There are some nights when you just have to get up and write a blog post…. this seems to be one of them.
Two hours ago I was about ready for bed, sleepy, long day, the usual mundane life tinged with the magical, but even witches need to sleep lol! Evening stables are complete, a much easier evening stables since the investment of a surface capable of keeping the Bedfordshire Clay at bay, and outdoor lighting, transforming our little field from ‘passable’ to ‘hey, it looks cozy and welcoming’ – the lights shining in the damp, mist filled darkness. as the horses pick their way down in the evenings, knowing that feed and warmth awaits. The first lighting in years in the Little Red Mare’s stable came as a stab in the heart, a sharp reminder of who was no longer standing up to her knees in straw munching on hay and feed… but there are the two still here, the Fiery Red Horse and the Big ole Red boy. Those now nod wisely over their doors, or, more likely bang their feet and wave their heads in mock threat of imminent starvation!
The previous year has been filled with huge and incredible change, that’s not ‘change’ in small lower case, sitting quietly on the page, it’s CHANGE!! in huge red letters scrawled on protest banners, it’s the shock of a vote to leave our neighbour countries, it’s the incredulousness of an unknown quantity suddenly elected President of a superpower, it’s the CHANGE of public figures we knew and loved, grew up with, idolised in some cases suddenly reaching the end of their earthly journeys and moving onwards. CHANGE. The very word throws fear into our hearts because, as humans, on the whole we tend to prefer routine and stablity. Do you remember stability? the last twelve months we seem to be feeling it less and less.
Change has also happened in our little corner of the world, the Coven has undergone massive changes in the last few years. Some of them expected, as friends left when age and illness, or difficult decisions, meant they no longer felt they wanted to be as involved in coven life as they had been, others come at you sideways on Coven nights and swipe you into startlement and confusion. and yes let’s be honest, a fair amount of panic!
Suddenly from being ‘one of the number’ I am put forward into a leading role, and with it comes the self doubt, the worry, the sheer panic of how will I do this? A feeling fairly well being echoed in so many ways, both big and small, all over the world recently. How will we cope with this Brexit? How will we cope with the government cuts? HOW will we cope with this new President? For some, how will I cope without this person still in the world. It seemed that everyone I know was affected in some way in the last twelve months, and not little lowercase changes, the sort that cause excitement and hope and joy, but huge great shaking Life Changing ones that cause confusion, withdrawal, worry and added stresses to lives already at full capacity with the pace of modern life.
So, at Imbolc it seems a good time to take up the reins of this blog again, and although I shall be writing from a different point of view, that of leardership rather than a ‘Member’ I hope it will be no less useful for those out there on the path. Over the last few months, (when was it I was last posting regularly?) I’ve thought several times about how to expand it, adding pages for festivals and contact details, and every single time some other big Change has come up and I have had to stay that idea and shelve it again for another time ‘when things settle down’ – ya know what? It’s thinking like that that means we spend half our lives procrastinating about ‘what we will do when the time is right’ the time is NEVER right, I should’ve learned that one around the time of my first Initiation! things ‘weren’t right’ then either, but I said at the time that if we waited then that time would never come, and boy I wanted that Initiation! – looking back I’m fairly sure I might have been mad………. nope, not mad, just keen lol. Seeker, you might want to read that over again, write it down, memorise it… it ought to scare the living bajaysus out of you!
This path changes you – that word again – it changes you in ways you never dreamed, I’ve got a saying in our group that ‘we don’t get challenges that we pre approve’ meaning we dont get what we think we ought to want, we get what we need. Sometimes we Really Wish we didn’t need ’em too (trust me on this) but rest assured, if you walk this path you are, by nature, brave, because the sheer amount of change and development you will go through will leave you standing in some completely alien place to where you started, looking back on that naive, young, wide eyed Seeker and, basically, not even recognising him or her. We are the same people, outside. Older, hopefully wiser, but inside? inside we’ve been to hell and back, probably twice. We’ve doubted, we’ve got cross, sad, emotional, sometimes furious, frequently Blessed, but we’ve also been joyous, amazed, humbled and ultimately awed by the sheer complexity of this path and where it leads you. It truly is Magical.
It’s also an interesting thing that once we are on this path we find others out there, sometimes under our very noses! Our Moot, for the last year or so having been forced through lack of numbers and time, to take a back seat to the rest of coven and mundane life, has suddenly had more interest in the last few months than we have had in years. It seems that the tide is indeed changing again. Perhaps a sign of good Change? I think too that the sheer uncertainty in the wider world has caused some to seek others out, to indeed not wait ‘until the time is right’ or, perhaps, for you, the time really IS right! To those I say please be patient a little more, understand that we have not forgotten the wider community nor abandoned it forever, sometimes families have to adjust to the change within themselves, before they can offer guidance to the change within others. What we can offer is electronic contact so if you have any questions or want to talk things through then do please contact us and we can have a chat, even if, and I do apologise (because this is how I would much rather do things) the warming cup of tea and fresh baked cake will have to be imagined for now.
