by Aurora Star Light Bringer
As the wheel of the year turns once more, we find ourselves waking up to the Spring Equinox with fresh eyes, looking and finding the return of the light displayed not just in the sky but in everything it touches. The birdsong returns, the morning is brighter and the first flowers of spring look to the light with their yellow hearts wide open, reflecting back the sun. This is a time for us to rejoice with open hearts as the miracle of rebirth is displayed all around us.
Ostara marks a time of balance, a time of push and a pull. We shed coats and gloves yet in the just-warm air we can taste the memory of snow. We spring clean the indoors, but crave time outside. Light and dark find themselves equal partners in the dance, and the rustling of the winds whispers “peace”. It is in peace that we find the sacrament of the Spring Equinox.
Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve had more snow here than has fallen in over 100 years,
and through it, as through all weather and Nature, the Goddess is
speaking. The Goddess has been teaching me a powerful and peaceful
lesson with snow.
As opposed to hurricaines and lightening storms, where Her voice is a
powerful roar that forces you to listen in awe, Her snow over the past
few days has brought me understanding of the phrase “… the still,
soft voice.”. From a different (Christian) context, the idea is the
same. Sometimes the Goddess speaks in a whisper, sometimes Her voice
can be heard in the silence of the muffled, white-blanketed peace of
snow. Everything is quieter – few or no cars driving by, no
lawnmowers making their racket, and even the sounds of people
shoveling, walking their dogs or the wind are softer and hushed. When
we stop for a moment and listen, the world is a still, soft place.
And because she’s draped the world in silence, you don’t have to
strain so much to hear her voice and feel her presence. It’s like
she’s the only one out there who isn’t bundled up and shivering –
she’s beautiful, wind and snowflakes swirling around her. Here’s what
I’ve heard her say: “Slow down. Stop even for a moment. Breathe.
Close your eyes. Listen. Feel. Empty your mind. Your time on
Earth, in this body, is short. Spend time in the presence, being
truly present, of those you love and care about. Make time for what’s
important in your life, and prioritize the rest. Rest. Relax. This
is the time of year for those things. Find peace within, as I offer
you temporary peace without. I will always love you, and I am always
with you (even if you are not always with me).”
I hope you feel and find the same peace in the still, soft breath of
the Goddess outside. This snow is a blessing and part of Her infinite
grace and magick.
Snowy blessings and stay warm,
By Aurora Star Light Bringer
As the wheel of the year turns another eighth, Imbolc has a bolstering effect that is a necessary at this time of the year and after the lessons learned at the last quarter.
Imbolc always finds me when I am about ready to throw in the towel. Like the season which is gray and sloppy, cold and barren, I find myself frazzled, belaboring my every mistake and bemoaning each slight annoyance that comes my way.
Scarcely six weeks ago, Winter Solstice taught us faith, but in the cold, messy gray that surrounds us, it’s hard to hold to the promise of the returning of the light. Now, surrounded by leafless trees, just about out of patience with faith, Imbolc finds us asking “Yes, but when?”.
Where Winter Solstice finds us in the dark night of the soul, Imbolc is the first light of dawn. This cross-quarter marks the first salmon-colored light of the rising sun. Where Winter Solstice urged us to keep the faith that light would return, Imbolc offers us proof. Mornings and afternoons are lighter, snow melts, revealing blades of grass and rogue bulbs begin to send tender green shoots up from barren garden beds. Imbolc shows us evidence of the coming of the light. Imbolc renews our faith. Through signs of Spring, it offers us a new sacrament: hope.
Read the rest of this entry »
by Aurora Star Light Bringer
Of the eight sabbats in the Wheel of the Year, Winter Solstice is nearest to my heart. This is because its messages are so enduring and have meaning to last the whole year through—similarly to the way the messages of Christmastime “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all” are valid all year long.
At Winter Solstice we find ourselves on the darkest day of the year—we find ourselves in our darkest hour. In the same way our ancestors sat in the dark night wondering if the sun would ever return, we find ourselves in the dark night of our soul wondering if the obstacles and challenges before us are insurmountable, whether the dark times in life will ever resolve, when we can’t imagine lightheartedness returning to our routine.
I wonder how many Winter Solstices we have a year. How many times do we ask “Is this challenge too great? Is this the mistake that will end my relationship? Will my health ever improve? Will my loved one recover? Will I find a job? Is the small difference I make in this world too significant?” When we find ourselves facing questions like these, in times of hopelessness and doubt, no matter the time of year, we are having a Winter Solstice moment.
Winter Solstice teaches us that there is no darkness without light. That just as we must anticipate the sun’s return, we must expect that light will return to our lives. Marking this holiday formally helps us to renew our understanding of this message and to help us carry it throughout the year. I think the reason why Winter Solstice strikes home for me is that when you pare down my spiritual practice of Earth-Based ritual, when you take away all of the things that make ritual ritual—the quarter calls, the candle lighting, the chanting—what I have left is FAITH.
When I find myself in a Winter Solstice moment, I have a phrase that helps to sustain me and urges me to persevere. “Tomorrow the Sun will surely rise”. That no matter what is happening tonight, right now, no matter what personal turmoil I find myself in, that sun will rise above the Earth and fill it with light once more. Somehow this fills be with hope, it teaches me to hold on, to recognize that tomorrow is a new day, a solution is on its way. It fills me with Faith. Faith that since the sun surely will return, that dark situations will too resolve into new horizons and opportunities.
As Unitarian Universalists, since our religion is free of dogma and creed, we sometimes wonder if it is also devoid of faith. We wonder if it can sustain us through the hard times. But our drawing from our multiple sources provides us with a wealth of lessons that allow us find our faith and understand our on personal faiths in a way that drawing from one source may not fully provide.
This is what drawing from the teachings of Earth-Centered religions has done for me. Eight times a year I am reminded of the cycles of life, and once a year I wait up all night anticipating the arrival of the sun.
If this is your first Winter Solstice celebration, I hope you take with you the message of faith that this sabbat brings. If Winter Solstice is part of your tradition, I hope that this marking of this sabbat renews your sense of faith.
Faith that no problem is without solution, that now obstacle is insurmountable, that you are loved, you are part of a supportive and loving community and that yes, tomorrow the sun will surely rise.