Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Soon the rose will materialize, her luscious fragrance drifting in with the honeyed sun that warms the Earth. Under the crystal blue sky a symphony of perennial hues and scents will complement the rose in pure natural harmony. Now is the beginning of the best of all possible times for those of us who have the privilege of and are dedicated to tending the Goddess’ gardens.
A true gardener laments the coming of Autumn - the first song of Winter - just a little. The fading of the last mum is like the loss of a rare and beautiful love. Even though the rose and her companions will return in streams of color and joy from spring to summer, they are deeply missed at the evening of the year, through its midnight and into the dawn of the next.
When I was a child my father, the finest gardener I have ever known, told me that Heaven's seasons are the opposite of ours. When the pale gown of Winter covers the Earth the souls of all the flowers bloom above to delight the saints. My father and I did not share a faith – born as I was to the Craft – but we shared an understanding of the inestimable spiritual significance of the flower.
Close your eyes now, and your spirit will sense and smell them coming.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Goddess’ early show of tiny Iris make sweet patches of bright color on a nearly barren landscape. As Mother Hecate steps across the sunset stained Western horizon, trailing her winter gown of lacy snow behind Her, Brigit glows in the East with the sunrise. This little Iris sings at once “so-long” and “welcome.”
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Menopause, the final phase of womanhood has been mischaracterized, misdiagnosed, mistreated and misunderstood for centuries. Long held to be an inevitable feminine pathology by a misogynistic medical community, the greatest impact of the process was seen in my mother’s day to be upon the male partner of the menopausal female. After all, hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and most importantly loss of libido was, and in some ways still is, perceived to be a terrible ordeal for men living with women living with menopause.
The research that was never done before on this exclusively feminine experience has suddenly in the last decade or so begun to lurch forward with all the apparent precision and deliberation of an L.A. car chase. Women are inundated with myriad herbal preparations, questionable science and conflicting medical information. There even appears to be a Viagra for women. All of this is touted to get women painlessly and youthfully though the Change of Life, as my mother’s generation euphemistically called it.
Notwithstanding all of this, no one seems interested in knowing the nature of the change beyond its physical ramifications. What beside the loss of skin contractility, joint mobility, the gaining of weight and increased risk of breast and colon cancer should concern women as they ride the tide of menopause? Some Pagans believe that menopause is a time of deep spiritual awakening. Perhaps one of the reasons that the phenomenon of menopause has been so hideously ignored and treated as disease by men and women alike is that the spiritual aspects have never been considered a matter of public discourse.
In the Old Religion, Witchcraft, as in many other Pagan groups the phases of a woman’s life are seen to progress through Maidenhood (childhood and adolescence), Motherhood (the child bearing years) and Cronehood (the years following menopause). These phases are analogous to the waxing, full and waning moon and to the aspects of the Goddess - Maiden, Mother and Crone.
The Crone is the wise woman, the grandmother in some traditions. She is midwife, healer, and fearless in the face of death. Her profound and ever evolving wisdom gives her a grace and dignity that transcends youth and physical beauty. Her rich intuition and deep understanding of others makes her leader and follower, queen and commoner, Goddess and worshiper. She understands the paradox because she dwells close to the source and is free of infantile sexual politics and petty social concerns.
This blessed state cannot be bought, sold, taken or given away. One is not born with this beauty of mind and spirit – it must be earned. This is the product of life and experience, because you cannot be where you have never been. Finally, this is a great cause for celebration.
When a woman puts on the black and purple at the time of her Croning she is acknowledging the privilege of owning her womanhood. She holds her hands up to the Divinity of her heart and whispers a prayer of thanks for all she has been, all she is and all she will be. This is true power and a far cry from disease.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
First little Iris of the season. She is true-blue and gold. Not more then two inches tall and two inches across her flower head, this little lady will flower in the snow if need be. She is a bulb and makes a wonderful tiny boarder plant for first season show.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Come spring Fae ask softly of their dear Mother Earth,
“In the honeyed sun open your womb and give birth,
To stunning perennials and the blossoms of trees,
Beauties with sweet, velvet scent to drift on the breeze.”
The flower featured is the Spring Crocus. It is the Fall Crocus that has saffron on its stamen. Of course you would have to fill Yankee Stadium to get enough of that spice to flavor your rice. But hey, the Goddess is judicious in all things.
Friday, March 2, 2012
I have walked with Hecate for twenty year, since my Croning at age 40. She is the Queen of the Witches, Goddess of the Dark Side of the Moon, Midwife at our temporal beginning and the Guide through the Veil at the end of our life. She holds the torch at our crossroads so that we may choose our path. Can She be dark, of course. Will Her Witches follow Her into the dark when the highest of magic is to be practiced, of course. The dark is just the dark, what the practitioner brings into the dark defines the properties of the magic practiced there. Dark is as necessary to light as left is to right, as sunset is to dawn and as color is to white. There is nothing in the dark but our conscience and our shadow.
The Flight of the Crone
In the cool, still, velvety night,
By the dark of the moon in silver starlight,
The Crone raises Her cloak and takes to flight.
High above the slumbering, shadowy ground,
She sores through the trees without a sound,
For company a raven and a three-headed hound.
In a voice deep as darkness She begins to sing,
Ancient words of power with solemnity ring,
I am the Goddess; I am Magic on the Wing.
© The Herban Goddess, 2005