The spring equinox has come and gone, we now approach the end of March and the coming of Easter. Earlier this month I wrote a blog called ‘In winter’s Grip’ and in that blog I discuss briefly, England’s rather abnormal weather front. See link below.
Putting aside that snow in February is hardly unknown in England, we do have to take on board, that this spring has been one of the coldest in living memory. The month has been distinctly notable for the blizzards, which have continued through March right to the equinox. In some parts the lambs have come a little late, as have the few brave spring flowers that have so far, sallied forth from the depths.
I have been rather fortunate, I have taken annual leave the week before and the week of the equinox. Yet the month has been rather full on, both sweet and sour. A bereavement during the latter part of February cast a shadow, a shadow long enough to touch the beginning of March and tinge spring with an element of sadness.
Noting this however, we should not dwell too long upon the more negative aspects of the month. My annual leave began with a trip to London and a visit to the Fortean Society at Conway Hall. I was there to hear a most informative lecture on Herne the Hunter and Robin Hood. This was delivered with great professionalism by John Callow, who was courteous enough to sign his new book. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, the subject is very much my personal area of interest and a review will eventually be forthcoming.
That week of annual leave was indeed a busy one, perhaps capturing the slow change of tide as winter very slowly relinquished its grip. A change barely discernible in the air yet extant. I was active, attending two meetings relating to a charitable venture, I had meetings with friends and I saw a rather good amateur production of Tommy, it was quite enough to keep me occupied that week.
During the latter part of that same week prior to the equinox, we held our usual moot. It was our delight to drink to the health of two of our attendees who had just announced their engagement. We hoped that this was a sign, the winds of change and that spring was truly in the air. However, that weekend the snows returned, less fierce but as disruptive as previously noted. A reminder that the Snow Queen was not yet ready to depart.
We the Hearth of the Turning Wheel, should have been holding our spring equinox meeting on Monday the 19th of March. The eve of the official date. Due to the inclement weather we postponed one day, meeting for our observance on the evening of the 20th. During this ritual we read poetry and distributed chocolate eggs.
“Ostara is new light, soft sweet air, the running hare and spring flowers. The bursting of buds and the straight following of new paths. May the spirits of the air guide our thoughts when we set out on new paths. May the spirits of the Sun and fire give us vitality and passion to make new ventures successful. May the spirits of water help us to tread new paths with balanced emotions. May the spirits of the earth give us physical balance so we may draw life and health from the strengthening Sun. May the Gods watch over us this springtime and may we continually remember to give thanks to them for this new season.” Poem adapted from Duff G. (2002) ‘The wheel of the Wiccan year.’ Rider Publishing.
Since only a few of us had been able to attend and I had bought plenty of chocolate eggs, we had enough for two each. Wrapped around each egg I had placed a slip of paper and upon each slip, was typed a motto taken from the Anglo Saxon Rune Poem. These served as a little pointer or message for the recipient. My two stanzas of the poem are reproduced below.
‘Peorth is a source of recreation and amusement to the great, where warriors sit blithely together in the banqueting-hall.’
‘The joyous man is dear to his kinsmen; yet every man is doomed to fail his fellow, since the Lord by his decree will commit the vile carrion to the earth.’
Within a day or so of the equinox there was without doubt, a change in the air. There was less chill, the skies were bright and walking around the village I could appreciate this change. Yet the change was not complete, snow was still present in the secluded parts. Although the hares were out in the fields, those fields were hard and still unwelcoming. To balance this however, I saw my first butterfly and my first bumblebee.
Later in the week I attended the wedding reception of a work colleague. A welcome and complementary event to the engagement announcement made earlier in the week. Capturing as it did, a certain lighter air. Yet despite all this promise, the sun, the lambs, the flowers and the tides of romance. The chill and the ice lingers on. The promise we look for and feel with the lengthening days, seems inconsistent, inconstant and itinerant.
At the time of writing it is the seventh anniversary of this blog and I find myself increasingly aware of its significance to my life. Equally I am surprised at the moderate success of the blog. I appear to have gained some respect in its writing, while building upon my published writings. The blog may have only a few followers but due to shares across the web, primarily Facebook, I now average two thousand visits a month. Who is reading this and why?
All this reminds us how much we cannot take for granted. Success or the lack of it. Respect or the lack of it. We cannot take nature, the weather or indeed even our health for granted. We are all subject to many extraneous factors and our fate is known to none, perhaps not even the Gods. It is with that thought and in the hope that the winter chill will soon rescind, that I end with 'Sigdrifa’s Prayer' from Sigdrifasmal.
Hail, sons of day!
And night and her daughter now!
Look on us here with loving eyes,
That waiting we victory win.
Hail to the Gods!
Ye Goddesses, hail!
And all the generous earth!
Give to us wisdom and goodly speech,
And healing hands, life-long.”