Recognition - and invitation
A shift in the angle of the sun at Imbolc
This time of year, every year, a subtle shift happens. The air changes. The light changes. The ice begins to melt. Even if we don’t consciously notice, our body feels the shift.
The midwinter turning is an event, marked by the ancients as Imbolc, when the goddess of spring returns from her winter sleep to whisper the world awake.
Bride or Brigid, the Exalted One, was the Irish goddess of spring, fertility, and life.
She is associated with wisdom, poetry, healing, protection, smithing and domesticated animals. Cormac's Glossary, written in the 9th century by Christian monks, says that Brigid was "the goddess whom poets adored" and that she had two sisters: Brigid the healer and Brigid the smith. This suggests she may have been a triple deity. She is also thought to have some relation to the British Celtic goddess Brigantia.
Saint Brigid shares many of the goddess's attributes and her feast day, 1 February, was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc. It has thus been argued that the saint is a Christianization of the goddess, or that the lore of the goddess was transferred to her. (Source: Wikipedia)
Many of Ireland’s wells and springs are dedicated to Brigid for when she returns, all that was frozen flows again as life stirs beneath the snow. She is the green fuse, the infusion of life force in matter. She is the Bride. The Shakti to the Shiva. The Yin to the Yang.
I’d heard of Bride (aka Brigid) before but before I experienced her presence, her vital energy, inside of me, I didn’t understand in an embodied, living way, what she is.
Now I get it: This Goddess represents the RECOGNITION of the living, moving energy of life. What follows is a flow poem that I made as this recognition was awakening in me.
As you read along, listen for the stirrings of her reflection in you. Then, follow the prompts at the end of this post as see what emerges through your own engagement with Her.
The green fuse, the flow of life force.
She arrived as a quickening. A stirring.
She called me out of sleep, out of bed.
Something new was here.
Something bright, something moving, alive
and so very welcome after the dreary days of January.
I did not have her name - not yet.
But she is not her name - I did not need a name.
I followed. I listened.
A swirl of words arrived: Sacred, Holding, Poetry, Making.
I wrote them down, feeling,
as they appeared on the page by my own hand,
something pushing its way to the surface.
Shoot, Vine, living fuse.
I had to move.
I had to laugh.
I had to make things.
I had to, I couldn’t help myself, dance.
I placed my feet on the floor and I walked to the kitchen.
I turned on the tap and clear water gushed,
filling the kettle.
I set it to boil and
for whatever this was,
moving through me,
to show itself.
The tea steeped,
gold blooming out into clear water,
spreading in the white cup.
I stirred it up.
Whatever this was, it was here
in the bark twig petal sunlight flavor of the tea.
It was here in my tongue, tasting it.
Whatever this was, it was everywhere,
alive alive alive,
awake awake awake,
It was in me.
I was staring into my teacup when
my husband padded into the room in his socks,
sleepy and yawning and scratching, and,
unaware that I was speaking with a goddess
he reached for me.
And right there in the kitchen,
at the center between the solstice and the equinox,
one thing ended and the next began.
My heart turned
toward a new light
strange at first,
So much had come before and so much was flowing in right now
all at once.
Where would I put it what would I do with it how did I not notice this before?
You are noticing it now.
It whispered. SHE whispered.
Here we are: you, me, this.
See if you can
And how can I explain this?
Closer to the soil and the seed of myself than I have ever been.
And how can I explain this?
All day, as the angle of the sun shifted
away from winter, toward spring,
She reminded me who I am and who She is.
All day, I felt it,
the turning point,
between believing that the gods were outside of me - over there, in books, in concepts, in vague constellations floating out of reach, overhead and
knowing, they’re inside of me:
the gods, the stars, all of it.
The thing is: I could feel it.
The thing is: I stayed.
Normally, I’d quiet this sort of thing down
(too busy being on time for something else)
Normally, I’d push it away
(too threatened, too small, too unworthy)
to engage with anything like power moving inside my own body.
This time, I didn’t do that.
I didn’t log onto Facebook or Instagram or read my email.
I didn’t pour a glass of wine, didn’t turn on some binge-watch, didn’t open a book.
the angle of the sunlight had shifted
inside of me.
because this time
I wanted to feel it - all of it
and let it move me.
And let me tell you,
it was sacred.
Now, right here I have to say that this is not some veiled allegory for great sex. This is not a poem about bodies touching in the morning and making a new kind of love. Or maybe it is. This green living life force is certainly in lovemaking. Love reaching for love. Joy reaching for joy.
I packed my white canvas bag
with the writing I am sometimes afraid to approach,
and wrapped the wool challis scarf with blue roses
(the one that I’d wanted for more than two years before I let myself have it)
around my throat and
I drove, notebook open on my lap,
words pouring onto the page.
an open wound
bleeding words as
She flowed in
in the best way.
to what was outside of me
and it came inside.
Questions for Reflection:
What does aliveness feel like? Inside of you? Where is that feeling? What does it taste like, smell like, sound like? Is it a movement, a pressure, a recognition?
At this moment of turning from winter toward spring, what’s stirring in you? What feels like it’s waking up, turning back on, re-activating? Where is that happening? In your mind, in your body, in your heart?
What waking up - and stirring - around you? In your relationships, in your work life, in your home and family? What feels different? In what way?
Give this stirring a voice. Let it speak to you about yourself at this time in your life. Let it speak to you about your body, your friendships, your work life. Ask it questions. Let it answer them. What do you want to know about this life, about the world? Listen. Let your own stirring awaken and speak.
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