Nature stirs here in the north. The days begin to stretch into greening hillsides smudged with impressions of lilac and fuchsia as heather blooms amidst a stippling of wildflowers.
This week, the feast of Imbolc and the celebration of Brighid accompany the first snowdrops and crocuses, the daffodils that spill sunshine all along bridlepaths and woodland tracks.
The lengthening days remind us that our lives move in cycles that reflect our soul’s circumambulations and regressions.
As winter wanes, our creative spark may have dimmed, we may feel lost in a bleak and shadowed wasteland. Sometimes it’s a slight tremor that cleaves a reservoir of ancient sorrow. News that careens through the efficient, logical pace of our life; hidden things, suddenly seen that snag our gaze. Lions on the loose that hunt us in our dark-night dreaming, or an initiation into loss that dismembers who we thought we were. In our reverence for straight lines and upward arcs of evolution we have forgotten the soft curve of the circle that cradles us through times of darkness and a tentative re-emergence. Thomas Moore offers this: “when we’re shocked into awareness by a tragedy or a failure, this is the time not simply to make resolutions for the future, but to choose to live an awakened life.”
In homes where the old Celtic rituals are still practiced, Imbolc is a festival of inspiration as the first delicate, hardy snow drops break through the cold earth. As nature quickens with the seeds of new life, there will be many who will honour the ancient Celtic goddess Brighid who symbolises the liberation of the land from winter’s icy grip, and the animation of passion and vitality as we reimagine and create our world once more. Brighid’s lunar fire festival of Imbolc coincides with the Sun’s passage through Aquarius, one of the four fixed signs in the zodiac. The solar and lunar symbolism is apparent here in the north, as the earth begins to warm.
On Sunday, February 5th a numinous Leo moon brandishes her glittering mane across the heavens, a grand finale in the lunar cycle that may accompany a recognition of a heart-longing worthy of tender care. Leo, like the lion, symbolises strength and courage. Leo is associated with the heart—le coeur. That sacred repository of joy that contains the delicious delight, the audacious longing that emboldens us to rise up strong.
This lunation falls at 17° Leo and makes a departing square to Uranus, that may accompany a sudden epiphany that announces the presence of something that ignites our passion, emboldens our heart.
In her resplendent memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” Maya Angelou writes: “I believe that each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We are born to this moment for the purpose of realizing our inherent strengths and striving to become all that we are capable of being. But we are not capable of being our best unless we have the courage to face who we are and to live out our full potential.
Venus, the planet that signifies our values and relationships, is moving through compassionate Pisces now, and she squares Mars in Gemini as the moon comes full circle. The ancients spoke of the scintilla, the vital spark, that vivifies and brings joy to those timeless moments of creativity in the studio, the kitchen, or the garden, or when our hearts are moved by beauty, inspired and replete. Venus and Mars call forth our desires―great and small. A longing for chocolate may nestle in a soul-longing for more joy, more sweetness in our lives. The intimacy of sex may be a place where divinity dwells, a holy place of pleasure. As the moon in Leo receives the light of the sun in Aquarius, (a sign with two dissimilar rulers, Saturn and Uranus) we evoke the limitations and boundaries of Saturn and the unexpected discharge of Uranian energy, as we find the courage to welcome the joy and the sorrow of our desire in the knowledge that our soul-hunger may be a longing for spiritual, not earthly, nourishment. May we emerge from stagnation or fear with brave hearts and feel the quickening.
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Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don’t frighten me at all.