Imbolc, though most often observed on the first of February, approximately half-way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, is more than a celebration of a day. Historically it marks the season of lambing and lactation in the ewes – the old Irish Imbolg meaning in the belly, and the medieval Oimelc, meaning ewes milk. In this respect, Imbolc is a season and the heralding celebration was often observed as much as two weeks before or after the beginning of February.
Living in a cold and wintery northern region of the United States (and this year Calleach is a formidable guest, brining with her deep cold and even deeper snow), I always have some difficulty getting into the spirit of Imbolc and Oestra. With temperatures below zero and the great likelihood that I will not see the ground without snow cover until well into April, the promise of spring is still a hopeful seed, closed tight, waiting for the earth to warm and the rains to come.
These past few months I have been delving into Grail stories and mythology, looking for their inner messages and healing stories. I have been working with Jenah Telyndru’s Avalon Within: A Sacred Journey of Myth, Mystery and Inner Wisdom since September, and have just finished reading Jean Shinoda Bolen’s Crossing to Avalon: A Woman’s Midlife Pilgrimage.There is a lot of resonance and wisdom in both these books, that has opened up my eyes to the Grail stories and also the wisdom of Avalon in ways I never could have dreamt of.
I wait at the crossroads And, call out in longing For you to ask of me what you will.
I stand clothed in the promise Of guiding you as I light the way.
I wait and there is only the Sound of my own longing to Enliven and stir within you The drive and will that sets You upon your path.
I am cloaked in the darkness But those who have the Courage to call to me See the truth of my hidden Light that burns brightly
With the Divine spark of youth.
This post is the first of three about the Triple Goddess Hecate and her gifts expressed through the face of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Hecate is the Greek Goddess of the Underworld; Queen of Magick and daughter of the Titans Perses (God of Destruction) and Asteria (Oracular Goddess), from whom she was gifted with rulership of heaven and earth. She is most noted for her place of guide at the Crossroads carrying the flaming torches that light the way for gods and mortals. My intent is not to provide a full history of the Goddess (there is a plethora of information to be found), but rather to provide my personal experiences with her.
As a Triune Goddess, she has come to me at various points in my life, despite my not knowing or identifying her by name and she has shown me her varied faces as I have needed prodding or push in a specific direction. At this time of the year, I feel her presence more strongly and align with her transformative energies with that of the New, Full and Waning Moons in the month prior to Samhain.
The past few weeks have found me focused on a personal project of connecting to the lunar energies. As a practicing witch I have worked with the lunar energies regularly for many years. I have worked ritual, written poetry and offered up praise to Her in all of her phases. So, it would seem that my connection is very deep already. The beauty of this Path, however, is that there is always something more that can be learned. Something new that can be experienced and a deeper level of knowing that can be brought into your work.
I have been on a mission to fully experience the energies of the Moon in all of her cycles and through the lunation of travel through the Zodiacal Wheel. Having a good working knowledge of astrology and planetary magick helps this journey, but the intent of connection to the phases of cycle is not dependent on it. I am also an Air sun sign, so analysis comes more readily than the emotional and feeling nature. This is precisely why I felt this work would be very productive.
I know of the potential held in the newness of Maiden Moon, but do not always fill myself with the enthusiasm and joy of that growing energy. I go through the (mechanical) routine of ritual and specified working to bring the successful start to the desired goal and fail at times to infuse its energy with the burgeoning spring of potential that the Maiden’s gift holds. As we mature chronologically, we often forget what it was like to be just beginning our lives and adventures and the “nothing will hold me back” attitude that typifies youthful exuberance. Everything and anything is possible and change is just taking another road. In the simplicity of re-engaging the wonder of seeing with fresh eyes and new perspectives my working grows and seeks out what will encourage and support its maturation.