were going to wait until Ostara to use them. They would be blessed on Imbolc, and then one pair used to transition the altar from Imbolc to the full moon.

Part of the Imbolc celebration is re-awakening and re-dedication, starting fresh after winter's darkness has held you in it's grip. It is time for spring cleaning with a vengeance, getting the cobwebs out of the corners as well as out of the mind. We clean by earth, air, fire and water. I explained this to one of my sabbath-observant friends, who commented that it was like the ritual cleaning before Pesach(Passover). Yes, I agreed, but we clean four times over, by earth, air, fire and water. We really do use all the elements in a good spring cleaning. The iron skillets and cauldrons are scrubbed with coarse salt and oil. The chill air blows in open windows, sending the staleness out. Anything that can be scrubbed, is, and the water heater and gas-fired clothes dryer work extra hard to keep up. Most of this cleaning takes place in the days prior to the holiday. The last thing we do is clean and polish all our ritual tools. No, the very last thing we do is tumble exhausted into our hot, fragrant baths.

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June 2012

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