Friday, February 1, 2008

Endless fresh starts!

I love the idea of the Chinese New Year, it means we get a second chance to make resolutions, if they've gone awry in January! The Chinese New Year is on February the 12th. Meanwhile, we have a New Moon early next week, today is the first of the month (always a good time to take stock of how a year is progressing), plus this is the time of Imbolc.


'The festival of Imbolc lies between the 1st and 3rd of February. Originally dedicated to the goddess Brigid. Fire and purification are an important aspect of this festival. Brigid (also known as Brighid, Bríde, Brigit, Brìd) is the goddess of poetry, healing, fertility, fire and smithcraft (and is associated with holy wells, sacred flames, and healing.) The lighting of candles and fires represents the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.' (Wikipedia)

'Imbolc was one of the cornerstones of the Celtic calendar. For them the success of the new farming season was of great importance. As winter stores of food were getting low Imbolc rituals were performed to harness divine energy that would ensure a steady supply of food until the harvest six months later.

Imbolc is still a special time for Pagans. As people who are deeply aware of what is going on in the natural world they recognise that there is strength in cold as well as heat, death as well as life. The Horned God reigns over the Autumn and Winter and and although the light and warmth of the world my be weak he is still in his power.

Many feel that human actions are best when they reflect the actions of nature, so as the world slowly springs back into action it is time for the small tasks that are neglected through the busy year. Rituals and activities might include the making of candles, planting spring flowers, reading poetry and telling stories.'

'Imbolc comes after Midwinter Solstice or 'Yule' when the Earth is as far away from the Sun as it ever gets. This is a time of stasis for the land and the life under its surface. As Pagans, we bring trees into our houses and decorate them with dried fruit and garlands and go wassailing (blessing the winter trees with mead and singing them songs to 'wake them up'). It's a time to think about how the trees might seem to die but also that, when the Sun's warmth comes back to the land, they will spring back to life.

For Pagans this is a time for looking at the seeds which were planted in winter and looking at our lives to see how our own little seeds are doing. In many ways the tradition of a new year's resolution is an echo of these Pagan rites. When we bless the sleeping tree at Yule we are imbuing it with our hopes and ambitions for the coming year. At Imbolc those seeds are beginning to show signs of life and need nurturing. Pagans find this time of year one of quiet introspection and an opportunity to look at our intentions and possibly also problems we might have, like weeds in the universal flower bed.'

I love the idea of singing to the trees to wake them up!

The Renewal Time:

This time of year is known as The Renewal Time in Native American Earth Medicine, another time of new beginnings. 'A time for refreshment and renewal, this is a potent stage in the year's cycle. That which appeared to have departed is reborn and begins to wax again and the turn of the Wheel of Life will soon indicate the new life which is now promised. The Festival of Rebirthing (Yule) symbolised the coming back to life not just of the physical Sun, but the newly-risen sun of one's own individual self.'

This time of year is seen to be influenced by the North Wind, symbolising purity and renewal, hidden internalised power, works unseen and unfelt, patience , inward growth, renewal of mind and body. 'The power of the North, represented by some tribes as the buffalo (seen as the great renewing force of sustenance and security) is effective on all levels of existence.'

'It is the power of a new mind, refreshed and alert and fast-acting after sleep, and empowered with knowledge and wisdom. It is the power of a beautiful body, nourished and strengthened after sustenance. It is the power of a revived spirit, free to wander and explore and experience without limitation. It is the power of new thought, new ideas and the newness of life.' (Earth Medicine by Kenneth Meadows)

So, it's a great time of for new starts. Or for renewing flagging resolutions!

New Month Resolutions:

I have learnt something (purely by accident) this year, about New Year's Resolutions. I usually make a few, which dissipate during January, but this year I only made one. At least I only wrote one down. I had a few in mind but writing only one down has let me focus on it, so I have managed to keep up! I said I'd write on here every day. I haven't exactly written every day, but I have written 31 posts in January.

It made me realise I usually set myself up to fail by making a string of crazy resolutions and keeping none. Now I feel very pleased with myself. And having stuck to this one, I can now make another one ... perhaps I should make one every month.

This month's resolution is to submit one article and one short story.

It's a good job I didn't make 'keeping the house uncluttered' a resolution ...

Ways to Celebrate This Time of Year:

I love the fact that Brigid is the goddess of poetry and healing. A great goddess for writers!

Meditating on closure and the power of new beginnings, perhaps with a candle or open fire, would be a lovely thing to do at this time of year.

Or gazing at a snowstorm.

Or going for a long walk in the countryside. If not singing to trees, at least sending them good thoughts! (If you find something lovely, you could use it as a renewal talisman.)

Or writing a poem.

Perhaps planting some seeds in the garden, or growing bulbs or herbs on a windowsill.

I hope you have all had a healthy and positive start to the year.
And I wish you a very happy and productive February! x


Does anyone know how to stop text being squashed? I hope it won't happen when I post this, but have sometimes had problems with vanishing spacing (see last post, unless it has let me edit it properly since I wrote this!)

And could someone please explain how to hide a link address within a word in the text, please ... my blog is so messy!


Moondreamer said...

And now there's too much bloomin' spacing ...

Oh well, at least it's easier to read, even if it still doesn't look very tidy!


aliqot said...

Hi moondreamer. I love the idea of all these fresh starts too. In fact I've lifted your info on Imbrolc to put on the Writers' Dock website. In the Poets Café of course.

Oh, if you think your desk and room look cluttered, I'm not posting a picture of mine. Maybe in two weeks, when I've cleared it. ;-)

I had to ask Sally about posting links, so I'll copy the section of her email for you (Thanks Sally
;-) )

In posts, you can just write the words i.e. Writers Dock, select it all, then click on the logo which is of earth with a chain link on it. It brings up a box in which you can then put the correct link, but all that shows up on the posting are the words 'Writers Dock' highlighted.

I can't seem to cut and paste, though I can drag and drop from Word.
Does that make sense?

Moondreamer said...

Fantastic, thank you ali, thank you Sally! I'll try that.

And I must check out Writers' Dock, something I have been meaning to do, having read it on your blog. I got distracted again today, by your fab website!


HelenMH said...

This is great. I love all the stuff about renewal. And the idea of making a new resolution each month. Which reminds, me I must review the ones I made at the beginning of January and see if I've kept them.