Posts Tagged ‘imbolc’
Nature has a way of rebounding things on you in a kind of cosmic joke. I had just run out of posts and was wondering what I could write about next. Spring Equinox is still a way off (this post written on the 14th Feb), and outings will be rare due to the extreme weather of late.
I turned, instead, to the tarot cards I had drawn at the start of the year. Ivy had been and gone now that Imbolc had passed. The next Tree Angel Oracle tarot card I had to contemplate is Rowan.
The information in the accompanying manual says that Rowan is the font of creativity. While this card is ‘active’ I should expect to receive inspiration for any creative endeavour. How handy is that, considering I ran out of posts?
Here is some more information talking about the influence of the Rowan tree on druidry. It’s from the ever-useful Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.
“Rowan is one of the trees associated with Saint Brighid, the Celtic patroness of the arts, healing, smithing, spinning and weaving.”
“ …the sacred tree of February”
“Rowan is one of the nine sacred woods burnt in the Druids’ Beltaine fire. ”
“Rowan is also associated with dragons and serpents – sacred Rowans were once guarded by dragons.” (link)
So, the fact that the card was drawn to cover the period from Imbolc to Spring seems remarkably appropriate. The way that this tarot system works continues to blow my mind and expand my consciousness! The link to Brighid is something that I need to bear in mind in this period – it will help define which sacred sites to visit.
The idea that the rowan wood was burned at Beltane suggests that this would signify the end of the influence of the creative period.
Of course, anything which mentioned dragons or serpents is something which this blog instantly translates into “earth energies”. I will look into this association a bit more in future posts as I begin to dowse the link between earth energies and rowan trees at this time of year.
A whole new area of investigation has opened up!
You may remember that I did a tarot layout using the Camelot Oracle to help provide a framework for my work last year. I expected to do the same this year, so when i got prepared to do a layout I went seeking the cards. I felt a strong aversion to using the Camelot cards! Oh! So, I went to my next set of cards – nope! What about the next set? No! I was down to my last set of cards – a set which had been gifted to me, and which I very rarely use for anything. Yes, these felt right. How strange!
The deck is the Tree Angel Oracle tarot - a deck which explores the spirit of trees and their associated qualities. I began to see that trees would be playing a large part of my activities in 2014.
I asked what type of card I should draw, and came up with two – either a “sign” or a “challenge“. A sign card shows me something that I will either be shown, or that I will receive, some information or sign that I can use to further my progress. A challenge card shows me something that I need to change or overcome in order to make progress.
I dowsed for how many points in the year I should draw, and the answer came back as eight. Each point of the eight-fold Celtic year. I drew a card for each station, and some stations ‘insisted’ on more than one card! I allowed that feeling to prevail, after all, it was that feeling which had guided me to the cards in the first place. I wasn’t going to insist on being right here – I was being guided.
The layout shows the eight points of the year starting from Winter Solstice at the top (North, if you will) and going round the year clockwise. Sign cards are shown vertically, and the challenge cards horizontally.
Here are the cards listed against their positions in the Celtic Wheel of the Year:-
- IMBOLC – Ivy (sign)
- SPRING EQUINOX - Rowan (sign)
- BELTANE – Blackthorn (sign)
- SUMMER SOLSTICE - Almond (sign) + Elder (challenge)
- LAMMAS – Hawthorn (sign)
- AUTUMN EQUINOX - Elm (sign) + Lime (sign)
- SAMHAIN – Juniper (challenge)
- WINTER SOLSTICE - Birch (sign)
I have a feeling this year that I should interpret the cards as I get close to the date that I need the information. In the past when i have done tarot draws I have put the interpretations out as a kind of divination, a reading of the future. In this draw I feel that the threads of fate will come together close to the time of the event, rather than them being pre-formed and pre-destined. I think this is why I was shown a different tarot deck, because the information has to be treated differently.
Anyway – the only one that I want to make an interpretation from at the moment is the impending arrival of Imbolc. Here’s the card, and its meaning at the moment.
IMBOLC - Ivy – sign
Ivy is the giver of gifts without thought of reward.
As a sign card this is indicating some information to me, like a signpost on the path. As I have already found out that I will be giving up my current elementals, this seems to be a link in to that activity. I have decided, after seeing this card, that I should find an appropriate gift for each of the elementals. At Imbolc I should symbolically offer the gift to the elementals as a leaving present to them for all their help.
I’m arranging four ‘elemental’ site visits tomorrow. Let’s see what happens!
In the second of my year-end summary posts I am listing the most important things I have learned this year. I’ve arranged them in chronological order by month as this seems to show the development of the learning in the best way. There’s too much to read in one go, so I’ve split this into two posts. Part 1 is January to June/July. Part 2 will be the back half of the year.
One of my favourite phrases is “Every day is a school day.” It certainly feels like that walking this path of druidry and divination!
- Learned that some pet energies can be grounded through respectful burial involving knowledge of their energetic links to humans (e.g. an owner)
- Also found a spirit that is classically called an Incubus preying upon the vibrant energies of the three teenage girls in the house. Discovered that they can be ‘ensnared’ using a spiral-carved stone to confuse their pathway, and by changing the energy flows around the house to disrupt its patterns and portals.
- Created a four-stage cross tarot layout coinciding with the Celtic festival dates, and drew from the Camelot Oracle to define the path, the champion and the challenges at those special dates. The result was a fantastic way to keep me on track with my progress!
In the final part of our Imbolc excursion to Cumbria I will be showing you another new site for us - Maiden Castle – near the village of Wreay above the north end of Ullswater Lake. The story of how we found it is the real tale here, and the communion we had while there adds the final flourish to the whole episode.
