The Magic of Snow

It snowed where I live yesterday. Not a great deal, and not heavily enough to actually lie on the ground, but I have always loved the snow. Most of all, I love looking up and seeing the dark grey flecks of the snowflakes cascading down from the paler grey clouds. It’s a sight which has always struck me as magical, and on the rare occasions when snow does actually lie where I live, I am energised by it. So I went looking for ways in which this energy can be used, because it seems far too good a thing to allow to go to waste.

Emotions

Snow is a very emotional aspect of the element of water. And, like anything at all to do with water, it has two opposing sides to it. This can make working with its energies somewhat challenging, as it is important to look at which energy the specific snowfall you are using holds. If the snow fell in a howling blizzard, then using it to help bind someone from doing harm would seem entirely appropriate. If, on the other hand, it is one of those quiet snowfalls which simply fall, blanketing the land with its soft covering, then using it for banishing negativity isn’t going to work as well, but a gentle prosperity spell to come to fruition when the snow melts might work perfectly.

These are not the only possibilities for harnessing the energy of a snowfall, of course, but I do not often use direct spells, and would recommend those who are interested in such things to seek out other sources for them. The magic that I use is far more intuitive, and as such much more difficult to put down on paper – or a computer screen.

Silent Song

The quality of snow that I miss more than any other is the stillness and silence that the world holds after a deep snowfall. It’s as if the world is holding its breath, and even birdsong sounds almost too loud – although I’ve yet to encounter a snowfall deep enough to prevent the blackbirds from loudly proclaiming their territories!

This silence helps to heal the soul, if you will allow it to sink into you. It is one of the great healers of nature, and all the more precious for being rare. Just be certain that you wrap up warm! Nature will heal you, if you let it, but if you are not careful it will kill just as easily.

Imbolc 2018

Celebrating Imbolc

I know I have written about Imbolc before, but it is the first of the festivals to appear in any year, and as such, it is an important point in the pagan calendar.

Imbolc is the Celtic festival which marks the beginning of the lambing season and the first stirrings of new life in the land. At this time of the year, all of nature is pregnant, and only just visible. The celebrations which surround Imbolc reflect this. It is not the flashy celebration of life which will come later, at Beltane. Instead, Imbolc celebrates the hope of new life and the welcome return of the light.

Imbolc is a time to let go of the past and look to the future. It is a reflective celebration, a turning inward to attempt to work out the thoughts and habits which no longer serve any practical purpose in your life. It is also a great time for spring-cleaning, although this is an aspect of the festival that I personally struggle with!

For those who want to identify the festivals with a specific deity, Imbolc is one of the great Fire Festivals held in honour of the Goddess Brigid (or Bride, Brigit, Brighit, and a host of other spellings). She was held in such esteem that the early Christians converted her into St Bridget rather than attempting to discredit the worship of her. She is a Goddess of healing, poetry, and smithcraft. She brings fertility to the land and its people, and as such is closely connected to both midwives and new-born babies. She is one of the Triple Goddess, appearing at Imbolc in the guise of the Maiden.

Imbolc Rituals

It is traditional to light every lamp in the house at sunset on Imbolc – even if only for a few moments. Alternatively, light candles in each room in honour of the rebirth of the Sun. If there is snow on the ground outside, walk in it for a moment, while summoning thoughts of the feel of summer.

Celebrate by having a simple meal of meat and dairy products, remembering that this is only the start of the bounty that this year will bring.

Essential Crystals for Beginners

The world of using crystals to enhance your life is far too wide and varied for there to be a one size fits all guide to what will be right for you. However, there are some crystals that everyone should have on hand.

This is just a guide, however. With crystals, almost more than with any other form of energy work, your personal feelings should never be ignored. Try using the stones, and you will develop a far deeper understanding of how they should be used.

Clear Quartz

Clear quartz is going to be number one on any list of this type. It is easily one of the most powerful healing and amplifying crystals out there. It absorbs, stores, releases and regulates energy flow, and is excellent for unblocking energy. A must for anyone who wants to start healing with crystals, it is a great stone for anyone, whatever their intentions are.

