Once again I’m behind on the Pagan Blog Project. While all the other Pagans across the blogosphere (or at least the ones participating in the PBP) have moved on to blog posts about topics that begin with the letter “C,” I’m still working on the second entry for the letter “B.”
I have some valid excuses. My partner and I just moved into a new home last weekend, and it’s a really great home to be in. I was in a small studio apartment prior to this move, and there are some really great things about living in this space as compared to the old space. I now have a washer and dryer right here at home, instead of having to use laundry gold (quarters) in an apartment complex laundry room. I have a full size fridge instead of the mini-fridge I had in the apartment. I can buy real food now and I have someplace to put it! There is plenty of storage here. And we have one room that is dedicated just for ritual/spiritual/devotional use. We’ve dubbed the new home “The Priory.” A priory is another word for a monastery that is headed by a prior or a prioress. Since I am the current Prioress (President) of the Portland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and we’d like our home to someplace that spiritual activities take place, naming it the Priory seemed appropriate.
So, back to my excuses. I just moved. I’m surrounded by boxes and half-unpacked clothes and books. Since I have a regular 9-5 day job, I’ve been using the evenings to unpack little by little. I haven’t had much time for spiritual writing. The end result is that I’m slightly behind on blog posts. My plan is to have a post up on a “B” topic on either Sunday or Monday. I’ve been working on a post about the broom closet. And then I am hoping to add 2 more posts on “C” topics sometime next week or next weekend, which should get me all caught up.
In the meantime, I hope you’ve all had a blessed Imbolc. My coven met today for our gathering, which consists of several activities. In the myth cycle that we follow, Imbolc is the time when the Goddess returns to the world from the underworld, which she entered at Mabon (the Automn Equinox). It’s a time of continuing expansion of light and the joy of Spring. Our coven has incorporated many of the elements of Delores Ashcroft-Nowicki‘s Village Tradition into our own practices. For Imbolc, the men head off into the woods to look for a “tallow maid” a Y shaped tree branch that the women then decorate with flowers, ribbons, candles, and notes containing prayers, messages, and requests to the gods and ancestors. The tallow maid represents a maiden being sacrificed so that Spring will return and the light will continue to expand. After the ritual, the maid is then “sacrificed” by being “thrown from a cliff.” In the past this has consisted of being tossed from one of Portland’s bridges into the Willamette River.
This year, as we arrived at the forest park where we would look for our tallow maid, and we headed off onto the trail, the very first thing we saw was a small snake. Everyone took this as a positive sign. Indeed, after doing a short bit of research online, I found that the sighting of a serpent on Bigid’s Day (Imbolc) is a good sign about the coming of Spring similar to the traditions of Groundhog Day (or the Oregon Zoo hedgehog if you live in Portland.) A Scottish Gaelic proverb about the day is:
Early on Brigids morn
The serpent shall come from the hole,
I will not molest the serpent,
Nor will the serpent molest me.
Another version from the same source says:
The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Brigid,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.
I definitely see this sighting as a good sign. Life is beginning to visibly return to the land. We’re coming out of our burrows and energy is starting to flow and move. Things are growing! Things are moving! Spring is on the way! I see this little snake as a symbolic blessing on the energies we’ve kindled and are just now starting to work with. Those energies will continue to expand and grow. Now is the time to let those energies start moving freely!
I hope that however you have celebrated this holiday, whether it be as Imbolc, Candlemas, or even as Groundhog Day, that your day was also filled with good food, good friends, and many smiles. May the light continue to expand, and may you find joy as you see the resurgence of Spring in the coming weeks! Blessings to you!