Having already taken a wrong turn trying to find the narrow lane that led to the field in which the castle was supposed to be, according to the maps, we were somewhat exasperated already as we cruised along the hillside at slow speed trying to get a visual fix on any form of earthwork or stone cluster that might indicate a ‘castle’. Kal had been fully expecting a proper castle with turrets, flags and portcullis, but I assured him that we were looking form something far more mundane and far less spectacular!
The light was beginning to dim. The sun was descending behind the huge distant hills around Ullswater Lake. I had joked at the beginning of the day that we would probably arrive at the castle for sunset, and the joke was becoming a reality. Would we find the castle site before it got dark and too treacherous to locate?
We were about to give up. I stopped the car and insisted that Kal dowse whether we should continue looking or go to somewhere nearby like Castlerigg. I ditched the OS map and instead used the Viewranger pinpoint that I had preset the day before.
NOTE: Viewranger is superb for outdoor work of this kind such as finding sacred sites. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a complete lifesaver sometimes.
Go check them out if you like walking, running or discovering new places.
This was a precise fix on the castle and should allow us to home in on it. Kal returned – we had to find Maiden Castle, there were no alternatives! What now?
At that exact moment, sat in the car wondering whether to drive home or head out into the dim light in search of something we were both startled from our thoughts. A hawk burst out of a bush next to the car and flew across the bonnet. It swooped down into the vale below and disappeared again. Well – did we need any better sign? One glance was enough – we were decided – that was the sign we needed to venture forth. Then we noticed the footpath sign next to the car. Well, obviously, that would take us to the castle, right? Let’s hope so.
In the clear blue sky day of Imbolc this year the sight of Skiddaw mountain was a breathtaking, awe-inspiring experience. The mountain formed the scenic backdrop for your next sacred site – a stone circle that we had never visited before. The circle is called Elva Plain stone circle near the village of Embleton just north and west of Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria.
You can’t see the circle from the road,nor can you spot it when walking up the muddy track to the farm that manages the fields around the circle. Some advice tells you to try to reach the stone circle via the farmyard. Maybe in Summer that would be feasible. In Winter after much rain I don’t recommend that. Kal and I struggled up the sides of the track trying to avoid the worst of the mud whilst wondering how a couple who had set off just before us had managed to get so far so quickly. It was heavy going! Only for the dedicated, this one.
Once we reached the top of the track – not much of a climb compared to many circles we visit – then you get a fine view of Skiddaw and the surroundings. The circle can be seen in a field behind the farm below. The easiest approach is from the hill behind the circle where you could get a good view of the approach, and decide for yourself whether you wanted to wade through the mud patches.
Our second sacred site to visit on this glorious Imbolc day – February 2nd actually – was the church of The Bride herself - St Bridget’s in Bridekirk. Well, what else could you call a church in a village called Bridekirk – “kirk” being the old word for “church”? It’s The Bride’s church!
We must have missed all the fuss the day before when it was the official celebration day, because we were coming out on the 2nd February instead of the 1st. In every way the second felt like the better day! The weather was better, the day warmer, drier, and the scenery at least viewable on this day! Bridget wouldn’t mind, we felt.
As I wandered gently through the churchyard I saw a sight that caught my eye. It was a section of a yew tree, and it had been decorated with stones and other objects - like the Yule Log of old tradition, I thought to myself. How odd! But how nice too.
As we continued through the churchyard Kal zoomed off. I switched on my dowsing senses but not using the dowsing rods, only using my dowsing sense. I asked to be taken to a place where I need to be. It turned out to be quite an unusual place!
I feel like this is the first proper post of the year. Imbolc always feels like a door opening, a gateway swinging wide to let in the rush of the new year’s energies. This year especially so, for some reason. The anticipation, as always, had been eager, and so like two whippets let loose from a leash Kal and I hurtled towards Cumbria’s finest fells in the spring-fresh morning of an awakening sun. The day was bright, clear, the sky blue and uncovered. The Bride was waiting at the altar, and we were heading down the aisle to meet her – like… two whippets? That analogy so totally doesn’t work when you carry it through!
Our first stop on a packed itinerary was a well. I hadn’t actually planned the day to coincide with my recent Camelot Oracle draw – the agenda had been set even before that – yet the first card I had drawn for that reading was to place Merlin at The Wells on Imbolc. Sometimes the cards are so accurate that I wonder how we have any free choice at all!
A Morning Dip
Anna’s Well, or Stanger Spa, is a recently renovated saline well, which is unusual because it’s quite far away from any obvious salt source, unless there is chlorine or rock salt underneath somewhere. Normally we choose to go to a well first so that I can do some form of purification ritual. I like to cleanse myself of the worldly energies before embarking on a new year’s work and a new quest. This day I would be hoping for both a new quest and a new spirit guide. Absolution through a saline solution seemed appropriate. First, however, we have to get there.
Anna is probably a christianisation (if that’s a proper verb) of the earlier pagan Annan – a form of the triple goddess. Seemed highly appropriate on this, the first of the goddess’ feast days.
As we walked along a well-used bridleway we imagined that the going would be easy, however as is usually the case we were soon to meet an obstacle that would challenge our resolve and determination. We rounded a corner to meet the shining sight of a long iced-over pool of water that practically barred our path. Even in sturdy walking boots I baulked at the prospect of wading through the icy water. Then a foolish thought chimed in – would Kal fall, or would his new waterproof shoes save him waterlogged feet from the outset today? I raced to the end of the track to get a good vantage point on the forthcoming action!
Something was helping Kal this day. He stayed both dry and upright! Maybe I’ll have to sack the sidekick? He’s not providing the usual levels of comedy value these days! We made it over the water, the hill and across the frozen marshland to reach the well’s building.