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Posts Tagged ‘ritual’

Jack-O-Lantern, standing (sitting?) sentinel for the night

Colcannon, beer and trick-or-treater goodies.

Tarot reading. It was confusing. It'll take some time to decipher.

Remembering the beloved dead and promising that I'd tell their stories

A prayer and dedication for myself, as well.

Cakes (pumpkin muffins) and ale (Harvest Moon) for myself, and an offering of thanks and remembrance

Is Halloween creepy because we make it so in our minds? Is it our culture, our psychology? I don’t know. But something about the first drop in temperature and rustling leaves makes you feel like something other is nearby, right at hand. Almost palpable.

Yesterday was like that for me. I don’t know if it was a real intuition or just cultural expectation, but the whole day felt a little…? I don’t even know the word. I could say “full”, because the air felt full of…what? I could say “breezy” because it was that, for sure, but there was also a different kind of wind, one that crawled up your neck and rested behind your ears, just on that spot that at once tickles and feels good.

Last night after we shut down our candy operation I went outside on our patio for a short prayer ritual. It took a bit of concentrating to get in the right frame of mind. Once there the night absorbed me for a while. I prayed and read the Tarot–a confusing reading–and I remembered my relatives. I sat in silence for a while, contemplating the…deity, I suppose?…that has been calling to me. Wanting it to be and wanting it not to be at the same time.

Anyway, so as I was engaged in this silent meditation–and the next thing happened in about ten seconds–I heard something. A rustle. My mind registered it. Then I heard two steps on the dry grass (I shit you not!).

Then? Then I freaked the fuck out and ran inside. My husband gave me a headlamp (hah) and sent me back outside to finish what I was doing. He’s a good man.

Anyway.

So the cakes and ale portion was moved up on the list and I settled into a more comfortable rapport with the deity I was praying to. The evening finished out beautifully. I came inside completely energized and refreshed, but it was the best kind of energy–grounded, contented.

When I have time I’ll talk more about some different spiritual things that have been moving around here. The lead up to Samhain was very important, but as I’ve dedicated myself to National Novel Writing Month I feel like I should honor that engagement.

This whole entry seems so somber! Really. I wish there was video of me freaking out at the possum/spook incident. Any other night I would have…what? What would I have done? Who knows. It sounded like footfalls, and it was probably a racoon coming to eat the pumpkin muffins I set out.

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I’ve known about Imbolc for some time–known that it was a festival/sabbat on the Wheel of the Year and, of course, knew about Groundhog’s Day.  For some reason this year I researched it more, starting a few weeks ago. I think that I made a prenatal appointment on that February 2nd, which triggered a memory recalling that date was also Imbolc, so I looked it up.

Imbolc is a celebration of quiet a conglomerate of different things. The Gaelic speaking Celts celebrated the goddess Brigid and called the festival Oimelc, gaelic for ‘in the ewe’s milk’ or ‘in the belly’, since this time corresponding with lambing and the coming of an ewe’s milk. Brigid, one of the primary goddesses in Celtic myth/legend/pantheon, is the goddess associated with midwifery, poetry, smithing and fire.

In Christian times, the feast became St. Brigid’s Day, as well as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin and Candlemas.  It’s also a time for weather divination, thus Groundhog’s Day (in other countries they have used such animals as snakes and cats).

Also, primarily, Imbolc/Oimelc/etc. is a celebration of the coming of Spring and the end of Winter. Winter snows turn into mid-winter rains, snowdrops and daffodils begin to emerge, lambing commences and the days grow longer. After the darkness of winter the sun begins to emerge.

I noticed early on that my pregnancy and the Wheel of the Year corresponded and thought that it would be neat to make reflections at each Feast Day/Sabbat—just as a method of keeping track. I had no idea that—even at the beginning, at Yule—that it would offer me some kind of hope that I needed. When Yule came I had yet to be in the real throes of first trimester depression. It was the holidays, and though I felt something amiss, I thought it might just be writer’s blues or holiday stress.

After the holidays, though, I actually became depressed. Listless. Unmotivated. Melancholy. Tired. I know that a lot of this can be and is caused by hormones, but even so—as one prone to depression, I don’t take these feelings lightly. As a soon-to-be mother, even less so. Still, at times, it felt perpetual and endless. I didn’t want this baby. I felt put upon, and more so, completely out of my depth. How was I supposed to raise a baby? How…how could I? It seemed an impossible, daunting, awful task. One that, before I became pregnant, I looked to with joy. After…

For the sake of symbolism, November through January was a time of my winter. The days shortened and darkness fell. Even during Yule, which celebrates the birth of the Sun, I didn’t feel it.

However. Weeks passed. I journaled. I wrote. I have an amazing husband. I began a search for a therapist to begin anew work that never should have stopped. We bought a house. I cleaned my house, thoroughly. And, eventually, I began to feel better. I suppose the hormones began to ease, but something else happened. I accepted, at first mentally, but then spiritually that I am going to be a mother. I will give birth. I will have a child. And I am capable of it.

So when February 2nd came I knew that I would be giving thanks. I planned a small ritual, a token of gratitude and honor to the Someone I believe is Up There.

I haven’t done much in the way of prayer or ritual in a very long time. Advent and Christmas felt blank to me and neither did Yule inspire.

But Tuesday felt…amazing. I sat in front of the candles and just prayed to God(dess)/Brigid/Creator/Whomever/Someone for a while and told them all the things I was grateful for. I thanked them for the rains that have graced the Hill Country this winter, for the sweet anticipation of the upcoming wildflowers (can’t wait!), for my baby, for my husband, for hope, and yes…even for winter and depression. Sorrow is the salt to our joy.

I cried while I prayed. I ate bread with almond butter and honey, and drank milk, in honor of Brigid. She seemed very close to me—someone I wanted to honor for childbirthing and storybirthing.  After about 45 minutes or so, I felt released from the ritual. Like I had housekeeping and hearthkeeping to accomplish—which is pretty appropriate given that in Scotland this day is a day of honoring the home.

I haven’t made any conclusions about this yet. But I know that it was important and I’m sure I’ll be mulling it over until my next post.

Until then, happy beginning-of-Spring.

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