She Rises

a darkling creature stirs in the evening.

Rain falls, in pitter-patter patterns on the ground above her head, and she feels the damp drip of it seeping into her skin; pale as bone in moonlight and opaque, a frosted window revealing so much more than a mere human.

She may well have been human once, of the breathing, bleeding, dying kind, but that was a long time ago. So long it might have been a dream. Now the human form lingers only to hold the vast concept she embodies. She is a cypher, a symbol; both reminder and reassurance to the humans that still live out their short lives Above.

The rain is her call to action; an echo of all the tears and torn hearts that have cried out for her through the dark Winter months.

She has been gone a long time.

And despite their fervent beliefs she is not all knowing; she is not the one who has shepherded them through the dark time. She has no idea what awaits her on the surface.

How hard the frosts?
How long the nights?
How deep the depressions?

All secrets denied to her as she slumbered in the cold Earth; secrets it is now her job to soothe and make right. No easy task, for the human heart (as she once knew) is complex and contrary and requires more than sunlight and soaked roots to be placated.

So it is with some reluctance that she – the darkling bride, draped in her rootweb finery – hears the call of the season above, feels the cries of the people in her soul and responds. Frozen limbs stir slowly and it is only the knowledge that the snowdrops are rising with her that coaxes the spark of her heart into flame.

It would be so much easier to remain asleep (and yet…)

It will be a gradual, heavy ascent into the light, into life; one she is achingly familiar with, for she has never ignored the summons… and she never will.

 

Thank you!

Our Online Imbolc Celebration is finished and I want to offer my warmest thanks to everyone who took part.

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The Share Spaces are now closed to new offerings; special thanks to anyone who took the time to share something inspiring with the group. The site will continue to host links to the articles and the Share Spaces; although the meditation will be removed for now.

Creating this event has been a big challenge and has taught me a lot. I am hopeful that it will provide inspiration and possibilities for more online activities in the future. Until then, events in Hadfield and New Mills will resume in March for the Spring Equinox – details will appear here and on the Facebook Group over the coming weeks.

 

If you have taken part in any of the Online festivities then I would be really grateful if you could leave some FEEDBACK. Use the comments box below or drop me an email.

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Which simply leaves me to wish you all a lovely Imbolc season and to thank you once again for Walking the Wheel.

 

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Keli x

Picture Credits:
1) weheartit.com
2) google.com
3) shewhomust.livejournal.com

Online Imbolc Continues

Did you journey to Brigid’s burrow?

Did inspiration find you there?

Did you find light stirring in the darkness?

Did you scent the start of Spring in the air?

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Our online Imbolc celebrations will continue for another week with the Share Space and the meditation avaliable for new offerings and insights at the following places:

SHARE SPACE

MEDITATION

Feel free to add your thoughts and experiences and to enjoy those left by others.

How have you celebrated Imbolc this year?

What changes have you noticed – in the World and in yourself – as we turn into this Imbolc season?

Online Imbolc – A Meditation

Anyone interested in taking part in Walk The Wheel’s online celebration of Imbolc can find a seasonal meditation here:

Visiting Brigid’s Burrow – a meditation for Imbolc

And an invitation to join other Wheel Walkers in a group meditation:

Burrowing Together – a group meditation

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At Walk The Wheel our group meditations take place at the end of the evening, after the sharing, whilst we all sit in circle together. Participants share the words they hear and the physical space that they inhabit together.
For our Imbolc meditation this year we will be working with the same premise: all who take part will be connected in following the same meditative journey. The only difference is that the circle we create and the space we inhabit to do so will not be physical but ephermeral. Instead of sharing air and physical matter we will share intention and it is this itention that will connect us across time and space.

Many people use meditation to deepen the connection between themselves and the World around them. We will be aiming to deepen our experience of the energy if Imbolc.

As “Burrowing Together” is a group meditation held in a non-physical space we will also be aiming to all deepen our connection to the other Wheel Walkers joining us on this journey in order to create a sense of shared celebration and community.

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Pic credits:
1) iamachild.wordpress.com
2) by Wendy Andrew @ owlsdaughter.com

Marking Imbolc

This article is part of our Online Imbolc Celebration!

Its companion piece ‘Imbolc Musings’ can be found here and gives more information about the history and themes of the festival.

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New Life Stirring

At Imbolc we begin to see the first signs of new life stirring in the Land around us. Buds on trees begin to swell, perhaps change colour and the tender Snowdrop makes its first appearances (to be quickly followed by bright crocuses and other early Spring blooms). Even if the weather remains cold and somewhat frozen we can start to appreciate the increased amounts of daylight; perhaps beginning to notice the Sun’s glow feeling that little bit warmer against our skin. Not only is this stirring the Land to life, it stirs us into wakefulness too, encouraging us to shake off the dark, dreamy state of Winter and start looking towards the possibilities of Spring.

