The Wheel of the Year keeps turning. It seems that just yesterday, we celebrated Samhain….then we watched as the world celebrated everything it was thankful for. Now, we are looking toward the Winter Solstice and Yule. Our homes and altars are all decorated with greenery and pine cones. We smile to ourselves as we light the candles on our Yule log.
We bake and we add more lights and we run to the mall and we run to the grocery store and we run to party after party. We stand in line at Target and find ourselves getting more and more agitated. ”Can’t that cashier go any faster? Doesn’t she realize that I have a party I have to go to in two hours and that is not nearly enough time to get ready?” We give a slight smile to the person out on the corner collecting for charity. Do we put money in the bucket? Sometimes….but we have to keep every extra penny to buy gifts for friends and family. For the month of December, we forget to listen to the heartbeat of the earth. It may be a tiny bit more faint than normal, but the heart of the earth still beats.
Yesterday, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items. I hurriedly picked up the things I needed because, of course, I had plans for later in the afternoon and evening. I run with my cart to the cashier and I end up standing behind a little old woman who was standing there counting her pennies. I looked at the order in front of me, which included generic Ensure, a loaf of bread, cat food and bagged beans. Apparently, she didn’t have enough money and asked the cashier if she could take the Ensure off of the order. In that moment, my heart broke. I couldn’t stand the thought of this little old woman walking out of that store without everything she needed. I put my hand on her shoulder and asked her if she would mind me paying for her groceries and if we could go get a few extra things. I told her that she reminded me of my grandma and that I was missing her a lot this time of year. We went back through that store arm in arm and I could feel the earth’s heartbeat as we talked and laughed.
My grandma used to love to go barefoot….even in the winter. She told me that the reason she loved being barefoot was because she was able to feel the Great Mother’s heartbeat better. I have found that to have so many meanings as I think more about it. It was in making a part of herself more vulnerable that she was able to feel the Great Mother stronger. I had to stop yesterday and see something outside of myself….be willing to feel the heart of someone else.
I got up this morning and went to the woods….it was wet and cold. I could feel the breath of spirit on me as I led that little blue chihuahua through the morning mists deeper into a world that he and I have become so familiar with. When we cross the threshold into ‘our’ woods, we feel spirit, ancestors, animal spirits….we become lost in a time when magick danced through forests freely. We get caught in that energy and feel more at home than we do in our comfy cottage-like condo.
I get everything set out as usual….skulls, candles, and herbs. I covered myself in my cloak in front of it all and rolled onto my stomach. I put my hand on the earth and my ear to my hand. I could feel the cold of the ground permeating my hand. In the silence, I could hear the breathing of my little blue dog…but more importantly, I could hear the heartbeat of the earth. As I lay there lost in the wonder and simplicity of this magickal moment. I committed, to the Lord and Lady, not to lose the lessons I have learned about this time of year. I lay there in silent meditation….opening my heart to everything that needed to be taught to my spirit. I heard Mama Crow and Wolf to the sides of me. I watched as wolf circled and finally laid down. Mama Crow landed on the ground beside him and nestled in his tail.
I reminded by them both that this season is a time of rest before the regeneration. It is time to feed the spirit and heart. This is the time of year that the earth slows down. This is when the roots of the plants grow….when the plant produces the beginnings of the buds. This is the time of year when the internal work is done for the external explosion of spring.
I called on the power of the elements and the Lord and Lady to give me heart and spirit to listen to all things around me. This is the time when temperatures plummet and animals seek shelter. My courtyard and surrounding areas are set for any that may need comfort from the elements. You will find boxes and blankets all over in anticipation of winter visitors. There are bird feeders and areas for the squirrels to eat….places for stray cats and pooches to dine in secret. I have seen other neighbors adding to the areas.
There are people in need all around. I wish to walk in compassion this season. I wish to nurture kindness. The homeless person sitting in the cold needs warmth…..coffee, a blanket. Starbucks here has a program going where you can give money for coffee so that if anyone who can’t afford it comes in for coffee, they can get it at no charge. If you want to jump start your heart…volunteer at a soup kitchen. Most of the people that show up are no different from you. The only difference may be a missed paycheck.
It is time for us to “take off our shoes” and feel the heartbeat of the earth. My goal for this holiday season is to keep things simple, give more of myself, love with complete abandon, and let the magick happen around me.
Blessed Solstice, Blessed Yule, and Blessed Be!