Imbolc

The long dark has passed
Light grows stronger
But the land is still held
In the cold grip of Winter.

On the last day of January a bitter-cold wind was blowing and the water had frozen hard, embedding Rosmerta’s Cup in ice. My asking and giving of blessings was done by touching the cup and the ice rather than raising the cup and pouring water in my usual practice. On the altar for Rhiannon the horse still wears the grey shroud I put upon her at Samhain. Each day I go to her and tell her that even though she may be far away, riding in Annwn, yet she remains near to us in our hearts and in those special places we set aside for her.

At Imbolc it has long been my practice to acknowledge Brighid with this verse of many years usage:

For Brighid and the silver streams
Running deep in the Earth
For the kindled fire
And the sacred well
And the hope she guards through the dearth

Find her in the snow-filled dell
Where the old dry leaves lie still,
Look for her in the empty woods
Where the early shoots are bidden
But slowly as the fire grows
For her treasures are yet hidden.

This year I resolved to begin the process of putting Mererid’s well back together while chanting the verses for Brighid as soon after Imbolc as conditions allowed. The pump and the solar panel were removed before the Solstice, both because the sunlight was too weak to power them and to avoid ice damage to the pump. I also removed one of the two water barrel tiers for re-waterproofing, leaving only he smaller one to hold Rosmerta’s Cup which is in Mererid’s keeping. This is now waterproofed and ready to be put back.

Following the lighting of the Imbolc Candle and the Hearth Blessing, I had intended to go out the following morning to see if the water was unfrozen enough to consider re-assembling the two tiers of the water feature and to fill both with fresh water, with the pump and solar panel to follow at the Spring Equinox. The next day was clear and bright but very cold and the water was probably frozen, but I was unable to go out to check as I awoke with a heavy dose of flu and could hardly get out of bed.

So my daily devotions for the last few days have been at my small altar in the house rather than the larger one in the garden, and I have had to postpone the re-assembly of the water feature until I feel well enough. But it will be done soon.

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