* Snowdrops

These tiny flowers are a popular symbol of Imbolc and their bright green stems and delicate petals are a great reminder that though the Land is still chilly life has not abandoned it and is in fact beginning to return. Finding a local patch of snowdrops to admire can be a great excuse to go for a bracing walk on Imbolc day and offer the chance to explore new or familiar territory. Many woodlands will have a good crop to offer, but you can just as easily admire them in many people’s gardens and along roadsides and hedges.

Remember; if you want to take some snowdrops into your home as an Imbolc decoration be sure you have permission and take them carefully and with respect. If you are unsure, perhaps leave them where they are, take a photograph or draw a picture instead!

Alternatively you could create your own using crepe paper, as in this craft project here.

* Imbolc Intentions

As a time of new beginnings Imbolc can be a great opportunity to set yourself some intentions for the year ahead.These can be as specific or as open-ended as you prefer but it is always advisable to make them realistic and to set yourself a reasonable amount. Above all make them inspiring and exciting to you; there is no sense in setting yourself up for boredom or failure in the year ahead!

The stirring landscape is a great inspiration when it comes to setting intentions. Look to the trees and their gradually growing buds; remember that they are beginning to feed these buds in the same way and for the same reason that they did last year, their intentions for growth, flower and fruit the same as it has always been. There is nothing wrong with using your Imbolc intent to revisit old ideas or to reaffirm a seed you are already nurturing. At the same time the appearance of a new idea – just like the appearance of a fresh plant or flower – can provide a great surge of energy and inspiration.

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Honouring Brighid / St Brigid

At the centre of Imbolc stands the figure of Brigid – a celtic Goddess often known as a triple Goddess for her patronage of three crafts: poetry, healing and smithcraft (metalwork). She is associated with fire and water both as well as being considered a Goddess of the home and of inspiration. Over time she has aquired a variety of names/spellings of her name as well as being merged with/transformed into a Christian Saint. Sacred flames are lit and guarded in her honour and in folk tradition she was thought to visit homes on Imbolc Eve to offer good luck and good health for the year ahead. She is recognised as bringing the promise of Spring and awakening the Land from its slumber.

* Make a Brideog

In honour of the Imbolc patron you might like to create a figure in her likeness. Often crafted from corn/wheat/wood and then dressed using scraps of cloth, ribbons etc – often white/yellow/green – the Brideog can be carried out and about or simply through the rooms of your home; in quiet reflection or with great ceremony and celebration to welcome her coming.

The figure may then be placed at the head of the table for a celebratory meal or simply kept a place of honour throughout the evening. When it is time for bed she may be dismantled or laid to bed herself (see below).

* Make Brigid’s Bed

For those looking to welcome Brigid and the promise of Spring into their homes at Imbolc there is the old custom of making a bed for the Goddess to rest in during her visit. This can be made in a basket/box or any other suitable container, dressed with cloths, blankets and any other symbols of the season. Once complete, it should be left by the fireplace of the home where it might stay warm. Offerings of food or drink might also be left beside it to encourage the Goddess to stay and bring favour to the household. In the morning if the bed has been used/disturbed one knows that Brigid was present and that her blessing has been given.

* Hang a ribbon out

Another way to gain the Lady’s blessing – in particular her gift of inspiration – for the year to come, if to leave a ribbon hanging outside the window on Imbolc Eve. When Brigid passes by, stirring the Land to life, she will touch the ribbon and imbue it with her inspirational energy and gifts. This ribbon can then be kept as a talisman throughout the year or perhaps used as part of a further Imbolc craft.

* Weave a Brigid’s Cross or Bridie’s Eye

Both these crafts are traditionally undertake at Imbolc and linked to both the Goddess and Saint aspects of Brigid. They are simple to master, the repetition of weaving making them excellent tools for meditation as well as enjoyment. You might like to use pale colours such as white, yellow, green and blue in keeping with the season. Alternatively you could add some firey oranges and reds to inspire the energy of new life in your creation.

You can hang you cross or eye in the home or garden to bring luck, health and protection for the season or for the year ahead.

Making a Brigid’s Cross – this method uses pipe cleaners, for simplicity, but you could use reed/grasses if you prefer.

