I wash my pads in Lakes and Rivers, offering my Blood for the Healing of my Kin.
“Tend the fire and Tend the Well,
Let’s weave a story for others to tell,
The Earth is birthing, gather in,
Spring is coming again.”
~Song by Monarda
As the Sun hangs out in Aquarius, long away from its’ home in Leo, we have passed the Leo Full Moon and we approach the New Moon in Aquarius.
This is the time of Imbolc. Brigid’s Day, St. Brigid’s Day, Candlemass.
Imbolc is the Gaelic HoyDay marking the beginning of Spring, honoring the goddess Brigid. This HolyDay was Christianized to honor St Brigid, adopting elements of goddess Brigid, grounding her into human form.
This day marks the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Some Pagans celebrate this day on the actual halfway day, others honor it on February 1 or 2. Many choose to celebrate this day on the Dark Moon closest to February 2. This year, the New Moon in Aquarius takes place on February 11, 1:06pm CST. I will have my own ritual on that day, as I do on all New Moons, and my family will celebrate Imbolc when it happens. I have noticed that when I honor the time of these HolyDays for several weeks, rituals and ceremonies arise with ease. The memory of these rites are in our blood, our bodies remember. With practice and awareness, we see how our bodies mark these days without us having to do anything.
The other astrology of this moment in time is unique. It is not specific to Brigid, but it offers opportunities to work with the energy in how we mark this time. Saturn has just squared Venus, which brings us the invitation to clear out what does not bring us joy.
The days before the New Moon are the days to make space. I used to set intentions at the New Moon, now I make room to see what arises from the Darkness. Venus conjuncts Jupiter on the day of the New Moon. This energy is about abundance of what brings us joy and pleasure. If we have created space, we have room to be filled with this sweet blessing.
My New Moon Ritual is to give myself a V-Steam. At bedtime, I put a large (3 gallon) pot of water on the stove. When it boils, I throw in whatever herbs call to me in those moments, and let them steep for 10 minutes. I like to use fresh herbs during the growing season. I take the pot off, put on my V-Steam skirt and go outside. I find a tree that’s calling to me, place my pot at my feet, remove the cover and step over the steam. This week it will be below zero outside, but I know my body will want this ritual. The ritual involves me moving my body and asking it questions, letting answers arise. For several minutes I do this, and then when it’s time, I move away, usually rolling onto the ground and touching myself, so juicy and wet now. My wetness is Sacred, too. These are the most dynamic orgasms I have, laying on the Earth, hanging out with the Trees and Sky, empowered by my connection with my inner Wisdom and my Fire.
What comes up in your body when you witness me speaking these words?
What do you feel and where?
The Rune for this time of year, Algiz, is about Protection and "Embodying Power". "The Nature Allies in this Stave present strength in spaces indigenous to us, and by knowing the home space so well it gives us the ability to ally so deeply with it that we disappear in it, or shapeshift into it." Runic Book of Days, S Kelley Harrell.
This is the time of tending the Hearth and the Well. We get to know and honor the spaces indigenous to us and the Spirits of House and Home who support our lives and livelihoods, who bring us warmth and water. This is also the time for checking in on our neighbors. In the old days, going door to door, to see who needs tending, who has enough food to last the winter. And, it’s the time for divination about the weather for the year ahead (think about the Groundhog’s Day weather forecasting, only the ancient one is more complex).
The relationship between this time and the Purification of Mary is poignant. 40 days after the birth of a son, Jewish mothers would have a time of Purification when they were not allowed to enter the Temple. I do not understand the Spiritual reasons for this time, but when I learned about it, it touched me deeply. I know that in some cultures, the babe is kept away from non-family for 40 days. In this Ritual time of Purification for the mother, I also see the presence of Cleansing the Hearth and the Well, a ritual Purification before springtime.
My favorite winter tea- White Pine and Crab Apple
The Hearth is the holder of Fire. Without Hearth, Fire would burn Wild. Without Hearth humans would not be able to live in the North. In the Ancient times, humans would feed their Hearth Spirits (among other House Spirits). Literally, with food. With Blood. With Song. With Presence (before the ages of TV, watching a Fire fed us deeply). All Spirits need nourishment.
