Yielding time

It’s Imbolc and my garden is yielding flint. Rock is floating, resting on the soil that is sighing with its first breath… this time, so much is resting on the small signs. Life is here, it is happening and taking shape. That flint, heavy and cool in hand, is seeking the light. Flint, out of which we make weapons, with which we build shelters, by which we summon fire; is rising.

This moment, this year is like no other I remember, I have always hungrily awaited the brave blossoms and sweet tubers, succulent and vulnerable… And yet, I am harvesting flint. Strength, indomitability, promise that that which is emerging from the deepest part of our earth, ourselves, will be seen, will lend its gifts to the season of promise and of new beginnings. The darkness of deepest winter is behind us, despair and folding in, chaos in the dark. It is from this slumbering time which we must rise, upward, always focused on the Light. Resolute and propelled by the dark and secret earth, we move in trust. Faith informs action, ignited by the awareness that we must move forward; there is no going back. Though our creations are as yet undetermined, they are our own and we have an opportunity to shape our future.

Brigid is Mistress of the Forge and so she calls us to forge anew, to create a way of healing and new life. We live in uncertain times and life is demanding our presence, not as passive onlookers but as participants. The urge for new life is quickening and we have choices to make, weighty ones. What will we dedicate our energies to? What will we fashion from these gifts of earth and fire? imbolc-flint

Spring Equinox and The Solar Eclipse

In the words of Bob Dylan… “I feel like I’ve been through a kind of thing, man”

As ever, the poet is succinct and on task. These past few weeks have been FULL of an un-precedented amount of clearing; letting go of old and out-worn identities, habits, relationships – you name it! Lots of colds and flu’s cropping up, landing us in the no-man’s land of lurghie as our bodies re-tune to the change in season and energies which have been heralded by the conclusion of the seven-part out-playing of Pluto square Uranus over the past three years. So much has been revealed!

Here we are poised on the very brink of a whole new ‘thing’.

Tomorrow is Spring Equinox and is a particularly unusual one as it coincides with a Solar eclipse.

The astrology is important as it points us in a direction that will piggy-back on the energies of this time.

I’m going to speak to these two phenomena separately, with the understanding that nothing happens in isolation and so are inextricably linked with one another.

The Spring Equinox occurs at 0 degrees Aries, every year, without fail. This year it falls on March 20 at 10:45pm GMT. The equinox is when we enjoy the experience of perfect balance, equal day and equal night. It is an invitation to find balance, peace and to mark the crossing of a threshold into new life, growth and development. We are emerging from the primordial soup and collective unconscious of Pisces into a self-actualizing, focused, goal-orientated Aries expression.

Typically in our celebration of the wheel of the year we pause and acknowledge the shift in energy.
So, we’ll pause now and prepare to take ACTION. Actions that typify this festival are cleansing and clearing, not ‘just’ through reflection and metaphorically, but also physically. This is the time for a Spring Clean, time to open the cupboards and take everything out; review it. Has our food, our sustenance literally passed it’s ‘USE BY’ date?! Are these clothes still an accurate expression of who we are now? Is that project, long forgotten at the back of the shed, still relevant?

Emerging from Pisces and the watery, mystical world of creativity and illusion is always a bit of a shock. Nature is burgeoning and we are feeling the pull of longer days, warmer winds. Our noses are drawn inexorably above the parapet! It’s been a brutal winter, in some ways, such a lot of turbulence and the heaviness of the winter months has weighed us down. Time for a good clear out! Rousing us from a dream-time, our bodies may be feeling a little achy, unused to movement and the on-rush of sap. When ‘cleanses’ are embarked upon, fasting aids in the re-tuning of our digestive systems and enables us to process the new life force, on all levels. It’s a perfect opportunity to re-assess ourselves, our lives and our vision for the coming year.

The actions that take place at this time of year are not limited to clearing and cleansing though, this is also a time to avail ourselves of the yielding earth and to plant seeds in anticipation of a harvest at the Autumn Equinox.

What seeds will we plant? What have the past months of dark, quiet, dream-time brought forth to be transformed into matter? What have you dreamt of?

Inevitably, when I prepare to celebrate the Turn of the Wheel, I discover something that I have never considered before. My revelation for this Equinox is about the God, Mars. Associated with March (natch!) and war; strife, blood shed, anger and force. I’ve never chosen to invest too much energy with this deity. Lately, I’ve been challenged to really get to grips with the value of this ‘killing machine’. I have discovered however, that though I always thought of Ares (Greek) and Mars (Roman) were interchangeable, it emerges that they were slightly different, in motivation, if not expression. Ares is, in fact, a God of War and fulfills the profile of war-monger and brute. Mars, on the other hand, was originally an agricultural God who rose to prominence ‘in defence’ of his dominion, land, crops and community. I am splitting hairs, but it occurs to me that there is a very different quality to this expression.

