spring is coming-Imbolc

seedsrputSitting in the garden and I see the first signs of spring. I know it’s still winter, but the first daffodils have emerged and Imbolc is almost upon us. Imbolc is the first of the seasonal spring celebrations in the Wheel of the Year. The earth will begin tracing her way towards the sun, really leaning into the sun, for the first time since the summer solstice. We will feel some warmth, even as the cold winds continue to blow. The baby lambs will be born (the name “imbolc” or ewes milk reflects this as the birthing season).  We will celebrate all that we are birthing and we will tend to that. We will nourish and nurture that which has emerged out of the depths of winter…

You might want to take the time to feel into what is emerging in you…what wants to be born, and nurtured this coming spring? Look into the garden of your life, and see what is arising. Draw, dance, play with your inner child and see what is revealed to you. I am revisiting some inner child work at the moment thanks to the work of Early Childhood Educator, carol liknaitsky and her referencing of Lucia Capacchione’s work on the inner child. I highly recommend the work of both these women.

My inner child definitely wants to play, to move, to laugh and to create. What about yours? This birthing season of imbolc, is a perfect time to get in touch with the inner girl child in you…or perhaps there is a little boy in there too that wants to play. Go seek, and then celebrate this aspect of your being, celebrate and give thanks for the connection to this tending to the inner flamebeautiful innocent, open, creative aspect of you.  As Glenys Livingstone says, Imbolc ceremony “is  essentially about affirming the Original Flame of Being in you – this Native, wild self … this is the Flame that Great Goddess Brigid of early Celtic peoples traditionally tends.” Your inner child is part of the light in you, is that wild untamed beautiful soul who will show your way. This is an image of myself finding my way in the dark, feeling the light within, carrying the flame  to and for myself.

A beautiful ritual to include at this time, is the making of candles in honour of this flame, this unique light within you. And another name for this season is candlemas, the time when we make candles, knowing that although the light has come, and the births have begun there is still more darkness and cold to experience. Here’s some basic instructions on candle making.

Candle Making- A Ritual to Tend the Inner Flame

And with the children I will make candles, a reminder that the inner flame needs to be tended. It is so easy to make candles and i share how with you here.

candlesWhat you’ll need
residual beeswax or other wax
candle holders – I use a variety of tins, glass jars, even plastic tubs work!
wicks, with or without tabs (tabs are easier to work with esp for tealights)
you may want a wick bar too for support or a skewer

What to do
Place your beeswax in an empty tin can with a clean rock or something to weigh it down.
I use beeswax candles a lot in my work, and always save the wax which has not burnt, but you may have bought some.
Place the filled can in a small saucepan of water and bring to the boil, then simmer and wait till it melts. (Also watch it carefully as wax can ignite)

Ensure your containers are all ready with wicks and tabs in place.
If you have a wick without a tab, you will need to cut it to an appropriate length- about 2.5 cm above the top of the tin/jar, which you insert into the wicking bar..If you don’t have a bar you can use a skewer which you thread into the wick and lay across the top of your tin.

When the wax is melted simply pour it into your tins, almost to the rim.
pour it slowly and gently.
As it begins to cool the wax can retract, so you can pour more melted wax in to top it up.
Leave to cool for a few hours
Voila your own candles.

An Imbolc Ceremony
women'scirclecandlesNow that you have made some candles you can do your own ceremony honouring this special time of the year. With my children I generally keep it simple. We will have a meal together-at a table decorated with the first signs of spring and eat springtime foods- the first peas, and cress, and plenty of seeds and eggs too. We each light a candle we have made and give thanks for the unique gifts that each of us bring to the world, and maybe also for something new in our lives. …..

With this ceremony it is important to remind oursevles that now is the time to tend that which has be born in us, to look at what is growing and nurture it. We might also want to look at what is growing and decide that our energy is best directed elsewhere. This is the spring cleaning aspect of this season, the de-cluttering, the getting rid of that which you don’t want, so that you have the proper time and attention to tend to that which you do want. We don’t want our energy to be frazzled, to be too extended. We want to focus on the areas of life that will bring more life into our lives, that will make our inner child sing and dance with joy.

