“And thou who thinketh to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning
shall avail thee not, unless thou knoweth the mystery; that if that
which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never
find it without thee.For behold, I have been with thee from the
beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire." - The Charge of the Goddess-
Gaia's Winter Mantel
Often when I sit down to draw or paint, I don’t have a preconceived plan. I just want to start putting something down on the paper; maybe a few lines with a pencil, maybe just wild strokes of color.
This time, though I had something specific in mind. In fact, I’ve had it in mind for a while now. I’ve even made a few attempts in recent weeks, but each time there has been a disconnect between my head and my hand. I want to portray the Goddess in winter, but instead I keep filling my paper with the hot and bright colors of summer.
Living at the far western region of the Lake Superior basin, the season of cold comes early and stays late, like an unwelcome guest. I make that analogy with a hint of shame. I am a pagan priestess. I am supposed to have a relationship with Gaia in all of Her seasons. I should embrace each turning of the wheel for the aspects ushered in, but winter vexes me.
I of all people should appreciate the time-refined crystalline Goddess of winter; She who is reflected in the blue-white blaze of icy ponds, of hoar frost confection on dormant branches and marshmallow puff snow caps resting on miles of fence posts stretched out before a pink ribbon sunset.
But for me, it’s more like this joke that oft makes the rounds of social media sites up here – You might be from Wisconsin if your seasons are almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction. The only difference for me would be to change the punch line to, winter will be back. Admittedly, during the height of summer I waste untold energy dreading the winter I know will return sooner than I’d like.
My daughter is a photographer. Last spring, when a blizzard dumped 23 inches of snow on us over night and I was busy complaining (very bitterly I might add), she called one of her frequent models and her best makeup artist, then grabbed her camera. Together the trio fully embraced all the magnificence of the Winter Goddess making her final, dramatic appearance.
This is the image I have wanted to paint, this is the Winter Goddess I want my brush to capture; but instead I continue to paint in warm hues.
A different vision of the Goddess continues to reveal Herself to me, warm and composed beneath a veil of white.
During this cyclical time of refraining and resting from the toils of labor, She turns inward to embrace Her soul fire. She has descended into the underworld to rest, taking the bright colors and the warmth of the summer season with Her for safekeeping, until She returns to us in the spring.
As Gaia, She wears a mantel of white, a gossamer veil separating the aspect of being from the action of doing.
She reminds me that near to the hearth fire I will find the comfort and renewal of the season and enjoy winter respite; a time to look back at what has passed and to dream of what is yet to come, as the outside world is softened and quieted by a mantle of snow.
Greetings of the seasons to you all, dear readers.
**Photo Image ©Kate Craft Photography 2013. All Rights Reserved
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