Reading Elizabeth Ann Bartlett’s beautiful post inspired me to share the following poem. I wrote it many years ago for my friend Lynette Eldridge to honor her love of the darker shorter days of winter.
As a devotee of the Divine Feminine, I have received many gifts that have enhanced and enriched heart, mind and soul. The greatest of these is the friendship of women. I became friends with Nettie during the hours-long drives we made together once a month for nine months from Nevada City, CA to Santa Cruz, CA to prepare for a Vision Quest in the Mojave Desert. Our journeys began in January, in the early morning dark of the short days following winter solstice.
Continue reading “Nettie’s Lament by Christine Irving”
In the version of the calendar I follow, February 1 is the true beginning of spring. That’s because early February is when we can see the light coming back. We know spring is really coming. February opens with a holiday/holy day variously known as Imbolc, Brigid, and Groundhog Day. Imbolc is the name of a traditional Celtic festival. The word is related to milk, possibly ewes’ milk, as lambing starts around this time. Brigid, whose name means “bright one,” is a triple goddess and ruler of (1) the sun and fire (and smithcraft), (2) poetry and inspiration, and (3) healing and medicine. It’s said that the straw left over from making Brigid’s crosses and other charms has healing powers. The newer Brigid is the Catholic saint who refused to marry and became a nun. And, of course, Groundhog Day is a secular holiday that uses helpless animals to make silly predictions. (But the movie is good.)
February (from the Latin word februa, which mean purification) gives us opportunities to become both enlightened and endarkened (yes, another word I invented).
ENLIGHTENMENT: “You light up my life.” A charismatic person “lights up the room.” When we become aware of something, the “lights go on” or we suddenly “see the light.” In cartoons, a light bulb turns on over the head of the guy who has the idea. Conversely, we call someone who isn’t enlightened “a dim bulb,” or maybe we say, “The lights are on but nobody’s home.”
Continue reading “Seeking Enlightenment? Let’s Try Endarkenment by Barbara Ardinger”
Actually it comes twice, once in midsummer, the longest day of the year, and once in midwinter, the longest night. Winter Solstice is also known as the first day of winter.
For those of us attuned to the cycles of Mother Earth, Winter Solstice is a time to celebrate the dark and the transformations that come in the dark. Many of the customs associated with Christmas and Hannukah, including candles, Yule logs, and trees decorated with lights were originally associated with Winter Solstice. The extra pounds put on during winter feasting were insulation against the cold winter nights.
Those who fear that many of the customs of the Christmas season might be pagan are right. As we learn again to honor our place within the cycles of birth, death, and regeneration, we can return these customs to their roots in the circle of life.
Continue reading “Solstice Comes But Once A Year, Now It’s Here! by Carol P. Christ”