Firstly, I want to thank everyone who has posted on my blog in recent weeks and months. I've been away, and I've probably been away for too long, but it feels good to be back. My time away has taught me many things, things about myself, my spirituality, it's practical expression (walking the walk as well as talking the talk) the physical world around me and those I share this experience with. It's been an invaluable time. A dark time, yes indeed, but without darkness we will never know light, and all things have their germination in darkness, before reaching toward the light.
I posted a 'thank you' yesterday on my last posting so I won't rehearse that here, other than to say my thanks are genuine, your support has been incredible, and I've both felt that support and grown as a result of it. It's carried me, and for that I am more than grateful.
My father is making very slow, but very steady progress. Tomorrow I take him to the Bristol Royal Infirmary for a check-up, the results of which, I hope, will see him discharged from Bristol in order for his care to be provided more locally, that would be a blessing for him, and for us. My mother has also been poorly in recent weeks, and that's been a great concern to me, but she appears to be slowly recovering. What a time it's been!
My work has also been changing around me, causing me to have to travel further and wider and to have to take on duties and roles that were hitherto not my remit, or indeed the reason for taking up my present post. I am first and foremost a manager of people, this is where my skills and abilities lie, yet I am being taken away from this, so I face challenges on many fronts. I have a feeling many of these will be met head on this year, in some way, shape or form.
It is no coincidence that I mark my return to the blogosphere today. At this time I usually feel the Imbolc Quickening and this is something that I have been aware of for some days now. An inner stirring, a hunger for divine connection, a yearning for spirit, an inner exuberance, a need to run and celebrate - and all this because the dance is beginning again. In many ways Imbolc is my favourite time of the year, a time full of such promise, everything is opening up before me once again, and it is my will that can begin to shape my own destiny. I am both excited and also in awe. I have such a sense of things changing - I don't think things are going to be same at all at the close of this year. In here somewhere, and I don't pretend to fully understand it yet, is something about my own ability, as a magickal being, to create my own reality - to open those doors, to make those things happen, according to my will. This is something I am going to learn this year, how I am not sure, but I feel it.
I feel that I have faced something of my own mortality in recent months, and to my surprise, this scared me. My foundation didn't feel as sturdy or as strong as I thought it was - there was doubt, untested belief. How can ones mortality be tested, without tasting death itself? I guess seeing ones own father stare death squarely in the face is pretty much as close to it as one can get, travelling that same journey with him, albeit by a different route. I have a greater sense of the reality of life, death and rebirth. Suddenly I am aware of walking this earth before and also of the reason that I walk this world now. My connection to everything feels greater, especially the earth itself. I do feel, more than ever, like spirit within a body, a life within a tent, seeking, growing, learning and yearning and becoming something new, something greater, to be born anew at sometime, in some place, until I have achieved whatever it is I am supposed to achieve and I ascend to higher realms. Suddenly pagan dogma means less to me and my own spiritual experimentation more. I may not always have a theory to hang something on, I may not always be able to explain it, what I feel or say may come in for criticism from my learned pagan friends, but what the hell? All I can attest is the truth of my own experience. Whilst I want everything I believe to have a sound foundation, I won't be quite so harsh on my own experience any longer, nor will I take the sometimes harsh criticism of others quite so much to heart.
It's weird, I feel as though I am seeing things with older eyes, yet I don't feel old! I feel wiser, yet not particularly wise. I most certainly feel stronger and my Inner Critic has been silenced somewhat! I often fall into the trap of 'oughts' 'shoulds' 'coulds' 'musts' and all the other imperatives, those that have been self imposed, and those that are imposed by others, however well intentioned, but I now embrace a greater freedom. It may not be as easy for me to have my morning meditations, my reading time may be more limited for a while, but hey, I can meditate when and where I can, and I can read when and where I can - I feel a travelling altar coming on! It's time for a more flexible structure to my spiritual life, and life in general, and I will whatever form this takes in the on-coming months. I've spent too many years beating myself up, it's time to forgive and love myself a little more - and actually see and embrace what is truly important for me, today.
It's corny, as it's a phrase that has become so hackneyed in recent years, but I have seen what 'living in the now' or 'embracing the moment' is really all about - I've tasted and ingested the reality of this truth, and its power. It's quite incredible. Truly entering the moment, separate from cause, apart from effect, just truly being - there is power, there is wonder, there is reality in this moment. It's somewhere I want to be more often.
So, the magick of Imbolc stirs. This time of germination, it feels like something of a pre-beginning, only that makes little sense, I guess! My intentions were set around Samhain and now they have been well and truly watered and fertilised. Now is the time of Nurture. That's something else I love about Imbolc, it's a caring, nurturing time. The frosts are not fully over yet, shoots, if they are evident at all, are very young and tender, and they require protecting and guess what? . . . it's okay! One doesn't have to be big and brave all the bloody time!
And I think that's the key for me at the moment, more than anything else, more than getting it right (which has driven me for too long) I simply want to make it REAL.
It feels good, being back!