So, how do we harness the energy of Mars; sheer, passionate force dedicated to protection and preservation of that which sustains us? When I ask this question I can see how we could immediately be drawn into a border skirmish resulting in the kinds of wars that are waged over resources and territory. For the purposes of this Equinox, I invite you to re-imagine an expanded version of what ‘sustains us’ and by that I mean our environment, nature, the planet or (an aspect of) The Goddess. Delicate, vibrant, nourishing, beautiful and powerful, our planet, as an embodied expression of the Goddess, is calling forth her consort, Mars, to battle those forces that would decimate her, to restore balance. It is only through the dynamic inter-action of the feminine and masculine that new life can be created and sustained.

A super-charged opportunity to manifest presents itself and looms large in our energetic and cosmological field at the moment. It is the Solar Eclipse combined with a New Moon in Pisces. This ‘event’ will take place at 9:36am GMT. It will be visible in parts of northern Europe.

A New Moon is associated with new beginnings and the seeding of intentions for growth and development, when it is found in Pisces it usually has an artistic or spiritual flavour. Meditations on what it is that we are wanting to ‘grow’ and harvest at the full moon (in two weeks time) are a powerful way to set our internal compasses in the direction of manifestation. When the sun is in Pisces and is eclipsed by the moon there is also a very strong emphasis on service (an attribute of Virgo), as in service to ‘the other’. Eclipses involve the occultation of the sun and as such have a longer journey to make to reach it’s optimal state. The essence of this occurrence is that we have the usual effect of seeding new projects/intentions but, energized and extended in significance AND in time of ripening. |The Piscean influence will be felt as spiritual and faith-based ventures will emerge.

Take time to ‘tune in’ to your quiet self, be mindful of what you wish for and be prepared to ACT on it in order to yield an abundant harvest!

Blessed Equinox and Eclipse Everyone!

Brigid’s Belly is Buckling!

There’s fire within and once again the stirring of the season is making the yearning for life known to us all. Brigid is tending the forge and though the crust is cool and the winds can be bitter, the life within is palpable.

New shoots, true signs that our season of slumber is drawing to a close; dark nights are receding and we are being coaxed into the light. Dreams hover ever more closely to the surface and we are gently ushered into wakefulness – potent and potential in the coming year.

It feels different than before, this year feels more pliable somehow, more elastic, promising change and growth in unexpected ways. Every new year has it’s unique promise and this one speaks to a sense of movement, quickening.

What withered husks must be shed in order for the fires of new life and inspiration to shine forth? We are urged now to begin those tentative steps toward the realization of un-manifest dreams.

Brigid guides us surely as she holds sway over the arts of healing, poetry and smith craft. Letting go of and surrendering that which no longer serves us, reveals a new level of vulnerability and of strength. It is a true kind of healing that reaches beyond mere restoration, moving us forward fearlessly into new versions of ourselves; a whole-r sense of who we are. The poet, echoing the voice of the mystic, seeing and revealing what is to become before it has found its final form. The words you choose conjure your next creation into being and you are being urged to listen muse and be inspired. Conversations with Spirit find their expression in many forms and most surely by the pen of the poet. What whispering have you been privy to in your wintery repose?

And now the final piece (they always come in threes!) The forge is fired and the hammer is calling for your hand… you are entering ‘the fashioning time’, wielding, wrestling, gripping and hammering the material of life into it’s new rightful expression.

Each of us is charged to renew our resolve, stir from our sleep and listen heart-fully to the yearnings of a creative spirit. It is no small thing to pledge yourself to creation, it will call upon all your resources and yes, you will  be changed!

Blessed Imbolc, may the fires burn brightly and light your way!New shoots

Samhain- The Veiled Door and That Which Abides


Here we are hurtling forth, in descent, into darkness, into chaos and into the unknown of the underworld of long nights. There is no turning back, the harvest is gathered…the crops are in and the herds have been culled. Time now to examine our inner resources, to account for the growth of this last cycle and decide what we will sacrifice, let go of and what we will gather within to carry us through until the new growth of Spring reveals it’s possibilities. We cling to notions of who we are and what we do in the world as though they were the truth. In the news much of what we see or hear about is the crumbling decay of many of our institutions, public figures and our environment. We are seemingly on a collision course with the end-times. Given that so much energy is devoted to tending our bodies, staving off the inevitable, feeding our various appetites…paying taxes, organizing, striving, how do we succeed in NOT succumbing to despair and hopelessness?

Samhain or Halloween is the third of the harvest festivals in the Celtic calendar, it is a time when fears are made conscious; when the physical world is muted and the we are invited to glimpse beyond the veil. Contrary to popular belief it is NOT a celebration of death. In this feasting of the ancestors we have our opportunity not only to remember those who have ventured before us, but also a time for us to be reminded of the door between this human incarnation and a much larger experience of life. As with each of the holidays we consciously take ‘time out’ to release our grip on this imagined reality and glimpse something far bigger, this is the sacrifice that is demanded of us in this harvest…

Traditionally Samhain is where we ‘meet and greet’ our beloved ones who have passed away. We honour and remember them with stories and food – a welcome chair at our table. It is not just about celebration and remembrance that we gather though, it is a time to remember our own (im)mortality. The darkness is upon us and we in the northern hemisphere are certainly experiencing decline in light and warmth – a drawing in. Our awareness of our intangible and immortal spirit through the links we have forged and maintained with our ‘Gone Befores’ as we sit, feast, remember and commune with them is strengthened; we can, at this time, reach across and know the truth of endless spirit by the one true portal – that of loving connection. This festival provides us with an quiet space in which to reflect on what is real and what is imagined and that which abides.