For those without a physical Hearth, remember that there are many House Spirits. All resources, including fossil fuels come from the Earth and all energy comes from the Sun.
How can you connect with and tend the Fire source that supports you through the winter, and cooks your food in the summer?
As I write this, I am exploring tending my Hearth, the inner Placenta connecting me with the Sun and Sky. I am doing this by being present with Fire in my Body, learning how it all works. By using consent (the walls of the Hearth) with myself and others. By noticing where my Fire wants to lead me, how it wants to be channeled. I am also cleaning out the ash. So much ash from years and lifetimes of harm.
We tend our Hearth in the Springtime to prepare for the time of growth, Summer. If our Hearth is tended, we will be open to more expansion, joy, pleasure and exploration in the growing season.
Hearth is what holds our Spirit, our inner Fire.
What do you have in place (boundaries) to support your inner Spirit and it’s expression?
Where in your body do you experience your Hearth, your Fire?
What does it feel like when your Fire is flaring?
What does it feel like when the Hearth or Fire need tending?
And what tending does it need?
The Well is the source of Water. Water is Life. In Ancient Gaelic lands, the Wells were natural Springs, places of wonder and magick, the Water bubbling up from the ground. In other places in the world, Wells would be dug. Either way, Wells must be maintained. Spring is the time to clean out the Wells, clearing debris so that the water can be accessed. It’s the time for cleaning, in general, Spring Cleaning.
I live in a place where we have artesian wells. People fill their jugs and sometimes loose caps that float down toward the Lake. Cleaning up trash on Earth Day is another way that we tend the Earth this time of year.
How can you connect with and tend the Water Source that nourishes you?
Our inner Well is our Womb Space. I believe that all genders have Womb Spaces, the energetic Placenta connecting our bodies to Mother Earth.
Where in your body do you experience intuitive knowing?
Where in your body do you experience wisdom?
Where in your body do you feel deep, deep Life?
What does it feel like when your Well needs tending?
I spent a couple years learning how to Tend my Well. Getting to know, understand and engage my inner Wisdom. I did this by learning to discern the sensation of fear and how it blocked my ability to access my Wisdom. I experienced a crash course in getting to know my Intuition around physical safety. I found that my intuitive knowing always kept me safe.
I invite you to take time to let this integrate. Care for your body. The more space you can offer your body to integrate, the deeper the wisdom and magick will go. This is an opportunity for practice. For more guidance on ritual and embodiment practices for HolyDays, please reach out to Monarda.
If you appreciated this post, please leave a comment, send a message of encouragement, offer a monetary or other gift, offer to support with tasks, offer a healing session, seek out an apprenticeship, share this post, ask for a 1-1 healing session, ancestral connection session or oracle reading. There are so many ways to honor my time, wisdom and experience!
Monarda is a qweer femme, of Gaelic, Polish, German, Norse, and English Lineage, living near Lake Superior, WI, occupied Land of the Anishinaabe people. Monarda has been studying culture and oppression for 25 years, working with herbs for medicine for 13 years, and practicing embodied trauma recovery for 4 years. Their work centers Justice, Ancestral Healing, and Liberating the Body as the anchors for healing and Collective Liberation. Monarda’s unique skills include creating delicious medicines to support trauma recovery, creating rituals for embodiment, relationship recovery, ally work and advocacy for people experiencing CPTSD and/or disability, understanding and working with Spiritual Technologies (ritual, ceremony, initiation, etc) and living with the Spiritual and Physical cycles of the Life.
They offer donation-based services, including mind-body-spirit herbal consultations, ancestral healing consultations, individualized support with creating rituals for healing and living the Spiritual cycles, supporting people in leadership with the building practices around consent and accountability, supporting individuals or couples in relationship healing, supporting trauma survivors in creating crisis and post-crisis plans, emotional crisis support, doulaing for birth, death, illness, parenting, support for people/couples wanting to use kink for trauma/relationship recovery.