It’s not all about the snow (but I’d like some)

Spring is whispering its song from underneath the bare earth.The stage is very much still Winter’s: many days of glistening frost, nippy air that bites your bones, fragile sunshine and naked trees. But Spring is twisting and stretching gently like a napping cat about to wake. This unborn season dances invisible in Mother Winter’s belly.

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Image pinned on my Imbolc Pinterest board from nordicwiccan.blogspot.co.uk

Almost invisible. For green fingers push up through and into the air – in spite of the hard ground. In a few weeks they will be boldly nodding daffodils. This weekend, many will be celebrating lunar Imbolc,*  with more celebrating the festival in the middle of this coming week. King Sun is ever so slightly stronger, I tell my son. We are seeing him go to bed a little later and rise a little earlier. I’ve still not seen any snowdrops! They seemed scarce last year, even around Bristol’s wilder edges and crannies.

I’ve enjoyed this winter – am enjoying. (I want to hear the rest of her song before turning my attention to Spring!) It feels like a “real” winter: proper frosts on several hand-rubbingly crisp days. Only one tiniest smattering of snow – enough to delight my son, although how he wishes to wake to see the land tucked up in a proper blanket of soft white like in our winter books full of snowball fights and deep footprints. Such things are quite rare in our part of Britain but I itch to share such magic with him and his little brother. Just thinking (and wishing!) about it, I smile at how their rosy faces will grin and giggle in a state of simple bliss if our wish comes true.

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Mind you, sometimes I think that we perhaps over-depict snow as a symbol of winter, Granted, many of the Waldorf-y books in our home are weavings of writers from more northern parts of the world than mine. Yet at times I feel that Winter’s other players – Jack Frost, the Queen of the NIght / Dark Goddess, the bare trees and earth – that they might deserve a little more attention in the art we make about this season. For me, it’s these symbols of  the outer world’s emptiness and cold that invites us to focus on our inner beauty and riches through learning, soul-work, self-development and stoking our inner fire. When we go outside in winter, maybe we enjoy a view of beautiful buildings (or  have our children enjoy seeing a train going along the tracks!) that is hidden from view by summertime’s clutter of leaves; I feel winter likewise invites us to find that clarity when we look inside ourselves.

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All that barrenness around holds the hope and potential of what can sprout and grow. ♥

 

*the dark/new moon of late January – or early February,

First photo: Ice pictures – on a night when frost is forecast, lay out leaves and others interesting things in a bucket of water outside. Position a string so that the ends will also be frozed into the water to hang your “picture” up in the morning! You can also do this all year round in a plastic tub in your freezer.

Second photo: “Snow garden” that we made a couple of years ago to slightly compensate for our disappointment at a snow-less winter! Use soap powder on a cardboard base, add crystals, mirrors (for frozen ponds), twigs etc. From Earthwise, by Carol Petrash.

Third photo: Our Solstice branches – winter 2016.

Fourth photo: Forest of Dean, January 2015

 

Beltane eve

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This week’s page of my beautiful Earth Pathways Diary is focussed on Beltane. The author of the inspiring piece of writing, Marion McCartney, chooses passion as the/a keyword for this festival. I think this would be my choice too. Right now, the blossoms seem passionate in their exuberance, so much of nature seems passionate in its enthusiastic growth. I associate passion with warmth, which the sun is blessing the earth with as it gets closer towards the solstice. The birdsong, the scents of the flowers in the evening, the flow of everything; I sense there’s passion in it.

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I feel that, as part of nature, this time of year calls us to reflect on our own passions and where passion dances – or doesn’t – in our lives. Of course – there are the passions associated with love, sex and fertility. And there are passions that conceive and birth wonders other than babies.

I’ve been trying to understand, listen to and answer my passions recently. Well, for a long time actually. It can be hard (and brave) to prioritise and make time for these things amidst busy lives of commitments, and perceived or genuine obligations and shoulds. We can feel guilty at our perceived indulgence of doing so. But surely it’s our passions that lead to us conceiving, gestating and bringing into the world our unique ideas and gifts. It may seem a teeny little imprint, but we are all parts of a whole – locally and globally.  Surely if we listen to the voice of our passions and give them the space to create, we contribute the beauty of our true self and spirit. We – like the pink and white frothy blossoms – can make the world a prettier place.

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I tend to start my Beltane celebrations on Beltane Eve – this evening – and continue until the full moon of May (Monday). I’ve written before about my habit of making a sabbat-tide. During these days, I’ll be contemplating my true passions and how to take them further. I’ll be celebrating nature’s passion and giving thanks for all the beautiful signs of it – part of this will be getting out to somewhere wild and soul-nourishing with my family. We’ll decorate our indoor nature table to reflect what we’re witnessing and sensing outdoors. I’ll also create some sacred space where I can open myself to inspiration, open doors to other worlds… or be enchanted by flower fairies.

Wishing you a bright and blessed Beltane – and radiance of your own passions. ♥

Into the light

The Spring Equinox has passed; light is stronger than dark. It seems quite fitting that, a week before the equinox, our neighbour and his parents gave the trees on his side of our shared wall a serious prune. A week after the equinox. my husband has done similar on our side, removing a rotten fence at the same time. Consequently the garden is much lighter, which will benefit plant growth. The trees also look more attractive with all their straggly and/or dead bits removed. The side of the garden where the fence was honestly looks wider with it gone. Its a little weird being able to see into  – and through- our neighbours’ houses (and knowing that they can see into ours). It’s made me jump a few times to see the headlights of a car on the road the other side of them.

I believe that it’s similar in our dance through life; in our own seasons where we grow, prune, get a little cluttered and straggly. When we make drastic changes. Light may be flooding in, improvement may be obvious, but we can initially feel exposed – sometimes scrutinised – and get a little fright at unfamiliar things.

Blown eggs above our sacred nature table - the decorated one was from a seasonal activity at my son's kindergarten. I meant us to decorate the one we blew at home, but as with many of my creative intentions, I didn't get around to it. However, I feel that the dark and light contrast of the two is very apt for the equinox!

Blown eggs above our sacred nature table – the decorated one was from a seasonal activity at my son’s kindergarten. I meant us to decorate the one we blew at home, but as with many of my creative intentions, I didn’t get around to it. However, I feel that the dark and light contrast of the two is very apt for the equinox!

A wise acquaintance once told me “you have to cut out the deadheads to allow the flowers to bloom”. She was referring to the destructive relationship that I’d just ended – a difficult step, at the time, despite the necessity of taking it being obvious to all. I think her words can refer to projects, habits, jobs, possessions, garden fences and so many things that might be keeping us from enjoying – immediately or gradually – a lighter, brighter place. ♥