Imbolc

wheelofyear

The Celtic Wheel of the Year is a celebration of the turning of our beloved planet Gaia.  It is separated into 8 holy days or holidays based on the Solstices and Equinoxes known as the quarter days, and the midpoints between, known as the cross quarter days.

The quarter days are…

Yule- December 20-23rd  (Winter Solstice)

Ostara- March 19-22nd (Vernal/Spring Equinox)

Litha- June 19-23rd (Summer Solstice)

Mabon- September 21-24th (Autumnal Equinox)

The Cross quarter days are…

Samhain-October 31st-November 1st (Halloween)

Imbolc-February 2nd (Candlemas)

Beltaine-May 1st(May Day)

Lughnasadh-August 1st (Lammas)

The Wheel of the Year according to the Celts begins at Samhain.  It is in the darkness that the seed of life and change is planted in minds and spirit.  As many of you have expressed your desire to be more educated on this matter, I will start with Imbolc as it is the Holiday that stands directly before us.

Imbolc (pronounced i-MOLK or i-MOLG )

Imbolc is a holy day connected to the Goddess Brighid/Bridget.  It also a time of weather divination and preparing for spring.  For many it was and is a celebration of hearth and home.  A time of honoring the first signs of spring as the light becomes noticeably longer & the Ewes begin to give birth.

Brighid is one of the oldest Celtic goddesses.  She was so beloved by the Irish that they refused to put her aside when Catholicism/Christianity made its mark, and was hence transformed into Saint Bridget by the Catholic church.  Brighid is a triple faced goddess, but not in the maiden/mother/crone way.  Her triple aspects are that of -Inspiration-poetry, song, divination, witchcraft & fertility/Smithcraft-she is the goddess of the forge/Healing-Herbalism, medicine, etc…All three of her aspects are connected to the element of fire making her a fire goddess.  When honoring Bridgid at this time fire is recommended, whether it be a blazing bonfire or a simple candle.  Other traditions include weaving  Bridgids eye and/or Bridgids crosses.

When honoring Imbolc at home the hearth is seen as sacred or blessed at this time.  So if you have a woodstove or fireplace, make sure to light it and give honor to the fire within us as well as the fire without that keeps us warm as we transcend the last months of winter.  It is also a time to celebrate with dairy products to acknowledge the onset of spring.  Ewes often come into their milk at this time and it is seen as one of the signs of spring around the corner.  From a spiritual perspective this is a potent time of divination on the year to come and of planning, setting forward our desires to be planted at the Spring Equinox.

The weather divination aspect of Imbolc is where we get Ground Hogs day from.  Traditionally at this time of year wise women would look for signs of spring.  Had the badgers come out of their den (groundhogs here in the US).  It’s important to note that our weather is a little behind living in the frozen tundra of Vermont.  In Scotland they see Imbolc as the day of the Hag.  They believed she collected her fire wood for the rest of winter on this day…so if the day was beautiful it meant we had a longer stretch of winter ahead of us as she had time to collect more wood.  If you have an interest in Weather Divination you might want to

research Nephomancy and chiromancy. 

Nephomancy is the art of studying the size and shape of clouds in divination and Chiromancy is something most of us have done since childhood, interpreting the picture we see in the clouds.  Another form of weather divination is called

Anemoscopy, which is the art of studying the wind and its patterns.

I have lived by and celebrated the Wheel of the Year for almost 20 years.  When we work with the forces of Nature our work is easier.  At Imbolc nature is at a time of waking up…just getting ready to pull back the covers and get out of bed.  We all know that the time before waking is powerful, as the spirit of creativity (Awen) is strong.  My personal celebration of Imbolc has always been one of inspiration, lighting my internal fire and preparing for growth.  I encourage you to explore this subject more fully…go online, read books and articles and decide how you can best incorporate this into your own life.

Spreading love-

salicrow

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Self Love

Love-QuotesThis is a year of transition.  It began by carrying forward the consciousness opening energy of 12/21/2012 (Winter Solstice) and the galactic line up of the solstice sun with the center of the galaxy.  This energy does not come about everyday, every year or even every life time…in fact it hasn’t happened in 26,000 years.  In my opinion the most important thing we can do with this energy, the number one place to start is learning to love ourselves.  If we are going to transition and evolve let us begin within.