Dancing-FeetPersonally i will hold ritual for that which has emerged out of this period of deep rest and nourishment. I will give thanks and light a candle and dance outside, barefoot on the grass, reminding myself that “I step upon her body with her feet.*” Reflect and personalize your own ritual. You may want to give great thanks to Brigid, the ancient Celtic Goddess of the Eternal Flame. You may want to give thanks for this life, this connection to earth. Ask yourself what is the flame in you, what is the life force that ignites and burns within, and how can you show gratitude for this? (image Betty Sederquist)

And on the subjects of births, check out the events page to see some upcoming activities that you may want to be involved with.  I wanted to share some upcoming events and let you know that soon I will also birth my first Moondance, and Moonsong events. Stay tuned for more details.

If you are interested in further readings and ritual ideas for imbolc,  you might want to look to PaGaian Cosmology. I am also always inspired by the ideas and rituals of Jane Hardewick Collings my beautiful Shamanic  Teacher .

By the way Imbolc is traditionally held on August 2nd here in the Southern Hemisphere, but astrologically it is on August 8th minutes before 6.00pm. Perfect for a dinner ritual!

Many Blessings

Sarah xxxxxxxx

* this is a line from a daily prayer i make, The Laws of Nature by Francesca De Grandis 

my whole body is alive

Yes my whole body is alive, and yours is too. But how much attention do you give to your body? How much attention do you give to the different aspects of your body? Do you take the time to explore your body? Do you pay attention to the messages, the moods, the feelings of your body? Do you feel into its dimensions, its energy, its awareness? Your body is ALIVE. Listen to it, tune into it. It is you, it is a loving tactile, feeling, sensing, knowing part of you. Without it, there is no you.

IMG_5531In every moment your body is evolving, revolving, moving in the deep grooves of rhythmic patterns.   in every moment it offers you the power to transform. Yes, because tuning into your body is transformational. In this world of mind as separate from body, in this world of mindlessness, we forget ourselves, we forget to look within, and forge the relationships with our selves, our bodies and through this with each other. But we can at any time tune into the mindfulness of our body. And when we do we open ourselves to our inherent creativity. Yes your body is alive with creativity.

And creativity is embodied in the body’s myriad cycles of  birth, growth, flourishing, and releasing, dying, death and spiraling into birth again. Your body is replenishing itself continuously, gifting you with its remarkable and resplendent gifts of  movement, of taste, of touch, of hearing, of loving, of feeling, of sensing, of voicing, of sounding, of birthing, of dying, of BECOMING and BEING.   leaf

Your body is alive. Replenish yourself by taking a moment to ground and centre, and focus your attention on your body. Choose a part of your body, your skin, your breath, your bones, your heart. It doesn’t matter where you go, just go, go within and sense the inherent life force manifesting in a myriad of ways…

Remember tuning into your body is a revolutionary act. And we need a revolution.

thanks to alice cummins for a weekends delight with Body Mind Centering.

Experiencing Ovulation

How do you experience the period of ovulation? How does it feel to live this aspect of your cycle ? Yesterday, day on 13 of my menstrual cycle and one day before the full moon in ovul_1Capricorn, I asked myself this question. And my response is here. I would love for you to reflect on your own experience of ovulation. Do my words resonate? What are the synergies and the differences? What arises for you when you ovulate?

Wow, well today i feel juicy! Literally. I awoke tired and groggy from a fitful night of waking and sleeping on the couch- but the first thing i noticed was how wet I was!

Ovulation for me is a feeling of being able to meet the world fully. I feel able to dance and participate in this great cosmic dance of life/death/life.  My energy is flowing, my ideas are flowing and I am active in their manifestation. Like this “innerview.” I was inspired earlier in the month by a wonderful innerview with Kristen Lee Read and Kerri Alenka Merral, and while out walking yesterday i thought of videoing myself at some point. But today came and i was impatient and excited and decided that even without a recorder I could innerview myself. And so on this day of ovulation I birthed this innerview.

