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Do you feel the Quickening?

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 4:50 AM

Imbolc is celebrated on 1st-2nd February, in the Northern hemisphere,  and marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It's the celebration of the end of Winter and the beginning of the “Light Half” of the year. Imbolc is a Pagan festival in honour of the Goddess, Brighid, but, as with many Pagan festivals, it was also celebrated by Celtic Christians and later by the Roman church, who called it “Saint Brighid’s Day” or “Candlemas”. All these celebrations - and similar festivals in other traditions at this season - are a joyful acknowledgement of Light, physical and spiritual, coming into the world.


I have suffered with a sunlight deficiency condition since I was a child and our dark British winters, though possessed of a certain beauty, are particularly difficult.  Imbolc is, for me, the Stirring time - the Quickening time - when I begin, like the spring flowers, to push my way through the dark and cold and feel the tingling of green leaves and bright blossom again. It’s a time when I start to re-awaken all over again,  to life and love and the joy of being.


Here are some of my Imbolc poems, with love.


Imbolc


Electricity splinters

naked through the world.

Sharp and sparking

dangerous through the

veins and nerves of the

multi-seasoned earth.

Frosted light and bright and

hard as diamonds –

stung by spring’s quicksilver –

shaken from its deep sepulchral sleep.



Quickening


Today’s the day,

the birdsong day,

the day of mischievous Mercury

silvering rain

and rushing through all our veins,

the day of the Dance beginning again.

This is the day Ouroboros smiles

and almost spits its tail

to the stars,

the day Janus turns both heads towards me

and winks.

This is the day when,

even through rain -

or snow

or frost,

warm fronts or cold fronts

no matter -

the Sun begins to shine.

This,

today,

is Quickening time.



Brighid’s Day


The world is a stage

and every day,

a new scene in the play...

And now,

Brighid comes out from the room where the Green man sleeps,

steps through the curtain

and takes centre stage.

Her smile is no longer shy-behind-snowflakes,

or sneaking at Solstice,

ghost-like guest at the fireside.

Now, she smiles wide

and takes a bow,

laughing aloud

and throwing flowers to the crowd,

the orchestra begins to play.

Now,

today,

Winter speaks a last soliloquy,

a final flurry of frost,

and bows out.

Waterfalls roar

and the forests cry out,

“It’s almost time!

Time to thaw,

time to melt,

time to feel the tingling of leaves,

the warm breath of another Summer on the breeze.”

The Green Man stirs

and birds sing...

Brighid smiles,

her belly full of promise,

feeling the Quickening of the season

and the approaching birth

of Spring.



Half Way


In the still-dark days,

where Frost feels welcome

and snowflakes make love

to the cold ground,

In the silent pause,

the bated breath,

in the steel of Winter pretending death,

a swell,

a stirring sigh,

naked branches stretch stark fingers

to a steely sky -

an upbeat

for a coming downbeat,

and the overture begins to play.

Brighid steps upon the softening Earth,

Swans fly above the sunrise flame,

and the world is given birth

again.



Welcoming Brighid


Welcome Goddess,

pregnant

and full of promise,

life quickening in your belly

and the sting of Spring

mercurial in your veins.

Welcome Brighid,

Beautiful,

Bountiful,

your joy-filled laughter

barely restrained.

Welcome Love,

Welcome Grace,

Welcome the Seasons,

turning apace.

Welcome Life,

Welcome Light,

Welcome days

banishing night.

Welcome Goddess,

pregnant

and full of promise,

life quickening in your belly

and the sting of Spring

mercurial in your veins.

Welcome Brighid,

Beautiful,

bountiful,

your joy-filled laughter

barely restrained.



Ouroboros’ Kiss


Boldy,

step into the Ouroboros circle,

the place where life and death

smile into each other’s eyes,

where dross

is turned to gold.

Strip naked,

cold,

then,

strip again.

Flay skin from flesh

and flesh from bone,

throw all into the cauldron

and keep on dancing.

Stars bright above,

the moon another Ouroboros,

smiling strong.

Dance!

Dance the dance of dawn,

of the ancient ever-young,

of the re-born.

Look to the East,

where the new day

pours liquid gold over the horizon

and dance!

Dance to the rhythm

of the season,

to the song of the stars.

Dance to the dying

and rising,

the cessation and creation,

the continuation.

Dance!

Here, in the time between times,

in the dark-light,

not-quite night,

in the dance before dawn,

I am re-born

and I rise on the bliss

of Ouroboros’ kiss

to dance again.



Imbolc’s Cauldron


Beneath the frost-hard earth a stirring sigh -

a pulse, though faint, beats unashamedly -

and whispers into cloud-wrapped, wintry sky,

and echoes in the pounding of the sea:

“Awake! Awake, for Quickening Time is here

and Mercury runs warm through every vein,

The snow-kissed Earth feels Springtime drawing near

and Imbolc’s Cauldron bubbles once again.”

The belly of the Goddess swells and blooms

and feels, with every dream-drenched, pre-dawn breath,

new life a-stir in Winter’s Catacombs

and Resurrection rides the back of Death.

“The Spring is near!” birds call from leafless bough;

“The Quickening Time is here; the Time is Now.”


Image: "Brighid Smiles" By Ruth Calder Murphy (Arciemme)

 

 

 

Categories: Poetry, Musings, News

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