Sunday, January 27, 2019

MidWinter Solstice Memories

The house is surrounded by masses of ice.
Large flows of water frozen, though probably liquid deep underneath.
The days are so much noticeably longer that it no longer seems impossible.
Weather has taken over much of life with the pull of hibernation strong,
but the promise of returning Spring is stronger.
The Sun rises ever Eastward. 
The year finally moved on and holidays cleaned up from, 
though some sweets still linger. 

We celebrate Imbolc a week from today. 
Welcoming Bridget into our home, illuminating our hearth,
as harbinger of Springtime. 
 Welcoming positive change, from deepest darkness to renewed light. 
 Making a plan and bringing it to fruition- the dreams of garden catalogues. 
Sharing much love and also the sadness of this beautiful life.
Ongoing interconnected cycles of transition;
these last five weeks of evolution have been full. 

It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
The week of shortest days included many transitions and tears,
lots of hard work and tying up ends,
prepping for everything and letting go of it all. 
Great joys and sorrows and stress and relief.
And then we were all home. 
On the longest night there was 3 bolts of lightening and huge roaring rolling thunder.
Then a gentle rain like release.
Extreme shifts of temperature bring wild winds and we are especially grateful for our solid roof. 
It seems that there is no normal anymore.

Back then there was a lot of darkness which now has thinned a bit.
As always non-stop, we were able to spend time that morning gathering vegetables
from a neighbor's CSA in giant hoop houses filled with greens.  
Last stop before no more stops as snow gently fell.
Before that cooking and changing plans and cooking more.
Lots of cleaning and prepping and an over-full refrigerator.
Grateful for blessings of positive bounty to share.
all this +2 different mashed potatoes in the kitchen!
 Giant snow flakes fly around today coating everything again. 
At times there is a feeling of being buried, 
more like a seed than a dead body,
but still covered 
by weather or paper or darkness or blankets.
Stillness is a great lesson and gift.
Waiting for the sunlight.

My notes from then are sparse but I remember the cold and the greys and blues of the sky.
Kid upstairs as usual though it is increasingly unusual. 
Me, Bryan & Elizabeth do a grove meeting and spectacular kitchen prep.
Bells and fresh mistletoe.
Then incredible artist friends- from long ago Jersey moved to here and now- arrive. 
And then everyone else showed up at once, a line of cars down the road.
(Which never happens.)
Grove regulars and occasional participants
and folks who had never been here or who have been here but never to ritual. 
Maybe 18 or 19 humans in all through the course of the night but at least 16 around ritual fire. 
3 college kids home for the holidays and their moms. 
Lots of creatives from the old days.
People who knew each other from different places.
New connections.
Wrapped and bundled against the cold and wind.
We jumped in. 
We are here to honor the Gods and the not-gods,
those who give meaning to life. 
We have to get out of the way on the holidays and just get with it.
Part of the sacrifice is the give-up.  
My notes say there was a great pre-rit. 
Important to share Core Order of Ritual so everyone knows when and what,
but it all has to be comfortable. 
And sometimes we forget or people do what they do
My notes talk about 3 cackling witches taking outsider offerings,
and mention the curled stick and the tall vivid fire
and the many hands of offerings. 
Sparkly festive sacrifice, the fullness of a real grove.  
There were dreams and stories shared. 
Spontaneous singing of "Here Comes the Sun"
and "This Little Light of Mine".
It got dark quickly, though lingered a while in that deep blue. 
Smoke enveloped us all. 

We did not invoke that Jolly Old Elf by name but in our hearts. 
The giant moon of that night rising as we sang.
Feasting and Feasting. 

Another full moon has cycled since then, 
Super Blood Wolf
lunar eclipse.
How we keep the lights on, keep the hearth and heart strong, 
keep hoping machine running
and keep on keeping on
is the real magick.
Posting some but not enough of the fire pictures. 
The moment is never fully captured, only experienced.


Our Omens
from the Ancestors, our dear Honored Dead: Fehu or Fee, what things cost or the cash to pay.
from the Spirits of Nature and Place: Mannaz or Self, human and identity and personhood,
maybe has to do with naturally being yourself and how we see ourselves.
from the Gods & Goddesses: Berkanu or Beginning, welcoming the new year and new opportunities.
for the Season: Nauthiz or Need, necessity, the idea of the awareness of what is needed, 
and an awareness of the distinction between what is wished for and what is essential.
Cold waters, hot fire,
bright light, dark night,
many blessings.