So i am also grateful for my walk yesterday. Walking is part of my daily practice. Walking is a great facilitator. The creative energy flows more easily when we walk. Which makes sense really, for when we are moving, our energy is moving and flowing, and our ideas, our creativity are part of this energy, this chi, this shakti.

slfSo when we move, the ideas move with us. Added to this is the power of nature, of being out in the world. When we are outside, walking in the park for instance, we open ourselves to the world, to that creative flow of all life. And if we are open to it, then this energy rushes in. The whole world can come in, if we let it. And if this makes sense to you, read David Whyte, or Mary Oliver, or better yet go out and greet the world.

heartsWhere was I, ah ovulation. Yes ovulation is a time of expansion, and so sometimes that expansion can be a bit unfocused? I might find myself off topic, dreaming all the possibilities, all the potential of this beautiful season and finding ways to birth them. Now! While ovulating i feel my desire for life, for union with all things,- so you see i wasn’t really off topic when talking of walking, and being in the world. For this desire for union with the world (yes and with my darling husband!) is an essential part of my ovulatory experience. This is the biological imperative after all, isn’t it, to create, to procreate?

I wonder if my desire for union with the world also reflects my personal bent. I am a Libran after all, and we seek union. We seek to bring things together in the most beautiful ways, to co-opt, to cooperate. We  bring together that which is seemingly disparate. We see connection and go for it. And we are guided by Venus. So beauty is everywhere. Sometimes it is ferocious, and sometimes soft. But this whole world is Beauty full, and seeking connection, integration and harmony.

top of mountainIt all sounds magnificent doesn’t it? Yes but, ah there is always a but (those scales might just tip back the other way) and i have noticed that just before ovulation, just before full moon, i can panic. I was having a lovely time yesterday listening to Caroline Casey- an awesome astrologer, and i was seeing connection, and everything was making sense. I felt like i was at the top of the mountain with this great overview (OK I do have Capricorn Ascendant, so i kind of like the mountain metaphor!) and then i looked back behind me, and went woah….how did i get here? what am i doing? what was i thinking? I’m stuck…..help.

Yep it was one of those moments. I totally lost faith in myself. And this can happen at this point in my cycle. I have noticed that just before the massive high of ovulation, there is a slight dip! I think maybe its my loyal soldier, still guarding those past wounds. Even though i have assigned him another job, he still pops up from time to time, to remind me that I can’t. I can’t possibly do this ,or that, or anything much for that matter. What did i do then? What do you do when those old stories/fears/patterns/triggers arise?

I invited him in..Hello, here you are again. Come in and sit down, but don’t make yourself too comfortable because i don’t expect you to be here too long. And i think this helps- firstly the recognition that the story is back, and is OK. But secondly that the story is a guest for a short time. I have been round and round these cycles long enough to know, as Jane Hardewicke Collings says, “this too will pass.” So instead of getting bogged down in these thoughts, I watched a romantic movie with my daughter on the couch, cooked some dinner and then sat with my feelings, and then what do you know I wake up today saying I can, and more than that, I am!radiantlight

So here I am back on top of the mountain, looking at my births this cycle, which are deepening of births that have been arising since last spring really….Story telling, saying yes in the moment, which sometimes requires saying No to others, and flowing with creative potential, manifest today in my felted balls!

journalingSo this is my story of ovulation. What’s yours?  You might find it useful to ask yourself this questions and journal your own responses, or you may want to video/voice record yourself, or dance. Feel whatever is right for you, and engage with the experiences of your cycle and your body. There is much out there to guide you, follow your hunches and see where they lead!

Blessings on this Full Moon in Capricorn.

Sarah xxx

(sunlight picture above by Megan Forbes!)