Merry Meet and Welcome!

Merry Meet and Welcome!

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You are encouraged to take what you can from what we share here. If you want to know more, do not look to the contributors of this blog to teach anything beyond what we post. Seek out what feels right for you, trust the Spirit to guide you and have faith in our heavenly parents who are the givers of all pure knowledge.

March 10, 2012

The Triquetra of the Year

One day this winter, I took a walk after it had snowed in my area. It wsa nearing evening so the light was low, the snow was sparkling and all was quiet. As I was walking, I sensed the sacred but for some reason felt that it was not the presence of God I was sensing but the presence of Mother. That confused me, initially. Typically, when I think of Mother, I think of verdant abundance, spring time, harvest and summer--not the cold, austere, harsh days of winter.

That caused me to pause. If I imagine Mother as a Maiden in Spring and Mother in Summer, than of course Winter, with the snow all around me, meant that I was surrounded by the twilight years of wisdom. Mother was there, in her Crone aspect, teaching me and reminding me that each woman needs a period of her life to slow down from the exuberence of youth, the toil and passion of motherhood, and find peace in stillness--that we are not alone when "change and decay in all around I see" (Abide with Me! Hymn # 166).

This line of thought introduced to me a new way to look at the Wheel of the Year. I love celebrating the changes in season through observing the patterns of the sun, as well of the moon. In observing the sun (a symbol of the masculine god), we celebrate the solstices and equinoxes and seasonal festivals. In observing the moon, we see the waxing and waning of the moon. Yet this new way, of dividing the seasons into correspondences with The Triple Goddess, lends a way to find the Goddess in the seasons.

TriquetraCommonly, the celtic knot symbol of the Triquetra is seen as a symbol for God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. The symbol has become a symbol of masculine leadership though before that time, it was a symbol of the the Triple Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Crone. Being on my blended path of equally worshipping my Father and Mother God, I am happy to accept the symbol as both.

Seeing the seasons in terms of being ruled by one aspect of the Goddess, the triquetra becomes a symbol for this feminine correspondence to the wheel of the year. I recognize that this model only has three seasons which I too find fitting to the way that autumn and winter work together. In my own experience and observation, motherhood is distinct its its seasons. Young mother is very different that more mature mother, yet not quite crone. Perhaps that stage deserves its own phase, but that is a another post for a different day.

Now, the wheel is turning and we are approaching Spring. I see signs of the Maiden Goddess around me with birds singing, trees blossoming, and flowers blooming. The quiet, stillness of the year is ending and we are heading into a stage of youthful exuberance and starting over. I love this new way of seeing the year and I hope you will like it too.

Blessing the Quarter Days

Quarter days are the mid-point Sabbats between the seasonal festivals in the Wheel of the Year. Quarter days also correspond to the spokes of the wheel that fall on the solstices and equinoxes which mark the progression of the sun throughout the year. In truth, quarter days are my favorite Sabbats to celebrate because they are very tied to a physical event: the longest/shortest days of the year and the days when night and day are close to equal in length. I love the symbolism of these events and I love celebrating them.

Winter Solstice
In December, my family and I had a wonderful Solstice celebration. Unfortunately, not only did we not get pictures, but I also didn't blog about here it! So better late than never, let me tell you about our Solstice observance.

This year we separated all of our Christmas decorations into two categories: decorations that celebrate characteristics of winter (the snow men, evergreen trees, reindeer, etc.) and those that celebrate the birth of Christ. None of the Christ decorations were put out before the Solstice in order to fully respect the history of Yule, as a once pagan then turned Christian holiday.

Our Solstice celebration consisted of turning of the lights in the house off at sun-down, lighting a fire in the fireplace and then lighting candles throughout the house. We gathered together in the living room, snuggled up and discussed what the Solstice meant. We talked about how in many places where it was winter, that people were cold and didn't have enough food. Many people throughout the world feeling sad and discouraged all year but it can be particularly difficult when its the coldest, darkest time of the year. We talked about how at Christmas time, many people think of others who have less than they do and want to help in whatever ways they can. We talked about charitable giving and how we participated in our community and in global aid.

After the lesson, we did a little ritual where we wrote on strips of paper our prayer for ourselves and for the world. My children's wishes were profound in their sensitivity and wisdom. For our family, they prayed for more sustainability in our living arrangements and more time together as a family outside being producers rather than consumers. For the world, they prayed that all the living things on earth would feel safe and have their needs met. We then put our prayers in the fire and asked that the light from the flame would carry our prayers to the places where they were needed.

After reflecting on our observance, I realized that the theme we had touched on was wishing and welcoming light into the world at the winter solstice.

Spring Equinox
When thinking about how to prepare for our upcoming equinox celebration, I thought back on our Solstice observance. If we were wising light to the world then, what would we be wishing into the world now at the start of Spring? The answer I came up with was beauty.

Our plan for the Equinox (this monday/tuesday) instead of burning our wishes in the fire, to plant our wishes into the ground. My son is very excited to sow wildflowers in our garden. At Bountiful Gardens, we found both a butterfly and a hummingbird mix. Since spring is a time of renewed beauty and life (and because life is beauitful), it just seems fitting to wish for an increase of beauty in the world around us. Not superficial or artifical, but that which is lasting and connects people together, that relieves suffering and invites simplicity.

Since a pattern has been established, I thought ahead of what we might wish to manifest at the coming quarter days later in the year. It naturally follows that the Summer Solstice would be a time to manifest abundance to the world (and the equitable distribution of that abundance!) and the Autumnal Equinox as a time to manifest preparedness to the world.

Summer Solstice
Likely our Summer Solstice observance this year will be to celebrate the abundance of our vegetable and flower garden. What we are sowing now at the spring equinox, we hope will yield something to celebrate then. We will then follow the pattern of the previous quarter days and wish blessings of abundance to not only our family but to all the families of the world and discuss how we can be involved in making that happen.

Autumnal Equinox
The autumn equinox is traditionally a time to begin to prepare for winter and for this reason, I would like to focus our equinox observance on the necessity and importance of being prepared and wishing that the collective wisdom of the world will shift to preparation and shift away from short-term self gratification, consumerism and greed that takes from the poor and the needy and is used instead to increase profits and luxury for the wealthy.

These are our plans for this year and I wonder what the next year will bring, and how these themes will develop. It is very nice to have plans ahead of time! So very often, I'm pulling things together at the last minute.