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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Oimelc

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Crown of Light

The crown of candles sits on the table by the door. I see it every time that I come into the house.

On Bridey's Eve, it graced a sacred head. The tall white candles bathed her in warm light, the leaves of its wreath crisply green against the white of her veil. 

That was thirteen nights gone. Now the brittle leaves crumble as I unwrap the gold ribbon that holds them to the crown. The ribbon goes back onto its spool; the leaves I will strew in the snowy garden, to nourish another harvest.

The candles, half-burned, go into the chandelier in the temple, where they will light our next rite.

The crown, denuded, returns to its peg in temple storage, to await the coming of another February.

More than 300 years ago, Robert Herrick wrote in his poem "Candlemas Eve":

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Beautiful, Steven, as always. Linking on FB.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Soul Walker

It's the morning of the Eve of Oimelc. I sit on the front porch with our youngest coven kid, waiting for the school bus.

As we wait, we sing songs of spring.

Walker in the silent places,

Walker where no one may go,

our aloneness cries out to you,

Walker in the Snow.

The Arctic cold that has paralyzed the city for days has finally broken. There's even a little moisture in the air. A dusting of snow has fallen overnight; the snow diamonds sparkle.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Candlemas Carol

At first glance, Steve Ashley's Candlemas Carol might seem something of a downer.

Don't be fooled.

On Candlemas beware, old man,

the wind, gale, and the storm;

and if you think that Winter's dead,

it's barely being born.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bridey's Spring

Well, here it is, right on cue: Bridey's Spring. What cowans call the “January thaw.”

Winter started off gently—the lakes didn't ice over until well after Yule—but we did endure a foul run of sub-zero highs in mid-January, just to remind us who's boss.

Then, just as we prepare to light the untamed torches of Imbolc (or what novelist Richard Grant calls “the mannerly votives of Candlemas”), it might as well be spring. The air is moist and fragrant, and oh that delicious music of dripping water.

Like Indian Summer, Bridey's Spring has its own painful beauty, that fleeting Yukio Mishima poignancy of the necessarily ephemeral.

Winter will be back soon enough. There's plenty more ice and snow in store.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bear Dance

Well, Yule is well and truly gone.

Gone the tree, with all its treasures.

Gone the green: the mistletoe, the holly, the ivy.

All is stripped away now, burned away to ash.

What remains, essential, is the seed, the core, the center.

Fire: the pure, pure flame.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Satyr Dance

 I. A Satyr Remembers

 Imbolc was coming up, and I remember we were all thinking: Oh gods. The ritualists here in town were in a pretty major rut, and had been for years: it was All Brigid, All the Time, and not only that but pretty-pretty, nicey-nicey too, all gauze and Laura Ashley. Boring. “We need something with some juice in it, some testosterone,” we kept saying. So we put together the Dance of the Satyrs. The initial inspiration came from the old Roman Lupercalia, but the goat-men danced (and still do dance) all over Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, so it felt like something we could do here in Minnesota, too.

The satyrs agreed beforehand that we would all refrain from ejaculating for a week before the ritual. I made it, but just barely. I swear, that must be the longest I've gone without since I was a kid and first figured out what my body could do. I swear, by the end of the week, it was coming out my ears. I could practically taste it. I'd get aroused taking the garbage out.

So just before the ritual, we're all in back getting ready. We stripped down and Paul [B. Rucker] painted us up. We looked like something from off a Greek vase, or maybe a cave wall. And you could practically smell the spooge. It was raunchy, like a goat barn or something.

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Dreaming Spring

They say that at Winter's midpoint, Spring walks the earth for a single night. (Or maybe it is her Dreaming that walks.) Look for her footprints in new snow. At her passing, they say, sleeping animals stir in their burrows and dens. At her passing, they say, seeds stir in the frozen soil, and dream of germination.

This playful Appalachian (originally English) folk carol, with its charmingly medieval-sounding minor tune, tells the story of the growing season to come, from plow to winnow. Originally sung at an already oversubscribed “Christemas,” we've reassigned it—for reasons that seem good to us—to Candlemas instead.

Generally we sing this song while standing in a circle, with lots of stomping, clapping, and percussion to help wake the animals and seeds. Each in turn jumps into the center, mimes a verse, and then jumps out again.

After all, there's no reason why making magic shouldn't be a raucous, joyful experience.

No reason at all.

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