PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
In the old days, people would hibernate somewhat in the winter. Tools would be repaired, activities went from tending the earth to resting. Animals were tended but outside work was minimal mostly because the weather prohibited it. Though there were worries about food and fuel lasting through the dark times, it was a quieter more restful time of the year.
Now we don't have the luxury of staying indoors by a warm fire. We also don't have to worry about food or fuel being scarce. The frenetic pace of life continues even when we get a snowstorm dropping inches of snow on us. We wait until the plows dig us out and continue with our lives. Rarely do we take a day or week or more to stay at home, cuddle in and ignore the fast pace life we normally have....
For those of us who live in landscapes with deciduous trees, winter creates opportunities to appreciate them in different ways from summer. The loss of leaves means that tree shapes become truly visible. This is especially true of field trees, whose solitary positions make them easier to appreciate. Field trees have much rounder forms than their woodland counterparts, but in the woods, winter reveals the patterns of branches and the sky above.
Trunks and bark become more visible in the winter – and there’s such an array of textures, subtle colours and surfaces. Fungi on trees are more present at this time of year, and resident moss and lichen is easier to spot. I’ve blogged over at Druid Life about my favourite winter tree exposure....
Here in the UK, the first frosts can turn up any time in the autumn, but represent a significant shift towards the winter. In terms of being something to celebrate, I admit to mixed feelings. The coming of the frost is an important part of the wheel of the year, but it means moving into cold and hardship.
Frost is of course beautiful. It sparkles on grasses, leaves and spiderwebs, creating delicate beauty and catching the first light of the day. Today, with the first frost in my little corner of the world, the fields were iced at first light, giving them a sheen of mystery and otherworldliness....
I always say that I never understood why Mayday is the international distress signal until I moved to Minnesota.
It's months yet to May, but the maypole casts a long shadow.
You may know Hal an Tow (heard here in rocking cover by Oyster Band) as the signature tune of Bealtaine.
Well, here's a winter version from here in Snow Country.
I was driving to an Imbolc circle this weekend, through frozen drizzle. Imbolc, the Celtic fire festival, falls halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. As such, the day was perfect for celebrating it. It was very cold, and there was a stiff, icy wind out of the northeast, as the leading edge of a huge snow storm was just blowing in. The force of Winter, its power, was on full display in the roiling ocean of clouds above my head, socking us in a dense, icy fog. The mountains are obscured, the horizon is lost, and color has faded from everything. The landscape is white, the bare trees are jet black, the clouds above every shade of gray—granite, ink, mist, oyster, pewter, pearl. This is deep Winter, Winter at its starkest.
And yet—there would be a break in the wind, and the air felt soft. There was a break in the clouds and a tiny shred of pale blue sky peaked out, Springlike and bright. The gap would close, and the wind would start up again, and that brief glimpse into the coming Spring would disappear....
It’s Imbolc today, the traditional Celtic celebration associated with the warming of the climate and the onset of lambing season as well as the Celtic fire goddess Brigit. Seen by ancient Celts as the start of spring it occupies the midway point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox and is commonly associated with Groundhog Day, which traditionally takes place the day after.
For our annual megapost in celebration of Imbolc, we’ve gathered all of our content for Imbolc this year at PaganSquare as well as some links of interest from other sites. We wish you a merry Imbolc and hope the remaining days before the Equinox are warm for you and your families!
EDIT: New posts made since yesterday evening have now been added to the list.