Making a Bridie’s Eye – called a ‘God’s Eye’ here, the process is explained simply, for children, using lollipop sticks. You can of course substitute these for sticks found in nature. I’d advise not worrying too much about the accuracy of knots etc, the yarn will hold itself quite well and can be overlapped when changing colours is prefered, as long as the weaving is done tightly enough.

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Fire and Spark

Imbolc is one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals that celebrate the journey of the Sun throughout the year; it is therefore no surprise that the lighting of candles and fires is a common act of seasonal celebration at this time. Not only do we honour the growing strength of the Sun by lighting flames in its honour, we are also embodying the spark of life that is returning to our quiet, decaying landscape. This spark can be found at the core of gestating seeds, in the deep roots of trees and in the hearts of hibernating animals who all begin to stir and waken as it grows a warmer and brighter. We carry our own spark, that may have felt diminished or reduced during the long, dark nights and cold, grey days of Winter. Now is the time to remember it is merely waiting for us to rekindle it and we can use the energy and celebration of imbolc to do just that!

* Light a candle to your Spark

Find a time and place to sit in quiet contemplation for a while. Turn off lights and electronic devices, submerging yourself in the darkness. Have a small candle, a safe holder and matches/lighter close to hand.

Bring yourself to your centre in whatever way you find most effective. Take some time to sit in that dark, quiet place, allowing the dreams and wonderings of the Wintertime to cross your mind. Rather than thinking about how you might achieve these things, focus instead on the feelings they engender within you: Excitement? Nerves? Uncertainty? Creativity? Allow these feelings to fill you and when you feel ready use the matches/lighter to light your candle. Fill that flame with your expectation and inspriation and allow its glow to light up your determination. Sit and meditate on that flame for a while; taking its light and warmth into you and allowing it to feed your heart and taking notice of any new ideas or possibilities that may present themselves.

You might like to say a few words as you light/look at the flame; such as:

“Carry the spark,
Kindle that flame,
Let new life come,
To the World again.”

or

“As this flame burns, so my spark will glow.
May it feed my dreams and help me grow.”

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* Burn for Brigid

Light a fire on Imbolc Eve; gathering friends or family around it to celebrate.

If you have the space to build a fire – in your hearth or in a firebowl/fire pit outside – then you can dedicate it to Brigid, using words or simply knowing in your heart. If you aren’t able to build a fire, candles can be just as effective; consider lighting them around the house or gathering a few in a central location and lighting them. A simple dedication would be:

“Brighid is come, Brighid is welcome!” (repeat 3 times)

You might then choose to write your Imbolc intentions on scraps of paper to be offered to/blessed by Brigid through burning them on the fire or using the candle flame. (Be sure to have a fireproof bowl on hand to hold them and be aware of fire safety at all times!)

Alternatively you can speak your wishes for the new year into the flames.

* The Eternal Flame

It is said that in centuries past a flame was kept burning at all times for St Brigid in certain locations across the World. Allowing your fire or candles to burn all through Imbolc Eve is a way of mimicing this tradition. It invites us to stand vigil through the dark hours, appreciating the light and warmth of the flames and – by association – the returning Sun. It could also be seen as a guide or encouragment to Brigid and the promise of Spring, guiding that Goddess and energy back into our lives and homes.

Other Traditions

* Cleansing

Imbolc is also a time to honour wells and water, thanks to Brigid’s patronage of the healing arts, which makes cleansing and renewal another popular idea at this time. It is also interesting to note that in Christian churches the of Candlemas (usually on the same day or day after Imbolc) marks the purification of Mary after childbirth. Bringing an air of freshness, cleanliness and health to ourselves and our surroundings is a great way to encourage that sense of the season turning and Spring being on its way. It can also help us feel more open and avaliable to the new inspirations and energies of the new year.

* Creativity

Brigid is also known as a poet and a patron Goddess of poets and other creative types. Her spark of new life is likened to the spark of inspiration that might generate new ideas and artisit creations. If you are a writer/artist or maker of some kind, you might like to leave the tools of your trade (pens/brushes/needles) out on Imbolc Eve for Brigid’s blessing. Alternatively you could cleanse and refresh them using water or the flame of a fire/candle.

* Youth

Brigid is known as a Maiden Goddess and the year is very much in its youngest phase at the moment. Imbolc can be a good time to nurture and embrace the Maiden/Youth in us all; perhaps give yourself permission to take up a new hobby/activity, celebrate the playful aspects of your personality with games and socialising or challenge yourself to see things with new, fresh eyes. Practiscing mindfulness can be a good way to start; a good, simple practise is the creation of Small Stones.