So we reach Imbolc once again. The text books tell us that it is the ”beginning of the end of winter’ and that although the snow still holds sway, that the first ice melt has begun high in the mountains and shall soon be filling the rivers with the swift flood of spring..” so, who remembers the Great Blizzard of 2017 in the UK then!? MK got what, an inch? Sometimes I think people find it hard to equate what’s in the books with what’s going on in their mundane life, the reality is all too often that the mud is still there, the car still has half an inch of road dirt all over it, the kids still need getting to school and them NOT walking there in the rain would be Really Nice for once, and no one’s got any money either…. It can be hard to stay true to the path faced with all the complications of a mundane life. You try so hard to ‘get it right’ pagan style, but the kids are screaming or are sick, meditation went out of the window when the baby got old enough to toddle, or the animals still need a walk and a cold wet nose has never done anything at all for ‘grounding and centering’ in the history of mediation, climbing off the light fittings isn’t exactly condusive either! But, you know what? that is OK, We all get that feeling of fighting the tide, trying to stay afloat and feeling that Everyone Else has it all under control while we don’t. Trust me. Its not just you!
I’ll tell you what Imbolc is to me. If you’re reading this for the first time we’re country folk here, and we have horses (yeah blog name’s a bit of a giveaway there) and cats, and house rabbits, and a messy house, I like to think an open heart and empathy too, but you’ll have to make your own minds up about that! Horses – with all their associated magical lore and mystical appeal are, by their very nature, good teachers on a mundane level, not in the ‘he spoke to me’ kind of way, but in the observances you make about life when you’re around them. They take a heck of a lot of looking after, of mundane tasks that have to be done, twice a day, day in and day out regardless of weather, illness, crisis or dodgy US voting systems. Anyone that has horses around this area can tell you that the one feature of winter is not the ‘lovely mists and frosty mornings’ its mud. sticky, thick, clinging mud. It drags you down, making even the simple task of ‘walking accross the field’ so many tijmes worse than it ought to be. It gets everywhere, including all over the horse because nature in her infinite wisdom decided that a horse should enjoy a good mud bath at least once a day, and if it’s possible to stick bits of twig and thistle into the mane and tail as well, ensuring any attempt to remove it is accompanied by yelps and swearings under the breath, then all the better. I tell you nothing tests fortitude and devotion to the path like looking after a horse in winter! (now all those of you anti horse or whatever, stick with it, there IS a point to all this..) Winter for the ancients was sheer hard work, I am sure they probably did enjoy the snowy mornings and wintry sunsets just the same as we do, but I bet they were also blimmin cold, wet and just wanted to get their day’s hard graft providing food for the family over with pdq and get back to the fire like the rest of us! How did they mark spring? Well how do we? we go about our everyday lives, and suddenly have that ‘feeling of spring’ That subtle shift of the energies regardless of whether or not we’re walking the magical, pagan path, we look forward to it the minute Yule is over (often before if illness or age make the winter months harder than for most) in mundane life people come back from deep within themselves, they look around, they notice the sunsets, sunrises, gorgeous mists, and, hey, other people! They are reminded of the promise of spring. The mornings currently are typically damp and misty, but in that mist is indeed the beauty of the land and the time of year. The sun may or may not be plainly visible in the sky, but you can feel the slightly warmer temperature, the very mist tells us that the land is beginning to warm up or we’d be getting the frosts that we had in the last few weeks. Look at the trees and bushes around you, there are buds, tiny, likely to be nipped by the next frost, but they’re there. As the books say, Imbolc is a time when winter’s grip begins to lose it’s hold, we begin to shake off the doldrums that winter can bring. We think about emerging from our coccoon Thoughts turn towards plans for ‘when the nights get lighter’ and indeed, that lift of the heart, the planning for the warmer months, and the brightening of the days and also, our thoughts, tells me that Spring is around the corner. Take heart from that fact and begin to live again, in these troubled times perhaps reach out and look for the light rising in each other’s hearts. Just last week I thought I felt the stirrings of spring. The horse’s step on the, then, frozen ground, that bit springier, the sharply pricked ears and the thought that ‘he feels good’ The noticeable warming of the land and the sun. I was once again humbled by the wistom of the Ancients, truly close to the land as in the very week before calendar Imbolc, the lessening of the grip of winter was noticed, and welcomed with joy and love.
Please excuse my ramblings, it’s been a while….
Blessed Be upon your paths whatever they may be!
As the dark of winter tightened it’s grip over the land, the damp and cold got into our hearts, the mud dragged us back and down, unwilling to release it’s grip and every step was a fight, but at Imbolc the warming sun reminds us that that mud may cling now, but it will soon dry, and the grass grow back, what was brown and dark will once more be green and lovely. take hope and look foward to brighter, lighter days. BB