Gwydion Pendderwen, Spring Strathspey
I was walking through a snowy Cambridge afternoon yesterday and suddenly, came upon a bank of gentle snowdrops, their white brows drooping in pale phantasmal bloom. My heart surged with the giddy joy of a maiden’s first sight of her bridegroom at the wedding feast. It has been a very long, harsh, grim winter; there have been days of meeting and storytelling and singing, and nights of gathering together to share mirth and cheer. But there have also been long days and nights when going outdoors felt too forbidding due to the weather, and the fact that the snow and ice made the streets all but impassable.
I attended a lovely Ostara rite yesterday. This time of honoring the Spring Equinox, a moment when Darkness and Light dance shoulder to shoulder, is always such a blessing. Even if I am unable in a given year (as was the case this time) to celebrate on the actual date of the Equinox, I am still able to tap into the energy of the moment. There is always a re-kindling of hope at this season of the year, and often, a spark of beauty comes unbidden.
We had a beautiful green altarcloth with a floral pattern, and under it, a shimmering gold fabric to represent this time of the waxing Sun’s beginning. A vase of daffodils offered remembrance for Kore’s return from her exultant reign in the Underworld as Persephone, Queen of the Dead. We shared words in honor of Her Consort, Hades, the Wealthy One, from Whose hidden realm all earthly treasure and abundance ultimately issues forth. (Think of compost in the new Spring garden.) And there was a statue of Hermes, Guide of the Dead, Herald of Mystery, energy of a newly rampant and throbbing Phallos, quickening with the reawakening pulse of Lifeforce returning. My friend called Him forth, evoking a newly flowering meadow with its odor of lavender and wildflowers, and the musk of the deep woods and the clean dark reek of dill. His wisdom, compassion, and artfulness, the Holy Mystery of Hermes, guide She who was Sovereign of the Dead back to the realm of the living, to be welcomed into the arms of Her grieving Mother, Demeter, Queen of Earth’s Foison. The Mother’s grey veils of grief are changed overnight into green glimmering bowers of joy, as the Spring flowers burst forth seemingly faster than eye can see. Here in New England, the pageant is often dramatic, and even challenging for those with the drowsy sleep of winter still clinging to beeswinged eyelids.
We sang together of the Snake Woman shedding her skin, the Blossom Boy opening wide, the dance of the sacred Elements of Life and the turning of the Wheel; we laid a garland of consecrated flowers at the foot of the May Tree in token of our hopes for the season of returning light and warmth. We poured a libation of mead and gave thanks for surviving another Winter.
For the Balance of the Wheel goes round and round. So Be It.