This past week a friend asked me about a meme I re-posted on Facebook. The image included was a lovely painting of an earthly maiden wakening beneath the surface of the ground. The words proclaimed there were only a few days left until Imbolc—a Celtic celebration of the very first stirrings of springtime. My friend wanted to know more.
I gave her a short-versioned response. She was able to Google for more and found varied and plentiful information. What the Wheel of the Year (a sort of calendar for earth-loving folk) gives to me are sweet reminders of what I love about each part of the year.
Imbolc, at the beginning of February, marks the halfway point between winter and spring. In places with distinct seasons, this is the time we start shifting toward full-on growth—the first bulbs start to emerge, mammal bodies prepare for imminent birthing, and robins reappear.
My own imagination runs wild. I love the idea of there being so much unseen activity just beyond our reach. Seeds and bulbs beneath the soil snake to the surface, an adventurous nuzzle upward to test the air temperatures. Sap inside trees begins to return to the tips of branches, fueling flower and leaf buds. It’s easy for me to imagine fairies and earth maidens nurturing this life behind the scenes that we humings normally see. Just envisioning such changes makes me smile with anticipation.
In my physically real world, my gardening room starts bustling with plans for the coming year outdoors. I print my seed-starter sheets so that I can track germination and potting on dates. I gather other supplies, ready my seed trays and soil, and separate my seed packets in order of planting times. These activities serve to direct my excitement and energize me while helping to slowly move me away from the arting I’ve been doing during the late fall and winter.
One of my favorite things about celebrating by the Wheel is sharing the art that inspires me (like in the meme mentioned above). I also love how my own art reflects whatever part of year we are experiencing. I recently laughed after figuring out clues in a few pieces just completed. It’s fun to find the awakening reflected in my creations.
One piece nudged me for a month or so. I started working on a couple of its elements, then was able to carve out the time to put it all together and finish up. Turns out, in reflection, that the timing was perfect. My Bear Medicine Gourd was completed just as real bears are coming to the end of their hibernation period for the year.
Next came two goddess gournaments—Flora and Fauna. The first had her face appear a few weeks ago, then she whispered a need to me for flowers and leaves in her curled hair. Once she was completed, her sister demanded to follow. Fauna has seven animals peaking out from her much straighter hair, as if from nestled burrows. These sisters hinted at the emerging soon to follow outdoors.
When creating each of these pieces I was simply following an inner voice. I don’t pretend to know where this whisper comes from, I can only say that it is strongest and loudest when I actively listen. It often takes me onto different pathways and directions than I expect when I start working on a piece. Only in retrospect did I realize that these three pieces lined up perfectly with the shifting of the Wheel.
I am nearly always humored and enlivened when I find such alignment—and it happens all the time. In fact, at this point in my lifing I should expect the free-flow aligning since I so closely follow natural cycles, the weather, and energy flow. Still, I can’t help but enjoy the clicking into place of these puzzled pieces of surprise.
Though we recently enjoyed a few days in the mid- to upper fifties, I skipped doing even a few outdoor chores of preparation because I know my indoor arting hours are becoming more limited as the Wheel continues to turn. I’ll soon have my seedlings to contend with and more outdoor chores will become insistent. I have soil to turn, more rabbit and cat proof fences to erect, and I need to prep some of my beds for different crops than they previously held. Then there are those three pesky stumps in my reclaimed garden section that need to come out continuing to tap their little roots at me.
I am so grateful to be able to blend my time between the tangible arting of indoors with a more physical art of gardening. I continue to convert our garden from the plain expanse of lawn to a sculptured pathway that wanders by vignettes of interest. The best compliment my dear friend Henry paid me last year was that my garden was definitely looking Blythe (in other words, it was certainly reflecting my personality). That was high praise indeed. Here’s to each of us creating sacred space that shows who we are and what we love.
What are your favorite times of the year? Are there ways that you reflect the season changes in your personality? Are there particular activities that you repeat year after year? Does your garden reflect your tastes and that of those you love? Do you replicate the things you see elsewhere that speak to you? What can you do to more fully share who you are through your gardening?
Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online at Humings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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