Mar 26, 2014

Satisfaction in Fire

I've been burning things again.  

There has been much fire this week.  Fire consuming wood and herb-stalks and symbols of all manner of things I'd like to be rid of. I never seem to tire of it.  Candles, incense, campfires, lanterns...I can't seem to get enough of flame and smoke and heat. 

It's that time of year. My energy seems to ignite as the days grow brighter.  Time for opening windows and cleaning out the winter-webbing.  The earth keeps stirring, and the moon is waning through its last quarter, and I needed to let go of a few things and re-kindle a few things. 

I attacked my main altar this afternoon, which is a behemoth.  Brimming with candles, animal curios, rocks and plant specimens, potions, skeleton keys and ancestor relics, the altar was in sore need of a good overhaul and cleanse.  I moved some trinkets out and took stock of candles and incense, and found seeds of some mysterious sort (un-labeled, of course.) Everything received a good dusting and plenty of love and thanks, and some lucky items were blessed with a shot of whiskey or an annointing with a fragrant oil. The energy of the space is bright, and clearer than it has felt in weeks.   

I was able to cook my simple dinner over the fire tonight, the dusk falling so slowly, and I spent some time scrying into the flames.  The scent of sage, lavender and chaparral drifted up whenever I tossed a handful of dried herb remnants onto the glowing coals.  Every inch of me has been fumigated so it seems.  I'm waiting a bit longer for my bath tonight, lingering over the scent of smoke in my hair.  I fear that I would live like this, if left alone to my eccentricities - wandering the world with woodsmoke-scented skin and ash on my clothes. 

There is such satisfaction in fire and its evidence.  

My bones are warm, my spirit is enlivened, and the altar glows with flickering candlelight. 

Fire Photo © Justin Smith / Wikimedia Commons, CC-By-SA-3.0

Mar 20, 2014

Small Miracles

With today bearing a title on my calendar reading "First Day of Spring" I thought I'd wander the gardens to see what was appearing on this day of new beginnings. Small green miracles were appearing everywhere!



The alien-looking rhubarb:

Neatly folded red clover, about to unfurl:

Lady's mantle:

A funky, fuzzy flower who's name has slipped my mind:

A very happy first day of spring to you! May you find small miracles around you, everywhere you look.

Mar 17, 2014

And Just Like That...The Waiting is Over

The funny thing about a long winter is, just when you are settling in to the idea of it being long, and keeping the pile of scarves, boots and mittens stacked up by the door, and ensuring the hot chocolate stash never declines too much without re-stocking it, the weather does a strange twirl and winds blow warm air into The Valley and the snow disappears as though it were never covering every spot of earth.

I've grown fond of hibernation this year. I've found peace with bulky jackets and boots and extra blankets on the bed and using herb-infused oil on my winter-weary skin instead of lotion. More than once, I have happily sat down to read, and drifted off into daydreams instead. I've watched too much British television and taken too many naps (is there such a thing as too many naps?)  And I have been rediscovering yoga and Pilates these last six weeks, which has been blissful (and painful.)

My spiritual practice has been slow and deliberate, and I'm now working with only two altars instead of five. Everything important is housed either at the large working space or in one smaller space that seems to have become the place for daily devotions. And the spirits have been chatty.

And so it only seems natural, that as I finally settle into the idea of an extra-long winter, the earth begins to stir and stretch and yawn. The temps skyrocketed this week from a biting cold to a warmth that had me peeling layers off while I was raking over the raised garden beds.  I planted three kinds of lettuce and two varieties of peas. Poking around the flower and herb gardens I noted chives, chickweed, yarrow, lady's mantle, and the exasperating rhubarb all showing signs of new life.

And just like that, the waiting is over.  Even if the frost lingers in the mornings or the rains are thick and snow-like, the tide has turned toward spring. There is no going back now. Today the sunrise and sunset are exactly one minute apart.* It is as close to a Vernal Equinox as we will get. According to the local report the sunset tomorrow will be three minutes later than today - three whole minutes more of light to revel in. Not too shabby after a long, dark winter.

To those who woke to snow this morning - you have my sympathy, and the hope that spring will find you soon as well. It won't be long now.

*And, by "one minute apart" I mean that sunrise was at 7:07am and sunset was at 7:06pm. Although a one-minute day would be something. Perhaps Mondays could be one-minute days?