Blessed Samhain!

Fair Harvest – Just Desserts

And so the Wheel turns and we approach Mabon, Autumn Equinox and the second of the harvest festivals in the year. It is the sacrifice of the animal, just as Lammas marks the harvest of the vegetative God, here we are confronted with the hard decisions that need to be made in terms of the herd…the old, the sick, the weak must be separated out and killed so that the community can eat, so that precious resources are not used to feed and maintain that which is not strong. It can be a ruthless sort of selection, one that is familiar for the Goddess. There is grief here too, for all that was sown and did not thrive. Seeds must be selected and saved, guarded carefully to ensure another year’s fruit. It is time now for reflection upon the harvest of our dreams and plans, winnowing of experience and savouring the blessings; mourning the losses.

Mabon is celebrated when the Sun moves to 0° Libra, like Spring Equinox, it is a balance point of the year. For the past month, Virgo has been transited and now we approach the changing time between very different energies: Virgo with it’s discerning, discriminating, critical and preparatory nature moving into Libra’s balance, accentuating harmony, appreciation of beauty, an emphasis on relating and the ‘other’.

‘Fair’ and ‘Just’ are words that are inherently Libran. Ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Beauty and of Love we can understand ‘fair’ in it’s context of balance, symmetry and harmony. Libra’s symbols are the Scales…the Scales of Justice, where every thing, act, and thought is weighed in relation to the ‘other’ and balance is demanded.

This moment between Virgo’s harvest and Libra’s balancing act is ruled by the element of water, a reflective element. It is also an element that is essentially always seeking its own balance. Water’s reflective quality offers us a mirror, to see our beauty and also to see ourselves as we are. This ‘still point’ offers us a bit of a reality-check, an opportunity to see what actions need to be taken to bring about balance and rectification, the active principles of Libra that will prepare us more fully for the descent into the dark part of the year.

The caution is that we don’t over-indulge in the newly realized wealth of the harvest, that we guard against collapsing ourselves into the warmth and moistness of the golden days of the season. These ‘Indian Summers’ can lull us into a kind of sleepy forgetfulness. Beauty, harmony and appreciation of the receptivity of the feminine can invite a certain indolence. Now we are bidden to move from the somewhat austere measures of Virgo to create a new-found sense of balance in our lives. There is so much beauty, such bounty, fair dues.

The Equinoxes and Solstices are magical moments that are out of time, a bridge between two seasons.

Peer into the water and take time to celebrate. Blessed Mabon!red-autumn-leaves-water

Lammas, Insurance Policies and Fear

Lammas, as all of the other holidays, demarcates the tipping point and heralds the movement and changes that will characterize the coming weeks.

Traditionally, Lammas, one of the cross-quarter festivals is associated with Fire, sacrifice and blood. It finds its place opposite Imbolc on the wheel of the year. As Imbolc is the time of first shoots and stirrings of life following the Winter Solstice, Lammas marks the first harvest, following the Summer Solstice. Each of these cross-quarters contain within them the element of RISK. Imbolc’s new shoots are easy prey to the threat of frost and snow and Lammas’ ‘almost-but-not-quite-ripe’ crops are at the mercy of potential rains, blight and hail.

We are here now, poised in the slow, languid days of summer where everything in nature is beginning its inexorable journey inward and down. The seeds are ripening, growing thicker and making the imperceptible shift into a condensed and potent form – seed that will be harvested for food, stored for later use and some portion thereof retained for the planting next Spring. This very seed is our insurance policy, insuring us against hunger in the cold days and nights of winter, insuring another year, another cycle of sustainability.

Insurance the halfway mark between hope and fear; hope that ‘enough’ will be realized as we move toward reaping and fear, an awareness that all can still be lost, in the blink of an eye, to the ravages of wind and hail.

Insurance is not a new notion though our ancestors made a bid for it – in a manner of speaking – through prayer, gratitude and sacrifice rather than policies and contracts. Insurance hinges upon the notion of a future outcome or potential threat to security. Sacrifice is an acknowledgment of our connection to all life and gratitude is based on the remembrance of the past, expressed in the moment’s eternal NOW.

There is no such thing as a guaranteed outcome – as much as our fear-based consumer society would like us to believe there might be; there is only the present – ever-evolving, ever-cycling, the truth of what IS.

In the face of this we can give thanks, acknowledge that we have thus far been carried by the grace of Life itself, to this moment and that this same moment will undoubtedly usher us forth into the next moment. By acknowledging our place in the continuum of life and its inevitable growth and decline, fear dissolves and we are free to breathe each breath and embrace each moment.

Blessings on the first harvest!