Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?
Gardeners love to talk about the bones of their garden, especially at this time of year. By "bones", they mean the naked trees, stark walkways, walls, mulched spots, and other permanent features, which somehow seem to stand out very clearly once all the flowers and leaves go away (and a dusting of snow, such as the one we had this morning, can make the bones even more visible). It's a perfect time to be out (albeit, bundled up) in the garden, spending time with it, learning from it, sitting in silence with it, and figuring out why some things work and some other things maybe don't. If it's not slippery outside, I'm bundled up and outside in my garden every dawn and every evening this time of year. It's absolutely the best thing I've ever found to do before I begin the process in January of perusing the garden porn (seed catalogues) and figuring out what I "need" for next Spring.
And I think the same is true of this time of year vis-a-vis our lives. Although December is often a time of too much rushing around, getting ready for holiday parties, baking, buying gifts, running ourselves ragged, trying hard to ignore the dark, sometimes even in December the weather intervenes and keeps us at home, inside, with our own thoughts and our own lives for company. And January and February, even more so. I have a hunch that, as global climate change brings us more intense Winters and as tax cuts for billionaires make it more and more difficult for towns and counties to clear streets, we may find ourselves spending more days snowed in than has been our previous wont.
Sure, you can spend your snow days in front of the tv or buying more stuff online.
Or, you can stop. Bundle up by grounding. Cast a circle. Sit with the bones of your own life and figure out why that wall makes perfect sense but that walkway needs straightening. Listen to your life and figure out which shrubs need to get rooted out and where you need to plant a new vine.
Spread a teaparty on the table and invite your Shadows in for a one-hour tea. Set some ground rules, esp. about leaving when asked, and then ask them what they need you to know.
Pull out all of your old journals and catch up with yourself. Can you see some overarching themes, just as a gardener might realize that her garden really is about simplicity and that's why those fussy roses have never quite worked?
What indoor activity puts you into a meditative state of mind? The treadmill? Folding laundry? Kneading bread or chopping vegetables for soup? Painting, throwing pots, dancing? For me, it's knitting, I can sit and knit and find myself deep in worthwhile insights.
Do a tarot reading and then take a nap, announcing your intention to dream the reading into your life. Cast the runes, stare into the fireplace flames, scry in the bowl of melted snow.
The plants in our gardens give themselves this time to pull back and go within so that they can survive the Winter weather and come back stronger in the Spring. Between now and Ostara, it's a gift that we can give ourselves, as well.
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 . . . ."