Rose Quartz

Another very familiar stone, rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace. It is believed to help attract love, and is a powerful addition to any grid where emotional health needs to be enhanced.

Amethyst

Amethyst is a fairly easy stone to find, as it is one of the most commonly sold crystals out there. It is a very powerful and protective stone. Traditionally, it was used to prevent drunkenness, and it can protect against over-indulgence in any area of your life. It can also help to clear your mind, allow you to focus, and help you to make decisions.

Green Aventurine

Green Aventuine is one of the first stones I ever used, and it is still a personal favourite today. It is all about vitality. It helps to boost the vibration – and so the power – of anything it is put to work on. It is also a protective stone, particularly from situations and people who drain your energy.

Black Tourmaline

Black tourmaline is a protective stone. It helps to block harmful electromagnetic frequencies, including ill-will and negative energy from people around you. It works with the base (or root) chakra in order to ground these energies and keep them from manifesting within your aura.

Citrine

Citrine is often yellow in colour, but it ranges in hue from brown to smoky grey. This stone carries the energy of the sun within it, making it an amazing regeneration stone and a good one to add to grids to help clear the body and aura of negativity. It is also good for helping to activate and open the crown chakra.

Tiger’s Eye

This is an ideal crystal to use in grids to help to build confidence and self belief. It helps to connect us to the Earth, making it a very useful stone to include in any sort of grounding ritual or grids focusing on more practical matters.

Hematite

I like to think of hematite as the crystal equivalent of a bouncer. It helps to shield the person who carries it from psychic attacks and negative energies, while at the same time strengthening your aura.

Selenite

Selenite is a reasonably easy stone to find. It is a very good stone to use when working with the crown and brow chakra, and can help you to focus during meditation. It has been said that when two people each hold a piece of this stone can help enhance telepathic communication, although I have yet to test this personally.

 

The Festival of Springtime

Ostara is one of the many names for the celebration of the spring equinox. It is said to come from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre, who was a goddess of spring and fertility. It is also close to the Christian celebration of Easter, and the Jewish festival of Passover.

It is not surprising that a celebration can be found at this time of year in almost every civilisation, fro ancient Persia and the Mayan civilizations to the more modern religion of Christianity. The turning of the Wheel of the Year is obvious, and the returning of life in the spring is too powerful a symbol not to be recognised.

Here are a few examples of how this exciting time of the year is celebrated around the world.

Marzanna – Poland

This is a celebration which dates back to around the middle of the 16th century. Dolls known as Marzanna are made of straw and decorated in order to symbolize the cold, dreary winter. They are then paraded through the street as crowds make their way to the nearest body of water. The decorated dolls are then thrown into the water in order to drown the wrath of the winter.

Baba Marta – Bulgaria

Baba Marta literally translates to ‘the grandmother of March’, and folklore says that Baba Marta is a cranky old lady who must be treated well and with kindness, or she will bring more cold, bleak winter days to torment the land.

In order to welcome the change of the season, people wear red and white bracelets which symbolise health and fertility. They hand out other red and white symbols to friends and family to wish them peace and happiness for the rest of the year.

Holi – India

The colourful festival of Holi takes place in late February or early March. The festival was originally a Hindu tradition, but it is now seen as more a cultural celebration than a religious one.

Holi ushers in the spring with bonfires and parties the night before the festival itself. The next day, people gather on the streets for a giant colour fight, with people through dyed powder onto each other. It offers a chance to let go of the cares and hardships of winter and to reconnect with other people.

Falles – Spain

The population of Valencia in Spain almost triples in size during the annual Falles festival in March. It is a week-long spectacle of fiery, satirical entertainment which starts with processions in order to honour Saint Joseph and ends with the mass burning of paper-mache figures filled with firecrackers.

It is not uncommon for those attending these celebrations to wear medieval clothing, and the entire week is accompanied by a huge street party.

The Great Stones

Britain is dotted with ancient standing stones, some single monuments and some arranged in circles. While Stonehenge is certainly the most famous of them all, there are many others worth the mention. The Dragon Project has studied the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire has detected ultrasonic rays as well as radiation and magnetic energies coming from the stones.

