Of Faith, Kindness and Beauty

Sunday 23/2/2020, New Moon

Another one inspired by being out doors! Seriously, being out in the world is the best way to connect with it and give you something to write about. When you’re someone whose as much as a book-thinker and over-thinker as I am, I’m now all for accepting the experience of things….. I believe that’s what’s called…. adventure! This originally took place on Tuesday 18th February 2020.

Inspired by this morning’s conversation with Devi about getting out of the house, I decided to go for a walk about town and the Arboretum.  Well, as far as I can physically go, I did take regular breaks as I’m still recovering from my hernia operation.

As soon as I got off the bus, I was approached by two Christians from the church up the road. Two friendly lads called George and Miles. They asked if I had anything they could pray for.  My response: “There’s nothing to pray for directly for me, but if you could pray for people to think rightly about climate change, that would be awesome“.  They seemed very pleased with that and invited me for tea at the church whenever I liked. I didn’t see the point in telling them I wasn’t Christian, I figured that if prayer could help inspire people in doing what they could with the crisis, then I might as well steer the Church-goers in that direction.

After a nice sojourn around the Arboretum, I found beauty in the young birch, and was impressed it was still standing after the storms, an older tree wasn’t so lucky and another young tree is now growing diagonally, almost horizontally. Young birch was very pleased for company and its spirit told me of the winds.

Young Birch speaking of the wind and the full moon.

The sign regarding kindness is from the cafe Fox Talbot’s, here in Nottingham. The cafe is a place that is both welcoming and has a relaxed and kind atmosphere, especially when I went to close the door (twice) and ended up opening it for two older ladies as they came in.  The timing was impeccable.

On the exterior of Fox Talbot’s

Sometimes, all you need is fresh air, beauty in the world and spreading kindness.

I’ll be aiming to publish my blogs on the New Moon now, as it feels right to do so.

Next New Moon: Tues 24th March.

Of Frost and Snowdrop

Sunday 9th February, Full Moon ♌

I will confess that I was struggling to think of a subject to write about. As usual, nature provided the answer!

Frosty sunshine in the back garden
Frosty sunshine in the back garden

As I looked out of the kitchen window to see frost upon the ground and the sun ascend the sky, I was happy. The cycles of nature and our seasons here in the UK are temperamental at best; we’ve had a warm winter so far here in the Midlands and very few frosty days. Every time I see the Christmas cards come out for December, I see the images of snow and ice and think: Was it ever like that, or is it what we expect? Winter here doesn’t normally bite until January/February. I recall having to stay at my previous boss’ house around this time in 2018, the snow was bad enough to cancel the buses from Derby back to Nottingham. I remember that because we don’t often get snow.

And so far, we’ve had a few frosts, but nothing permanent. I made my annual FB comment for Imbolc, using the snowdrops as a metaphor for seeing light in the dark, as well as heralding the ending of Winter, and just a way of getting people to appreciate the world around them. I also commented about how they had awoken early by at least a fortnight.

And there in lies the trap of expectation.

In modern Paganism and in Druidry, we have the festival of Imbolc on the First of February, as this is how it was worked out in accordance to our Gregorian Calendar for when La Fheile Bride (The Festival of Brighid) took place in Ireland. Similarly to Christmas, Imbolc has the conjured imagery of snowdrops growing around this date. It turns out snowdrops (aka Galanthus) flower anytime between January and March.

Frosted snowdrops anyone?
Frosted snowdrops anyone?

So, my innocuous FB post was in fact wrong. The snow drops grew exactly when they should, the fact we hardly had any snow this winter probably allowed them to have more light, and if their flowering time begins in January, then they are well within in season.

If we are serious about living with nature and being part of it (and no, I’m not saying we should give up having material possessions and eat only berries and wear tie-dye) then we ought to pay attention to the seasons around us more carefully in what grows, what dies, what migrates and what returns. If I am observant enough to know the idea of a “White Christmas” is now a myth, then I am observant enough to look out for the snowdrops being the signifier that the ending of winter approaches. And that these changes of the seasons do not conform to our dates.

Written Thursday 6th February, 4th Waxing Gibbous- ♋.

Additional- it was even frostier on Friday: