Monthly Archives: January 2014
Less than a week until Imbolc.
Imbolc is one of my favorite Sabbats although it was one that I had the hardest time understanding when I was starting out. For some reason I just couldn’t quite grasp what it meant.
Then one year I was working as a temp and was between assignments, when I got a phone call – on Imbolc – about a short-term job, and that was when it clicked.
Imbolc is about beginnings and possibilities and hidden promises.
I am in more or less the same position this year: between jobs. I have an interview later today for a part-time position that is ideally close to home. (A five-minute commute sure beats a sixty minute commute!)
Imbolc, in my own personal tradition (I should name my own personal tradition one of these days…) is the start of spring.
Sure, it doesn’t look like spring, at least, not here in Western Pennsylvania, but, nonetheless, it is the start of spring.
It is halfway between Midwinter Solstice and Spring Equinox, and the hours of daylight are noticeably longer.
And, in the words of one of my favorite Pagan songs, “The Rolling World”
“All life in the earth begins to unfold
As the waxing light is seen.
Each seedling will sprout into its own self,
To inspire us to be truly free.”
So, what do I do for Imbolc?
I keep an eye on the weather. (Imbolc is also known as Candlemas.)
“If Candlemas Day be sunny and bright,
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas Day be cloud and rain,
Winter has flown and will not come again.”
And I usually swear at the groundhog and listen to my roommate – who hates winter with a passion rarely seen in a sane individual – threaten to sell raffle tickets to see who gets to shoot him first. (Punxsutawney isn’t that far away from where I live.)
On a more spiritual level, I give thanks for new beginnings and new promises.
I plant seeds. (I’m currently torn between snapdragons, marigolds, tomatoes, or zucchinis.)
And I make rice pudding.
From my Cookbook of Shadows:
Any symbols of the sun or fertility are appropriate for this Sabbat, as are foods that incorporate milk products. (My favorite Imbolc food is rice pudding, as it incorporates fertility symbols, sun symbols, and lots of milk.)
1 cup rice, cooked and drained — wash pan and cook these ingredients:
4 cups of milk — symbolizing the milk of the Goddess
1 cup of sugar — for the sweetness of life
2 eggs, beaten — symbolizing both the sun and new life/fertility
1 tblsp cornstarch — to thicken and bind
1 tsp vanilla — because every recipe has vanilla in it
Add rice and cook (over Brigid’s Fire) stirring until it is like custard.
While stirring in a deosil (clockwise) direction, visualize the things you want to draw into your life. This is also a good coven or family activity, as everyone can take turns stirring it.
May the growing light show you the way to yourself.
First, let me apologize for missing last week. I somehow forgot what day it was until two days later when I was writing a post for my writing blog.
Excuse me while I rant…
First (or is this second now?) let me say that I don’t mind teaching. In fact, I love teaching. I love helping others find their way along the path or learn about energy or whatever. I even loved it when I would have orientees at work.
(Granted, way back when I was starting out on this path I got dragged into the role of teacher kicking and screaming and objecting that I didn’t know enough to be a teacher. My most often used line was “I’m a healer, not a teacher” – at least, it was until I was reminded that teaching is a form of healing.)
But, anyhow… I like teaching. I should have been one.
But I do not like spoon-feeding people!
And, yes, in the last few days I’ve had more than enough of that to last me a lifetime.
We’re supposed to be the wise ones, the knowing ones.
We’re supposed to take responsibility for ourselves and our paths and our learning. It’s one thing to ask for help with something you don’t understand. And we were all new to the path once – that’s not the issue.
But asking what “eclectic” means instead of taking less than a minute to Google the word? Seriously – it took longer for him to type the question and wait for an answer than it would have taken to open a new tab and Google it.
Another goodie was “Who’s Prometheus?” Seriously? The picture that started that thread mentioned him being bound and having his liver torn out every day for giving mankind the gift of fire and you couldn’t get some sort of general idea who he is? Or look it up yourself?
Reading comprehension: it’s a wonderful thing.
So is Google.
Maybe because I came to this path before the days of the internet, when answers took longer to find than typing a couple words into Google, but this is really starting to irritate me.
I’m not saying don’t ask questions. Asking questions is a great way to learn, and, frankly, no one can teach you if we don’t know what you need to know.
But before you ask, look things up on your own! For one thing, following Wiki links is a great way to explore and learn about all sorts of things that may intrigue you, perhaps even things that you didn’t know about. (I can spend hours following links in Wikipedia, sometimes to the point of forgetting what I started out researching.)
Granted, you aren’t going to find the answers to everything online. Sometimes you need to talk to other people. And most of us on this path are more than happy to answer questions.
I know I am.
As long as you’ve done at least some work on your own. (Can’t find the info you want? I’m happy to refer you to websites or books if I know of any.)
And sometimes you need an answer to things that aren’t quite as quick and easy of a look up – help for anxiety (there are a bazillion or two correspondences for everything), suggestions for spells, different tried and true methods of doing things because sometimes the way you’ve been doing things just isn’t working at the moment and you need something new.
And anything that requires a more objective viewpoint – for instance, it’s really hard to do a clear, non-biased reading for yourself.
Read. Learn. Then ask questions about things you don’t quite understand: sometimes you need to hear things put in a different way, and that’s where a teacher comes in.
I am more than willing to help people who want to learn.
But I’m not going to spoon feed you.
I hear so many people saying that they hate winter, and it makes me a little sad. Winter has a beauty all its own, and so many people seem to be blind to it.
Oh, sure. I hate brushing snow off of my car, and there are times when driving is hazardous (and so is walking!), and I can do without the subzero wind chill (and the #!^% frozen hot water pipe) but I don’t hate winter.
For one thing, some of the most beautiful scenery comes in winter.
- A heavy wet snow that clings to the branches and makes the forest look like it’s made of lace
- An untouched expanse of snow, sparkling in the sunlight as if made of tiny diamonds
- Big fat fluffy flakes that drift and swirl and make you feel like you’re inside a snow globe
Yes, winter can be deadly: so can summer. That’s no reason to hate either season.
I think that one of the reasons that people hate winter is that they have drifted too far from the cycle of the seasons. (Part of that problem, of course, is modern life. People don’t live as close to nature as they once did. We now, for the most part, live in more urban areas and few people live within walking distance of where they work.)
What does that have to do with hating winter? Well, one of the reasons that people don’t like winter is because it’s so hard to get out and about, but that’s the point.
Winter is a time for going within, a time to draw into yourself, to rest, and to restore your soul. We’re supposed to be less active in the winter. Nature is resting, preparing for the new growth of spring: we should be doing the same thing. Our bodies and souls know this. Even separated from the natural world as we are, part of us senses that now is the time to rest.
But a lot of people aren’t comfortable with that. Our society pushes “go, go, go, do, do, do” to the point that people don’t know how to be still: people think that they have to be out doing something, even if it’s just window shopping.
And that dichotomy between society’s expectations and the soul’s needs leads to people “hating winter” because they don’t understand the true root of their distress.
Another reason is that less time out in the world also means less time around people. For an introvert like me, that’s not a problem, but, again, our society seems to be geared toward people not being alone, with the result that people don’t know how to be alone, to the point that unless they are in a relationship with someone they don’t feel like a whole person.
People aren’t comfortable with themselves. They don’t realize that they need to form a relationship with themselves, so they look outward, to others. And winter is a time for looking within.
Winter is a dark time, and people are afraid of the dark. They are afraid to look within.
But the dark isn’t evil, and the truest answers come from within yourself.
So don’t hate winter. Embrace the lessons it offers, and the time that it gives you to learn those lessons.
Oh. And the best thing about winter?
I’ve burned away the things that I don’t want to be a part of my life anymore – I wrote them on small slips of paper and fed them one by one to a candle flame in a small cauldron on my altar. (Don’t worry – I had a bottle of water open and within reach – the element of Fire and I occasionally have issues.) Part of today will be spent meditating on the things that I want to draw into my life to replace the things I burned away. (Nature abhors a vacuum – if you banish something you need to replace it or it will sneak back.)
I’m also starting some new traditions this year.
One is an idea that I got from Face Book – a gift jar. Throughout the year, whenever something good happens, write it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. Then on December 31 open the jar and read them as a reminder of the good things in your life.
(I have done something similar in the past – when I feel stressed and hounded by negativity I keep a Gift Journal. It’s just a small notebook in which I write at least one “gift” each day. It doesn’t have to be something tangible – it can be a beam of sunlight through clouds, something someone says, the caress of a breeze, anything that gives your spirit a boost. The point is that “energy flows where attention goes” and it’s so easy to only focus on the negatives and not see the positives. Change focus, change events. As within, so without.)
I’m also doing a challenge (along with some friends) to spend time every day doing something creative. For me this means something in addition to writing, which I do just about every day anyhow. I’m hoping that this challenge will result in some finished cross stitch projects this year. (And also a start on a Book of Shadows – or at least my CookBook of Shadows…)
Part of that creativity challenge will involve crocheting my way through the stash of yarn in the basement. I’m not sure how we came to have so much of it, but I think that it’s time that it gets turned into afghans and donated to charity: a homeless shelter or domestic violence shelter.
And, of course, there will be my ongoing work of becoming more focused on my spirituality on a daily basis, making it part of my daily life.
May all of you have a year filled with blessings.
So mote it be.