Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard spring- it’s a long one

Written yesterday and a week ago, this timeless winter blankets the land even, all contours blended.
Shoveling easily to reveal earth, the sun sets lengthening.
We are home due to “the impending storm”.
We take our weather seriously and even though there doesn’t seem like much snow, what is there is slick and
it will come fast.
Just like Springtime.
Already the willows in the valley are shining yellowish,
like the pre-winter fields of dried cover-crops
in the corn fields, but from the other side.
Wild rose stalks are reddened
and even more so this day after snow. 
The light lingers and even dawn is a bit earlier
the sun halfway from due South to the Eastern Gates.
trees start to color
Spring will come soon enough and it will with a great speed and flourish,
as always.
Get ready for fence repair, get read for seed trays,
get ready for mud.
Though we wake each morning to new snow,
every day I’ve seen more and more birds.
A cardinal showed off his red the other day.
Bryan saw a bunch of robins.
They’re all hidden now sheltered somewhere
for the storm, but they are still here.
Long discussions, like winter’s night, prepare for now.
fire circling
On that day and at this time we have
Fires of many sizes and shapes.
So much smoke, both fragrant and acrid.
Cold with ice even in the air and certainly in all things water.

Gathering together friends from long ago
as if the time was not space, but barely yesterday.
you are like 27, right? 41?! Our kid is how big? What?! 
Related by memory and experience we knit the years.

Spirituality. Discussions of Worship. Interconnected faith.
Something about communication.
We are all on a wavelength, even from many paths.
Yes, you are great.
Bridget, Bridget, Bridget, Bridget, Bridget.
You always know what to say.
You say it simply and direct.
Inside buddy, grandmother, gifter & protector, friend, healer
You are beauty and skill meshed with love and reverence,
Grove Patron and our family’s too,
I knew Imbolc would come with a quickening but now
we are only 5 weeks until Equinox.
Boy sings and invisible crystalline snow falls down sideways.
infinite snow
Below are edited notes from our ritual day written mostly after everyone left and dishes were washed up and leftovers put away while and after the Super Bowl:
read this fire
Imbolc 2013
fire snow safe fire,
walk with intent over animal tracks

her fire
Bridget’s fire
all the fires
welcoming fires
fire and place  spiral
vantage point  read the fence
keeping the fires going taking all the wood, circle empty
endlessly feeding the fire
split wood making all the difference
split wood  makes all the difference
Cooking, all burners on
the somewhat stressful somewhat energized
sacrifice of cleaning and getting ready
all burners ARE on
get out of my way, please.
snow all around and a cold warmth to the air
winter ground
and before it all began there was the smoke
from the smudge and the fire
continuous tears pouring from my face
changing attitude clearing cold and sinuses.

He doesn’t like a banishing a/k/a the calendar ritual to start a holiday, but I think the fire, not yet sacred, is a good place to clear away the old, like shoveling snow or weeping.
well in the snow
Snow in the bowl as our well. 
A frozen but melting snow cone container of art.
Finally being able to douse the unstoppable smudge in that well and the cup of frozen birch tea itself frozen in the well.
cup frozen in the well
Even with solidity,
the aliveness of the water, the stream, and each of us
flows loudly silent.

  set up
We are ready, house cleaned, food cooked, table set,
lovely Bridget in the center
on the gold and Irish linen cloths crisscrossing  our table.

Bryan made tea from fresh Birch twigs trimmed that morning. A lovely naturally sweet tea, faintly wintergreen.
I peel a clementine and toss the skin into the fire,
bright orange to deep orange,
just as they arrive back down the road after first driving by.

Nice to see friends you haven’t seen in a while, nice to get closer to ritual time. Naturally settled in with water and cheese and all the crackers. She and I wander the circle of kitchen and table talking art and work taking sometime to sit down with the others to talk holiday and ritual. Lots of talk.
First the spirochetes and then all the interconnections and then the spirits (human and otherwise) coming together supporting us- “you are great”.  

Detailing our Kindred
Ancestors-people who were alive but are now dead, family, friends, teachers, writers, those who knew what it was to be human.
Spirits of nature and place and plants and body and rock and radio waves and ticks and dreams and water and ice and art and vision and memory. The community of spirits that we are- blood as liquid, blood as family, blood as color.
Gods and Goddesses- shining ones, those great beings not necessarily without their foibles but always with special powers. Not necessarily above us in a hierarchical spacing but before us like guide like gift like directional light source.

Around the table we eat cheese and talk ritual order
and inspiration and incubation. 

Finally we are ready, coats and hats, 
the fires fed with the last of the good wood.
we are here to honor the gods,
we amble to the Bridget shrine
our shadows gleaming with frost.

shadow frost
We bring Bridget to the fire, and circle back and forth,
up and down with finally 5 sitting on the deck in the West and me standing on the fire’s other side, back to the East.

