It is Imbolc and there is still much to do. With one eye, I am following the results out of Iowa and wishing NC had a caucus process because it seems so interesting. With another eye, I am reviewing the Mother Grove Imbolc ritual for Saturday night. But my third eye is set in the past, in the circle of women who came together yesterday for a day-long retreat with holy Brigid.
First, there was soup and bread in the kitchen, holding its richness and nourishment for us. Then there was a small altar set squatly in the snow. And there was a bowl of fire—bright, warm, alive in the center of the circle of women.
We were sitting close together, compressed in the courtyard circle. We shared bits about ourselves and by noon, we had cried together, laughed together, contemplated the mystery of mothers and daughters together. Because mother issues loom so large in the culture that holds us, it invited us to create an alternate motherline that led us straight back to Brigid.
We practiced our healing and our dancing. We wandered in the wood and we listened to the voices both inside and out. There was soup and good bread, and fruit and cookies, too.
The time in the wood was mostly silent. A hawk stooped as the journey began, and the young crone held onto the beloved elder crone for dear life.
By the time the soup was finished, we were a tribe of women, a village of sisters. We ended our time together with smoored candles of Brigid’s sacred Flame and a simple ritual of yarn that wove us wrist-to-wrist into a vessel of magic and healing.
Inspiration. Transformation. Healing. Fire.
I have to set out the Bride’s bed tonight and leave her some of the very best whisky in the house. I do this in love, and also in gratitude for Her goodness, Her presence.
Last night, I had come off a very busy weekend and had a carful of stuff from the retreat. Sundown came and I realized that, not only had I not put out the bhrat but it was somewhere in the full car. I was too tired to go out and find it.
Today, I unloaded the care and put everything away. And as I sit here, I have an image of the bhrat setting in the solarium, waiting to be placed on the wet Appalachian soil of my side yard.
Honestly, I won’t forget it again. As soon as I’ve posted this, I’ll take it out.
But for this moment, my eyes are in the past, considering the power and beauty of these women who are forged in fire, whose souls are sharp steel, who will never again be vanquished. With such an army of glorious and entwined women, what could be accomplished in these Tower Times, in this old and tired world?
Altar in the snow