“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.” ~ Jerry Gillies
This year started out as most of you know with a big move from New York to Georgia. We were blessed with a speedy move, immediate availability of housing and our household goods delivered for the most part intact. But, I was still feeling kind of down and out and empty (see “New Beginnings“). By the time the Full Moon had rolled around this year on January 26, I was starting to pick back up a bit and feeling hopeful. I conducted a simple yet very personal and powerful Full Moon Ritual, visualizing all the yuck and muck being transformed into positive energy, peace and Divine love. I made some very personal offerings to the Goddess, thanking Her for the life and blessings She gives us in the hopes of developing an even more serious and intimate relationship and devotion to Her and hoping that She’d open up some opportunities for me as I continue down this path in a new place. One of the wonderful people who follows my blog told me, “Do not fear the empty feeling. Just be with it. It’s there to hold your new beginning.” Words of wisdom my friend, and you have no idea how right you were…
Around mid-January, my friend Carol shared a link with me to a Dianic tradition of Druidry, The Apple Branch (we both have some Dianic tendencies, so obviously she knew I’d find this very interesting) founded by Deanne Quarrie (who I’ve reblogged a few times from Feminism and Religion). She started down that path and a few weeks later, and after some serious consideration and emailing Deanne back and forth describing my interest in Druidry, shamanism, runes, the role of the seiðr and my questions (especially pertaining to their Guardian Program), I too decided to take the plunge and on February 1, I was officially welcomed into The Apple Branch 🙂
So, here we are – at Imbolc. Looking back and reflecting upon where my path started out 9 years ago and where I am right now (obviously 9 being a very sacred number), I really wanted to put a lot of energy into honoring Brighid and thanking Her this year for the blessings that I’ve received thus far. I started out by cleaning the house up, preparing a bed (which I’ve never done before believe it or not), making sure I had a lit candle (well, an LED candle) in the window, and hung my “Brighid’s Mantle” on a bush outside overnight for Her to bless and be used for healing if needed in the year to come. It was also my Flamekeeping shift for Her, so it was extra special.
I had read that it was sometimes customary to have a wooden wand with an acorn or pinecone attached at the tip to represent the God so She wouldn’t get lonely (sounds a bit Wiccan to me, but hey – why not? Who doesn’t like a good cuddle?). Because the bed was small to begin with and I didn’t have a wooden wand handy, I opted for going out back and found a pinecone from one of the pine trees in our backyard instead.
Offerings of milk, bread and honey were left on Her altar. Offerings of sage and lavender were also burned as offering to Her. And yes, She was there 🙂
For Brighid’s Mantle, I used a layered silk wrap skirt I had purchased in TX about 5 years back. This totally reminds me of Her – She is a multi-layered Goddess with both fiery and fertile aspects – bringing the spring and making the land green as She roams.
Now, just a little FYI: Imbolc is a what is considered a Greater Sabbat or “cross-quarter” day. “According to the late and great astrological philosopher Dane Rudhyar, the cross-quarters are points of greatest momentum and release of power…” Bearing this in mind, astrological Imbolc occurred on February 3 this year when the Sun was at 15 degrees of Aquarius. On a very interesting site, “Aepril’s Astrology” she wrote a piece entitled “Prophesy and Purification. Imbolc 2013, in which she states, “…My dear friend Laura says that Imbolc is not the fire itself necessarily, but the moment the match is struck. It is lightning.” (Please pop over there and read the entire piece – it’s illuminating!!!)
Many “matches” and surprises awaited me on Imbolc this year. I made a three hour drive out to Hallowed Oaks Grove, ADF in Birmingham, AL. I was running late, but as I crossed the state line, I saw that they were in a different time zone, one hour behind – thank the Shining Ones! There, I was met with warmth and Southern Hospitality at its finest. Brenda Lively (aka Pixie), the Senior Druid and her husband Dave graciously opened up and welcomed us into their home for a lovely ADF ritual that I actually got to actively participate in. One of the people who was supposed to honor the Earth Mother wasn’t able to make it and I was asked to take their part and honor the Earth Mother which of course I said yes to (this is where the help from Grey and my experience with the Northern Druidic Study Group came in real handy!). As Brenda stated in the pre-ritual brief, the ADF has a Core Order of Ritual, which makes it easy for others to know what’s going on and step in to take a part if needs be. The ritual was so familiar, reminding me of the rituals at Muin Mound Grove, ADF and with the Northern Rivers Protogrove, ADF back in NY. A most delicious feast was to follow along with great conversations, some history lessons and the making of new friends.
To make it even more interesting, I met a wonderful and profound woman, Angela Farmer (aka Ehsha Apple) who come to find out later on in conversation was the original author of “The Bad Witch Files” and now writes on “EhshaApple“. “The Bad Witch…” I thought to myself…I know that blog…”I’ve heard of your blog,” I told her. In fact, I had been following it…for awhile. You see, what makes it so interesting is that back in August, she had actually nominated my blog, Journeying to the Goddess, for a Sunshine Award and that’s when I started following hers. When I got home, I just wanted to confirm and make sure that it was the same blog I was thinking of and shut the front door! It was! Was Brighid in the details on this one too? I couldn’t have put it better myself when Ehsha said, “I love when the universe says: ‘And *NOW* you will meet!’” To top it off, Ehsha is also an ordained Pagan minister and High Priestess at the Celestial Earth Grove in Auburn, AL. She has a vast amount of knowledge as a teacher and on the subjects of the seiðr, the Völva, and Teutonic Shamanism…many of the things I’ve been feeling called to since earlier in December (see “Exploration of the Norse Pantheon“)…how wyrd is that? 😉 AND…her Grove is only about 30 miles away…totally within driving distance…
Did I just hear thunder and see sparks flying? Brighid, is that You?