feel yourself on the Earth.
Our feet and our heart.
Breathing energy up and through.
all together
We make our first offerings to our Earth Mother.
Soured milk
Steamed by the hot rocks around the fire.
rock burnt by milk
the East of new energy & the woods & the willow tree
the South, where the sun rises in winter & down the mountain
the West, place of our neighbors and across the road, the setting sun and introspection/hibernation
the North, the top of the mountain & Old Man Winter, place of healing and wisdom
the up & down & center
the rock
cold kid
sitting down and standing up
row of people on the deck
or around the fire
Earth Mother and the Directions
Bacon fat gifted to welcome Mananan 
the Gates, lovingly tended to all day, honored and opened
the silence of the outsiders offering- moldy lemon in the far away snow. Accept our acknowledgment you who do not play nicely and trouble not our gathering. Stay over there.
Wine & Milk
sputtering and flaring
Bridget fire glow
Bridget- fire and flame
Bridget- our translator
Bridget- our friend
Bridget- make our words sweet
Bridget fire flares
Our Honored dead- I think of Anna and her smile
Spirits of Nature- I think of her cat now gone in this physical plane but as spirit of memory, word, sensation, image 
Gods and Goddesses-shining ones with special gifts
heart fire
and Bridget- the great flame gives a slight whoosh from sacrifices of frozen ghee and sweetgrass
Ok –now for all of us
And I give him the found ticket stub stashed in my sock to put in the fire
as a wish
but he doesn’t understand why
They toss foil wrapped candies,
shiny candies for Bridget.
First a few and then more and again
somehow all consumed shrinking upon themselves.
My rosemary and lavender oil flaming so large
I was almost on fire my sleeves singeing,
yet so mesmerized
I had to be told to step back. 
Searching for words to frame my intent only finding gratitude, direction, inspiration, art.
Pouring out around the rest of the circle the strong flame roars with black tipped sweet scented smoke.
And then more sweet grass, layered strand by strand,
and her silver ring
and more candies.
final sacrifice
And then stand back-
the two cedar branches left unburnt from Yule
it’s gonna be big.
the flames rise up,
larger than a small person but smaller than a tree,
but somehow we are all enveloped anyway
taking pictures together or laughing or staring at the light.
flames rise up  fire shapeswe frame the fire  larger than a small personsmaller than a tree
And then all the rest-
the rum
the stalks
the remaining ghee
all our sacrifice, shaking out the bowls
”would you pull out a rune?” he says to the boy
”and another one.”
”and one for the Gods.”
”and one final one for the season and Bridget”
“the torch” he says as the fire flares, sizzles and brightens. Kenaz from our Ancestors.

Communication, like the spirochetes, our interconnections.
Raido from the Spirits
the Sun- Sowelu- coming (back)as the gift from the Gods
Luck, thank you Bridget. Perth, accept our good fortune.
the icy waters
too cold to drink all at once.
Many little sips. 

the Magic work of going thrice through Bridget’s girdle expanding outward from the central circle of reeds 
even the cat, small druid feline, participates.
druid cat and Bridget's girdle
Each of us in our own way through
it comes always to me like a large open doorway
framed and held by them together, tall and smiling passing through
Sunlight shining like laughter dancing colors across the ice.
All thanks.
all thanks given
Leave everything out & bring Bridget in.

welcome in   Bridget's energy enters
Welcome dear Bridget into our home,
may your light shine in our kitchen and stoves,
in our hearts and on our feet,
through our hands and our words.

Her candle lights our kitchen hearth, stone fireplace in the center of our home filled with lavender and sage and birch.
home hearth       the light of Bridget's flame    twin flame
fire kindles at the heart
Cook, cook more
mash potatoes, heat stew & bread
bowls and forks
talk, talk, talk and talk
full bellies and hearts
Wish I could rewind time
and be more here again
late afternoon sun
I don’t have much patience sometimes
but we work well as family;
the light on snow in the cold sunshine.
lined upbeing alone rebalance, clearing up and bringing in
while he led them to the nemetonfollowing in line
but what about relationships and interrelationships
what about those we don’t yet know
or will meet someday
talk talk talk talk
the stream rushes now, recently silent
Bridget in the setting sun
Bridget by the stream washed in pale afternoon sun,
Bridget on the hearth with candle burning safe and bright,
Bridget on the table surrounded by food and the cat.
Bridget and the cat
the frost on the snow
the melting
strong coffee and large pieces of cake
tending fires
walking gently on snow
groups or alone
down to the wire
lines from the fire in the snow

Monday, February 4, 2013

the embers linger

embers glow
Still on the day after even covered with snow the bed of coals so hot and deep and vital. We burn the last magical log, log of fire blessed by Bridget, in our woodstove, hearth of heat for generations of people in this fine home.
tending fires. the fires of our hearts and feet,
the inspiration of the next breath, the glow of the gods.
orange orange orange
fires of color. good fires. the many oranges.
Melting snow becomes frost.
frosted earth
Fluid brook sings softly, once again audible through the dissolving ice.
frozen leaves and water  iced brookliquid ice Iliquid ice IIliquid ice III
liquid ice IVbreakthrough
Bridget, insider friend, the many voices of greatness urging us on. Her keening cry -clarion, song, insight- as translator.
Bridget's cloth
So much smoke, unintentional purifier as eyes weep uncontrollably filled. Crying without sadness or stopping.
smoke fire spirit
Started with local egg cartons and wooden orange containers and sticks from inside and leftover from Yule and ringed with the evergreen bough which this past season ringed our entrance, the fire caught ablaze.
beginning fire
Feeding the flame and tending the fire is a dance of timing and balance. Dry and split and hot and damp. At once strong and hot and then without warning burnt down. Stacking and gently adding wood, from the outside pile or the one in. Meditative pacing back and forth-stoke the woodstove, bring out wood from inside, haul a few back.

Keep both fires going.
balance  The split wood made all the difference, opening more surface area to burn and to make coals. Once hot enough most logs will burn, but the slivers will always catch.
fire structure     first layer
Setting up for the 3rd fire, our kitchen hearth, to welcome Bridget in. Welcome as honoring and offering gratitude;  setting up and cleaning as sacrifice.
The reverent arts of hosting and guesting and ghosting.
hearth centerin honor of Bridgetfireplace readystructure
Bridget, goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft.
Make our words sweet, help us to express
our authenticity, guide our hands to make.
Creative fire inside support this incubation.
Help us prepare for the now of Spring.
The heat from the fires taken our hearth/fire our heart