Imbolc

Brighid's Flower

Imbolc is a time of new beginnings. For us Celts the new year begins at Samhain … and at Imbolc. Both. And/and not either/or. It rather like Schrödinger’s Cat, being alive and dead at the same time, or like light being both waves and particles.

The Celtic tradition can seem as confusing as the sound of one hand clapping … and for the same reasons. We work very happily in duality, as and/and.

The story-lore, the grammarye, tells us that at Samhain the crone, Ceridwen, opens her eyes and takes hold of her transmuting power. She becomes the guardian of the well of kenning, of nouse, and holds the cup for us to drink from over the season of Midwinter.

Then comes the snowdrops, the flowers of the spring, pushing their heads up through the frozen soil, holding the White Cup of Fostering upside-down so that all its goodness pours down onto, into, the soil, making it rich for the coming spring.

This is the way of it in the northlands, where the snowdrop flourishes along with the flourishing snow. This story is of the northlands. In the south, the Lady of Spring shows us things differently but always she comes forth with the life-energy of fostering at this time.

Imbolc fostering comes through the sheep’s’ milk for us here in the north. As the new lambs birth so the white milk comes, the new goodness.

Crafting Relationship

In my previous post I explored the necessity for equality in relationship. This doesn’t mean treating folk as identical. It’s actually (as Sparrowhawk pointed out – my thanks for that) a very passive state. Recognising equality, that we share humanity and the same basic rights to respect and dignity, doesn’t call for much active engagement.

True relationship is not passive, it is an active engagement. We shape it in word and action, define it through the ways in which we give it expression. It’s very easy to go into relationship carrying all our habits of thought and behaviour, all our assumptions. In previous essays I’ve explored some of the more dysfunctional things we might unwittingly bear with us.

Every relationship is different, so there can be no one right way of doing it. But that’s perhaps the first point to make – the importance of allowing each unique connection to find its own way, rather than trying to shoe-horn it into a predetermined shape.

To my mind, what defines relationship, is what we share. I’ve had connections wholly defined by the sharing of music, or druid ritual – folks I seldom saw in any other context. We have people we share work with, or share living space. I am not convinced that the sharing of blood makes relationship  because that doesn’t call for any active kind of doing. Relationship is more than an accident of birth. We can choose to craft relationship with blood family, or not, but we certainly shouldn’t assume it exists just because we share some genetic material.

The more we invest in the act of sharing, the more scope there is for deep and involved relationship. If we just skim along the surface, happening to share the same living space, the same office, or go to the same leisure club, than that’s a degree of acquaintance, but not much of a relationship. The more we do, the more we give of ourselves, the more relationship we are likely to find. That giving should be born of love, underpinned by care and respect. If we are seeking relationship just for the joy of being with a person, then we have a good foundation. As I’ve said before, if we’re looking for power, control, influence or an ego boost, it’s not relationship, it’s using.

To be able to offer care, love and respect in ways that are meaningful, we have to listen. Really it’s as simple as that, listen, pay attention, actually hear. Don’t impose assumptions about what the other will like, want, or need, just listen, find out. Part of the joy of relationship is in finding out who the other is, and in doing that, learning more about ourselves. If we go in swaddled in assumptions, we don’t get the chance to do that, and we miss out on all the best things that relationship, in all its many shapes, can offer.

Guest Blogger Jaime Samms

Today we have a guest blog from Jaime Samms about an inspirational project she’s been involved in. While we don’t normally carry much book promo material here, this one is special. It’s about raising awareness of cancer, and also about the power of community.

Over to Jaime…

January 25 marked the release of a very special anthology, one I’m proud to have been a part of. It’s called Wishing on a Blue Star, and it is a tribute to fellow author and good friend, Patric Michael. His recent battle with cancer brought to many people’s attention thefragile nature of human existence and of our on-line connections.

It also proved the incredible strength of the human spirit and the ability for tenuous connection to become a thing of power and light.

Now, I’m not sure he would agree with me on this, but I am firm believer in the power of positive thinking. He would say it is such a shame it takes something like a life-threatening illness to bring about positive change, and he may be right.

But darkness and light exist in the universe and how do you tell one from the other without the contrast? Can we even have one without the other?

So when a group of us banded together to share our experiences and open our hearts to how Patric has touched our lives, I find no great surprise in the fact that his life was touched as well.

Because he is strong, because he has been wrapped in love and support by his family and friends, because he wanted it badly enough, Patric’s battle is won for the time being. Remission has granted us his presence for a while longer, so rather than the memorial this book was meant to be, it has turned into a celebration of life and of a man who has brought a lot of joy, love and encouragement to a lot of people through his words, something he values most highly. Please enjoy this collection of stories, poems, thoughts and Patric’s own blog posts, free for the asking, at Dreamspinner press. (The print version is seven dollars)

From our hearts, to anyone and everyone who reads it. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=50&products_id=2157

A Special Project by Dreamspinner Press & ManLoveRomance Press.

Edited by Kris Jacen.

How much impact can someone have on your life if you’ve never met them face to face? In this electronic age of E-mails, electronic publishing, and social networks, quite a lot. Through his emails, stories and blog, author Patric Michael has touched numerous hearts, minds and lives from the start of his career and further as he now takes us along on his journey to battle cancer. Along the way, Patric shows us a side of life that not many truly see– how we are all a part of something larger than just ourselves, and how we are each touched by others for the betterment of all.

Now, those that have been touched by Patric and his words have joined together to give something back, to him and to us all through something he values highly – words. In this compilation, gay short stories, poems, and anecdotes combined with excerpts from Patric’s blog and a few entertaining, educational group posts reveal, and celebrate, the man who has touched so many hearts and minds.

This collection, sometimes erotic, sometimes irreverent, and always poignant, is a gift from all our hearts to celebrate Patric and give strength (and a little levity) to others. The price reflects this; no one is receiving royalties or payment from the sales. Use it to celebrate life, celebrate words, and possibly inspire someone who needs it.

GWM – Flower Day

I did it! I got the dahlia tubers into pots today so they should come up early and flower all summer long. I’ve got 3 Bishop of Llandaff and 8 assorted cactus. I have to have Bishop of Lllandaff, living where I do, in the birthplace of the first Bishop of Llandaff, our Merlin-figure, Dyfrig of Madley. He’s the hero of the novel I’m writing at the moment. and I just love the cactus dahlias, so wild and exotic.

I was lucky in that I have the old soil from the potato bags. Seeds don’t need much nutrient as they have all they need within them, tubers do it in spades :-). The dahlia tubers are still half in hibernation and need to come out gently. I put some damp earth in the bottom of the pots then some dry earth from the potato bags which I used to fill in and cover them. then I popped a plastic bag over the top of each pot and stood them in trays in the scullery which is cold but doesn’t freeze. That way the tubers can wake up slowly, gently feel their way back into flowering life. I won’t need to water for a wee while but I’ll check them every day.

The old potato soil was given a dose of Prep 500 over the past 3 days so the tubers have that to help them as well.

Tomorrow and Saturday are leaf days so I’m going to sow cabbage and lettuce. Sunday and Monday are fruit so I’ll be sowing my first tomatoes of the year … watch this space 🙂

Elen Sentier

behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …

 

Wye’s Women Elen’s Books Rainbow Warriors

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