Self love is above all the most important thing you can do for yourself and the world.  When we truly love ourselves we step into our power.  We stop wasting time insulting ourselves and coming up with the hundereds of reasons why we cannot succeed and start thinking about all the ways we can.  We are capable of being more true in our friendships and intimate relationships as we become honest and present.  When we stop tearing ourselves apart we are more willing to take leaps of faith for we stop becoming afraid of failure, we learn to see our failures as part of learning…instead of a sign that we are worthless.  The problem is most people dont know where to begin loving themselves.

Want to take part in this wonderful self transformation…it’s simple and anyone can start without spending a dime.  Here a few things to start you out.   Remember this is your life, don’t spend it hating yourself.

1.  Spend 5 minutes every day saying something good about yourself while standing in front of the mirror.  I know this immediately brings up fear in some of you, and doubt in others.  But the truth of the matter is we have been programmed by the media and the outside world to see how we are not good enough.  How many 2 and 3 year olds do you know who dislike themself?  Why do you think  this is?  It’s because their destructive programming has not  been fully installed yet.  Our brain is like a big computer, it remembers things we can’t even recall with our consciousness.  It buries things deep that damage us, pulling them out to show us again and again…only we don’t always remember where it came from.  I once had a student who told me that she was stupid and she couldn’t even read.  This same student was always talking to me about the things she had learned from the book Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.  I pointed out to her that she had gained this insight by reading.  Her belief that she was stupid and couldnt read had come from a second grade teacher.  She didnt always think about the teacher telling her she was stupid because she struggled to learn to read…What she remembered was I am stupid and I can’t read.  Those hidey holes in our brain create alot of problems as we often take other peoples words and opinions and make them into our own.  By saying positive things about ourself while looking into our own eyes we can begin to reprogram our brain to tell us things that are true…things we believe about ourself.  Even if all you can say to begin is “I am good with animals”, its a start.  Soon you will find more and more positive things about yourself.

2.  Volunteer…it has been proven that people who help others are happier, healthier and have a greater sense of purpose.  When we help others we can see our own light shining and making a difference in the world around us.  We are tribal by nature, we seek the connectiveness of the whole.

3.  Step out of abusive relationships…I don’t just mean intimate relationships, but friendships and family relationships as well.   We do not have to stay connected to friends and family who put us down, or make us feel small.  That is not a true friendship.  Often in life we stay connected to people just because we have history with them.  I am not telling you to turn your back on friends in need, but simply that it is not real friendship if the people you are associating with do not respect you.  If they treat you poorly, insult you, tell you you are not good enough, take advantage of your generosity with no balance or giving back simply let it go.  You do not need to make a big scene about it, but choose to do other things with your life.

This is asimple place to start, but it is far more complex then it seems.  It will take diligence and commitment, but you can do it.  Love yourself & love the world.

spreading love-

salicrow

Natures Magnificents

treespirit

I am in love with Nature. Now that is not to say that I am a back country enthusiast, but none the less I find Solace and inspiration in the beauty of Gaia (Mother Earth). There are many places that strike me with awe when I witness them and many of them I have the good fortune of living close to. I grew up in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire with avid hikers for parents. This being said we spent a lot of time in and around the Crawford Notch, one summer we even lived in a campground near there. The rawness of the Notch with its steep cliffs and deep valley still fill me with adoration. I have traveled through the Notch quite often recently on my way from Vermont to Maine to visit my son & am often overcome with the realization of how great the power of creation is, how small I am in the scheme of things and how unknown things still have small pockets to live in not far from the world of man. These are the places that pull me, the places where the wild has more sway then the tame. Here I find Awen.

Awen is the spirit of creativity, the divine spark, the sudden inspiration that fills you with awe. I have had this same experience in other places, like Willoughby Lake which is just a few miles from me. That lake with it’s steep cliffs keeps itself wild by its simple nature which leaves very little room for man to build upon. I guess I could say the wild inspires me. For it is teaming with Spirits of Nature that few seldom see. On my own property I have many sacred spaces: A large circle in the front meadow where I hold ceremony alone and with others, a private sacred space near the back of my house with my personal alter dedicated to the Goddess Freyja, and the wild space…the large outcropping of White Quartz behind my house where the fae are close.

Inspiration touches me through nature and the wild creatures that live there. I am not stirred with the desire to write poetry, or sing songs…but these places in Nature inspire me to wake others up. To shake them out of their slumber and point out the Nature Spirit they did not see. Take a good look at the picture that goes with these words. Look closely at the red patch of leaves in the center of the photo, allow your eyes to soften…see the Spirit of Nature that posed so nicely. I am in awe of Nature, I am in love with Nature & I am inspired by Nature and the unseen world….Awen!

spreading love-Salicrow