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Photo Credits:
1) telegraph.co.uk
2) angelfire.com
3) incultureparent.com
4) Flickr by bellydraft
5) treadwells-london.com

Online Imbolc – a new Walk The Wheel adventure

For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to check out the updated Homepage, Walk The Wheel will be hosting an Online Celebration to mark the next turn of the seasonal Wheel.

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Imbolc is the time when new life and new opportunities begin to stir. The Land – which is likely still cold and damp – begins to revive after its Winter slimber. Tiny shoots and buds appear, the days grow gradually longer and snowdrops bring their delicate beauty to our gardens and hedgerows.

As I won’t be leading any of the usual community events this Wheel turn (due to my own little Wheel Walker being due around Imbolc itself!) I am offering opportunities to celebrate with an even wider community of Wheel Walkers here online; via the website and Facebook page.

ALL information can be found by hovering over the menu tab ‘Imbolc 2015’ at the top of this page and then choosing what you need. There is currently an Introduction and Itinerary of events; tnew additions will arrive at the start of the main celebrations on Friday 30th January.

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Until then, keep your eyes open, your senses wide and take notice as the World around you begins to shift towards its next season.


Pic credits:
1) iheartit.com
2) celestialspiral.blogspot.com

Stirring

If you’re looking for my Grow Your Blog post for 2014 go here!
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As we approach the end of the month and step into the New Lunar Year I am filled with a rather unexpected feeling: Hope.

Imbolc is approaching and life is opening itself to new beginnings all over the place so it might seem ridiculous that hope should be unexpected, but recently has been as elusive as a cool spring of water in the driest of deserts.

I delved deep into the darkness of Winter over recent weeks. It wasn’t always poignant or meaningful, a lot of the time it was scary, unpleasant and deeply unsettling, and it was difficult to imagine anything beginning or feeling hopeful whilst I was there. But it also gave me the one thing I’d been craving, that gift which the season offers but so few choose to take: Rest.

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Taking a rest was almost a challenge, especially as a lot of it was spent alone and without distraction. I struggle to keep my mind focused on the present when I’m alone and this can lead to worry or fear creeping in, which are not restful in the slightest. But through perseverance and hard-won acceptance I discovered that I was able to trust my Self to want and do the right things, the things that my body and soul needed to rest and heal.

Sometimes those things were quiet and solitary – lots of long walks and spots of meditation – others were more vigorous – writing stories and planning events (more on that to follow in future posts!). All came together to weave a soul-bed in which I could allow my self to rest and ponder and dream; the kind of space that Winter holds so well. And not only did I benefit from it with a renewed energy supply and new ideas, I also felt more in tune with the World than I have in quite a while.

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So now, on Imbolc Eve, I can truly feel the first stirrings of Hope and Inspiration that the Goddess Brighid comes to bless us with. I am also aware of a New Moon shining tonight; the beginning of a beginning as it marks the start of a New Lunar Year, which the Chinese are calling the Year Of The Horse. I am hopeful that all these auspicious signs are weaving together with the land itself, as it starts to wake from its Winter slumber, to urge me (and all of us) into new beginnings and new opportunities  of our own.

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Happy New Lunar Year!

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Having woken from my brief hibernation I can promise a round of new posts in the coming days and weeks. Look out for an Imbolc Musing, an update on some new real-world events, the final collection of my January Small Stones and some in-depth looks into Walk the Wheel – how it works and why.

I hope you’ll join me there 🙂

New Year, New Dates

Walk the Wheel’s next ‘real world’ event will be taking place on Saturday 1st February at Hadfield Community Room/ Full details are available on the event page and will continue to be updated as we get closer to the day.

IMBOLC – Spinning The Thread

will be a gathering to honour the sleeping seeds, the promise of new life and the return of Brigid – Lady of Flame and Forge – to the land, who brings the first breath of Spring in her wake.
 
 

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Dates are also set for the next two seasonal events:

Spring Equinox on Sunday 16th March

Beltane on Saturday 3rd May

Both events are set to take place at Hadfield Community Room, events will appear on the FB page closer to the dates.

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Finally, there are some extra WtW events planned for the coming months; including possible links with International Women’s Day. So keep your eyes peeled for info as it becomes available!

WALK THE WHEEL holds regular events to honour and celebrate the changing of the seasons, the turning of the year and how we turn with it. 
It aims to give people a place where they can gather together to acknowledge and celebrate the world around them; fostering a sense of connection, community and fun in the process!

 

 

Copyright

All written materials and images, unless otherwise stated, are property of Kelly Tomlin 2016.

Further reading

We gather together to Walk the Wheel; to share with one another and be inspired.