Dreaming many times of coffee, I woke up. There was a small dusting of snow and tiny flakes fell. Went to hang with the boy and cat, then suddenly “snowstorm!”
Raging large flakes pouring down and around. But by the time I got downstairs to make coffee, it had subsided to invisible dusting once again. Up like a tempest and sudden stops. Must be Bridget’s energy at work.
We looked for candles and set up lights on a Bridget idol in the center of the fire circle, on the old xmas trunk that is our tree there (now buried in the snow) and at the Bridget that lives always by the stream. The stream gurgles even where it lies under the snow and all around the birds talk and sing.
If its Imbolc you know we are either out of dry wood or out of wood altogether. Our fires struggle to temperature or even to light and though it is not that cold outside it is hard to get warm. The faintest of precipitation colored the air as we sat to eat, stumbling with the weather changes. Many cheeses and smoked salmon and fresh dill and three kinds of crackers and Irish soda bread and tea filled the table. We used Anna’s plate, left here last Imbolc, the last time we saw her alive. Somehow this holiday will always be connected with her spirit, her dynamism, and her strength
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.
Where to make fire, where to do ritual, how to keep a fire going? Bryan shovels the deck and I make food for the boy, and for later, cooking our pumpkin- the only one that grew from our many vines last year. Rain, ice and snow everywhere- a faint fog in the woods. Talking about what has changed since last season. More daylight, more life, more sounds outside, more hours in a week above freezing temperatures- and yet the silent monotone of winter still dominates. By next holiday we will be talking gardens and sprouting.
Bryan worried about fire, and having created tinder preparation in the kitchen hearth, went outside to try to rekindle the candles and the few sticks getting wet there.
The boy suited up and was ready when things were not but we got together as family to help create sacred space and fire.
I had gathered offerings of sage and flowers and milk for Bridget. It was raining gently but steadily and all the burnables were getting wet. I remembered the stalks and sticks in Urth Arts and got those as hope. Bryan and boy were digging down into the ice and snow and unearthed our fire pit, exposing logs buried for a season.
Suddenly we are a team-getting, breaking and laying sticks and Bryan lights first one candle then then next and with Bridget as his torch he lights our fire. WE HAVE FIRE. We get more branches and vines and feed our fire, small but true. It is exciting and we get ready. I get one more armload of sticks, bigger ones still, and Bryan comes out with his headress of reeds made and danced last year this time.
We are here to honor the Gods.
We had a threshold, a passageway dug in the snow to crossover into sacred space. Above it was the silver bowl of water for lustration perched in a bank of waist high snow. The water was warm, though the boy thought it cold and was distinct in both temperature and texture of the rain now beating our faces.
Inside the carved out space not quite a circle, we held hands and arms laying heads on hearts and breathed. We felt the air around us and the ground beneath us and each other together. Breathing to the sound of your heart. Feeling our love for each other. Something very special about family only rituals.
The boys glasses fogged and we opened, returning to tend our fire. Beginning with our earth mother, sprinkling a spiral of pumpkin seeds, home grown from our earth to our earth in gratitude and prayer.
The directions with rice and the red cardinal in the south, and the sun rising slightly more east, and the west place of our neighbors and the north of this season and healing and the center where we are.
The smoke takes me away through the gates and I need to go inside to get the outsiders offering and Bryan takes it out and brings inside a big box which he wonders if it is an omen.
Offerings for insider Bridget and honoring our dear kindred with sage and last month’s flowers (“the ones that smelled so sweet”). Keeping the fire alive.
Dancing thrice through Bridget's girdle. Keeping the beat. Fire blazing at the mention of her name. Pouring Elizabeth’s mead in a circle around the fire. The rest of the dry harvested grasses flaming as final sacrifice. Full on rain filling our glasses before the waters.
Bryan pulled Ogham and Runes as omen
from our Ancestors: Ngetal or Reed- it has to do with healing, lots of associations with bending and the life inside- related to Bridget and this holiday
from the Spirits of Nature and Place: Beith or Birch- new beginnings, birth – also related to Bridget
from the Gods & Goddesses: Huath or Hawthorne- chastity and purity, purification
for the season: Dair or Oak- the one who knows, the way, the door, also relates to Bridget
from our Ancestors: Nathuz or need, the friction fire or the drill fire- sometimes made with reeds
from the Spirits of Nature and Place: Ehwaz –the horse- the vehicle and facilitator of action, very similar to Birch
from the Gods & Goddesses: Elwaz – an elk sedge- a sharp and pointy be careful thing, it is about attention and being on guard-very similar to Hawthorne
for the season: Wunjo or joy- the joy of good company, merriment, simple joy
vortex of smoke carrying me away through the stinging tears that would not stop. I put ice on my eyes and still could not staunch the water pouring from them.
Drinking it all in we gather and hug and give thanks and process indoors, inviting Bridget in to light and alight above our kitchen hearth.
we feast and bring in our cloth frozen with the touch of Bridget and precipitation, our healing talisman for the year.
Candle burns on the hearth all night, vigil for spirit.
fog food flowers fire