What are we leaping towards
what wants to push up from cold ground
what wants to open to the sun
what is it that we need to know?
What quiet, steady pulse beats
below the surface
what hope watches from the wings
what light grows broad
upon a patch of ground...
PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
There is no set date, no temperature, nor is there a light level at which nature in the Northern hemisphere agrees on spring having arrived. It doesn’t help that freak storms and late frosts are always an option. Do you start early and hope to get ahead or hang on a bit longer in the hopes your precious eggs and shoots aren’t frosted to death?
Tree by tree, bird by bird, each individual makes their own choice about when to push forward into this new cycle of living. The choice to live is the risk of death and failure. At this time of year, there is nothing else. Living is a risky business, but wait too long and the opportunity passes, it is summer already and you have nothing to hatch....
If you pause in darkness what does your body have to tell you? What do your dreams have to tell you? What does the frozen ground have to tell you? What do the spirits of place have to tell you?
What song can only be sung by you?
What emberheart can only be ignited by your breath?
What path have your feet found?
What messages are carved in stone and etched on leaf for your eyes and in your name?
What promise are you keeping?
Time for your light to shine
from within the sheltering dark.
Modern Pagan traditions have the Oak and Holly kings fighting at the summer and winter solstices. It’s a good excuse to evoke some mumming drama and get some chaps to hit each other with bits of wood, and as such is not without merit. But what of the oak and the holly?
Winter is certainly holly’s season. The deciduous trees shed their leaves a month or two ago, so the dark glossy hues of the holly stand out. Red holly berries can be one of the few bright things in a winter environment, still vivid even on gloomy days, and vibrant against backdrops of snow. Holly is certainly King at this time of year, but in practice he’s probably been King since Samhain....
The insanity of the holidays can drive anyone crazy. Getting gifts, arranging to visit with family, work parties, and more. It is a time of the year when you can lose track of the importance of the phase of the year we are in.
You can find any posting on what to do on Yule, how to decorate your house with all the associations, what food to cook and so on. I don’t do any of it. I find the holidays stressful and unbearable in most years....
Seasonal celebration themes are such a strong focus within the magical and pagans worldview that it can be difficult to see beyond them. I don’t mean to ignore the seasons instead what I am asking is, what is beyond the celebration seasonal cycle? The Seasons are an excellent place to start when you first begin your magical study but having started there it is important to remember that they are not the bee all and end of magical practice....
Rating: PI (Contains Politically Incorrect Language)
There's a whole genre of Minnesota jokes that begin: “Minnesota has two seasons: Winter and....” Winter and Road Repair. Winter and Winter-is-Coming. Occasionally there are variations: “...two seasons: Shovel and Swat.” Whatever one calls its partner, though, Winter is the central fact of existence here in Lake Country. Spring and Fall aren't really seasons in the North; they're occasional delightful visitors, all the more beloved for their poignantly brief stay. Our year really is a bi-seasonal one.
This would have been utterly familiar to the ancestors. The ancient Germanic speakers knew a two-season, Winter-Summer year: etymologically, the “windy” and “sunny” seasons respectively. The great holidays of Proto-Germanic culture were apparently Midwinter and Midsummer, associated even then—between 3000 and 4000 years ago—with the winter and summer sunsteads (solstices). We know that this goes back to the time before the Germanic languages branched off from one another because the terms are preserved in all surviving daughter languages.