The pattern of energy coming from the stones varies in a way which is linked to the natural cycles of the moon and the turning of the seasons. Photographs have shown various effects around the stones, from orbs of light to odd shimmers in the air.

Many people detect actual presences near these old stones. Standing stones are said to be doorways to other worlds and people have heard music and seen lights and strange people around them for centuries.

Creating Your Own Stone Circle

It is not always possible to work in close contact with the actual ancient stone circles. Many of them are now protected from casual visitors and the vandalism of centuries by English Heritage and the National Trust. Thankfully, for people who want to get in close contact with the Song of the Earth, it is entirely possible to create your own circle in your garden.

They do not need to be nearly as large as the ancient circles, either – which is a relief, as few of us have that sort of space.

Take time in the creation of your circle. Choose stones which you feel a connection to, and ones which feel ‘right’. Make sure that they are sturdy. They do not have to be taller than 30cm high for your vertical stones, with longer and thinner ones for the horizontals.

Choose the location for your circle, and light a candle each time you place a stone in position. First place the four main compass stones at the north, south, east and west points of your circle. Then the mid-point stones at the north-east, south-east, north-west and south-west of the circle. Spread these placements down over several days, placing one stone at a time. While the candle burns, meditate on the stone you have placed. Give it, and the position it is placed in, your full attention.

Consecrating Your Circle

Once every stone is placed, circle it nine times clockwise at dawn, beginning from the North Stone. As you pass each stone, touch it with a living branch from a nearby tree. Allow that to settle for the day, and then circle it nine times anti-clockwise at sunset, beginning at the South Stone. This time, touch each stone with a naturally fallen dead branch.

Light a golden candle in the centre and circle it with your favourite brown, yellow, red, or orange crystals. It can be fun to invite a few friends over to dance around your circle, if you have people who share your interest nearby.

The day after, sit quietly in your circle and allow the sounds of the Earth wash over you. Bury one of your favourite crystals in the heart of your circle, and feel free to place another standing stone over it if it feels right.

Try to spend a few moments each day with your circle, circling it at least once each way to help focus the energy of the Song of the Earth. Over time, your circle will grow in power and will offer you calming energy and mild healing, as the earth gives you back the attention you give to it multiplied several times over.

 

Celebrating Imbolc

Imbolc is one of the lesser-known festivals in the Celtic pagan calendar. It marks the point in the year where the first signs of spring begin to emerge, and the world turns back from the dark quiet of winter to the warmth and life of spring. It is a time for bringing new ideas and projects into the light, and for moving to actively grow projects which have been building over the winter months.

Spring Cleaning

Imbolc is the perfect time for that cleaning that you have been putting off. Get rid of anything that is cluttering up your home, and scrub all the surfaces down thoroughly. If you can bear the drop in temperature, open all of the windows and let some refreshing clean air flow through your home. Making the cleaning part of the celebrations is one of the easiest ways to encourage the whole family to join in – just remember to donate things that can still be used to appropriate charities instead of simply throwing them away.

Light’s Return

While Yule is a celebration of the rebirth of the sun, Imbolc is when its return first truly begins to be noticeable as it grows in strength. Candles are a practical response to this, as it is frequently too impractical to celebrate with a bonfire, whether due to weather or regulations. Have your feast lit by the warm glow of candles, and prepare for the blessings to come in the year ahead.

Feasting and Food

No true celebration is really complete without a meal to go with it. At Imbolc, it is important to concentrate on foods which honour the hearth and home – breads, grains and root vegetables are all appropriate, as are dairy products. After all, this is the festival designed to celebrate the beginning of lactation in both cows and sheep.

Brigid

Brigid (also spelt Brighid, and Bridget) is one of the daughters of the Dagda, and part of the Tuatha de Dannan. She is the patron of poets, bards, healers and magicians, and is particularly connected with prophecy and divination. She is a fire goddess, and deeply tied to the light of the sun. This means that any form of ritual healing or divination by candlelight is highly appropriate as part of any Imbolc celebration.