Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltain, Litha, Lammas, Mabon--the eight points in the year that we stop and celebrate the seasons. In the six to eight weeks between each Sabbat, changes have been taking place--some so subtle that you might not be aware of them. The nights get longer--or shorter--by only a minute each day. The weather warms up, or cools down. One of the things that the Sabbats call us to do is to stop and look at the changes that have taken place. It's a time to regroup, reflect, and plan ahead. So in addition to the celebrations, family traditions and seasonal crafts, it's a good idea to spend some time grounding or balancing yourself to deal with the season that's coming up. It's not hard to do. It just takes a little time, a little quiet, and some concentration.

In about two and a half weeks we'll arrive at the Spring Equinox. It's time for those things that were stirring to life at Imbolc to "spring" up--thanks to a warmer environment and nurturing Spring rain. The element of water is considered by many people to be the mother of us all. Think about it. Life started in the sea. And what about you? You floated around in your mom's tum for months, breathing, eating, and growing in water. About 80% of the human body is made of water! People really feel it when water is missing in their lives. Periods without rain--droughts--can cause failed crops and wildfires (we've seen that in the past year in Australia, and over here in the state of California). But just like everything else, balance is essential. Too much water kills plants, animals and people. Flooded areas can breed danger and disease. Remember Hurricane Katrina? That happened several years ago, but the people of New Orleans are still recovering from an overdose of water.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Broomstix-Cauldron.jpg

You can use the element of water to strike a balance in your life at the Spring Equinox using this month's full moon. Get a bowl--a dark colored bowl if you have one--and fill it with water. Take it outside when the moon is full and try to catch the reflection of the moon in the water. Allow the water some time to "soak-up" the moon's energy.

Now it's time to ground. Take your bowl of moon water to a quiet place. Settle yourself into a comfortable sitting position (no crossed legs or arms!), then position the bowl so that you can see inside it. Look at the water. Don't think about anything specifically--let your mind wander and let thoughts come to you as they will. Do the exercise for as long as you need to. You might want to keep your Book of Shadows close by so that you can write down anything that comes to mind.

So, what exactly are you doing as you sit and stare into a bowl of water? It's always good to know the reason why you're doing an exercise; otherwise, it's just empty gesture. Understanding is an important step to do doing effective work of any kind. First, let's think about the moon. As the moon revolves around the earth it effects the water on the planet. Tides are ruled by the moon, and so has always had a connection to water. Looking into water that has absorbed the moon's rays connects you to both the element of water and the celestial body of the moon. Tapping into these strengths will help you to balance. By letting your mind wander and not holding on to any one thought, you are clearing (or cleaning--water is good for this too!) your mind. A clear mind will help you to focus on goals for the coming season, and to reflect on the season that has just passed.

You can use this exercise any time you need it--not just on the Equinox itself. Practice grounding throughout the season to keep your balance--the next Sabbat will be here before you know it!

By Natalie Zaman and Katharine Clark, art by Robin Ator