One of the best-kept secrets about being a Wiccan is that it's really important to "pay attention" to the changing seasons. Sure, everyone knows that Wiccans "worship nature" and "celebrate seasonal holidays." But the actual practice of being a witch involves paying daily attention to small (but vastly important) details such as the quality of light, tiny buds on trees, the smell of the night air, the color of clouds, the first bold bud to push up from underneath the frost-hardened ground. If you only notice the changes 8 times a year, you're missing out on the other 357 days of wonder and amazement and calm and excitement and tiny changes and pure, unadulterated attention.
I was reminded this week of the importance of daily practice. Without warning and in a v. hectic and crowded situation, at the end of a long day and too much stress, my brilliant friend E and I were asked to do some v. important magic. We stood in a strange, crowded kitchen, with strangers going back and forth for ice and wine and Goddess knows what, and quickly pulled together an important spell with salt, and water, and a plastic bowl. No athames. No oils. No incense. No robes. No dancing drums. Surrounded by strangers who, open and receptive as they were, had never, ever experienced magic, ever before.
And, as E began the grounding, my heart was pounding, my monkey mind was chattering, my ego was demanding attention. And, then, it happened. The daily practice took over. I knew, even in that strange basement, how the Earth felt to my roots in January close to the Potomac, how the sky felt to my branches beneath the waning winter moon, where I was, what I was doing, who I am. Years of the Ha Prayer clicked into place. My daily prayer: "I am a manifestation of the Goddess. Mother, help me to grow into my better self," effectuated itself and I was "there," in sacred space, a daughter of the Moon, a priestess of the Great Mother Earth, ready to do the magic that I'd been called upon to do. I called East and West and Athenae and did what the Goddess needed done in that moment, in that place, for those women, in that perilous time. E called South and North and Lilith and did what the Goddess needed done in that moment, in that place, for those women, in that perilous time. And, it worked. The magic took over and the magic happened and the magic worked. Perfectly. In the "real" world, on a demonstrable level, observable.
I was also reminded of the joys of working in a circle. E and I have been doing magic together, come dark moon, come full moon, come cross quarter days, come solstice, come equinox, come what may, for several years now. It's a joy and a delight and a deep, coursing undercurrent to my daily practice to know that I work within a circle, that I can trust these few women with my secrets, my self, my fears, my magic, my power, my cares, my loves. To know that I can lean back upon that circle and draw from it and find myself placed geographically, between the worlds, within that magical working.
And, so, I am delighted to trip over the web and find women all over the world honoring Brighid the Bright, preparing for Imbolc, noting the changing seasons, turning the wheel of the year. A witch's job is to turn the wheel and round and round the wheel does turn. Feel free to note in comments any blogs honoring Brighid and I'll try to add them here in updates.
A blessed Imbolc to you and to your daily practice. It's all Goddess pouring Goddess into Goddess.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."