It snowed several inches last night, but today's sun, and temperatures in the low 40s, melted much of it. An almost perfect day for astrological Imbolc. I slept in and did conference calls and answered emails and read cases from home, my snug little cottage in the Potomac watershed. I'd gone out last night and hung suet and peanuts and sunflowers from my euonymus bush, so that the birds could calorie-up before being snowed in. I needn't have worried. I was able to go out on the deck this morning without slipping and pour sunflower seeds on a cleared-off surface for the birds.
And, after the conference calls, I decided to set my altar up outside, albeit that I have a lovely, cozy room set aside in my cottage for ritual. It was sunny and the snow was melting and I figured that, with a sweater and a shawl, I could be comfortable outside for the better part of an hour. My wonderful circle of amazing women did our Imbolc celebration over the weekend, with the full Moon, but this afternoon was just for me, the Witch of this Place, as I announce myself before calling the Quarters and beginning to do the work of a priestess who helps to turn the wheel. I did what witches do and I called to Brigid the Bright and, as I always do on Imbolc, I started my datura seedlings. Datura's poison; don't handle it w/o gloves or some other barrier and always wash your hands afterwards. But the flowers are pure white, and they smell of lemon drenched in vanilla, and, in the late summer, they open in the moonlight. The seeds take a long time to germinate; you plant them and water them and give them light and then you always think: this batch is a dud; they're not going to germinate, nothing wic here. And, then, long after you've given up, the first green sprouts appear.
I did what I do in circle and I charged the tiny peat pots and the lovely little seeds and I planted the seeds in the peat pots and charged the whole thing and then I looked up. On the deck, were about a dozen birds of all sorts, including both the cardinal and the blue jay, who never show up together. They didn't mind me and they didn't mind my iPhone playing music and they didn't mind the pinon incense and they didn't mind the 7 different candles burning. They were just there to help to turn the wheel because, well, because the wheel needs turning and they live here, too.
May Spring begin in your heart and move outwards from there into the world. May the beautiful poison thing in you bloom and perfume the world. May all the winged dragons of your special place attend you. May you become the priestess of your own bit of Earth.
This is my will. So mote it be.
Photos by the author. If you copy, please link back.
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 . . . ."