Reawakening- Reflections on Imbolg

So this winter has been wild. I saw a week or so ago that three cities in Ohio were among the 20 coldest in the US, one of which is our nearest metropolitan center. Early last week, schools and businesses were closing due to the extreme cold, and tonight we’re being told to look for 6-10 inches of snowfall. I don’t know about anyone else, but I definitely feel like the Cailleach has her hands all over us this winter. It has been wild and unpredictable and extreme, yet I do see that coming to an end. It was in the 50’s over this past weekend, I totally felt like Brighid gave us a bit of a respite, a sign that, yes, this winter shall end.

Things have been a bit chaotic in our house, and so we didn’t celebrate Imbolg in any particular way. With having the poultry out at the in-laws, I do try to at least make time for some small rite to ensure their continued health and fertility (that’s my goal for this weekend). We just bought a house (closing next week!) and have been busily packing for our move. That, along with my return to school, E’s busyness at work, and the cabin fever and minor illness that has just lingered through the winter (sniffles, colds, and sinus issues), have just not made for a “good” time for celebrating. Though one could argue that it’s the perfect time to celebrate, we made it through the winter! I’m just not in the mood to be in charge of that celebration, and I think this is a hang-up all solitaries face.

But I have been reflecting on what it means to be pregnant at this time of the year. During my last pregnancy, I spent this time freaking out and going over all of my options (abortion, adoption, carrying to term), and didn’t spend much time thinking about how awesome it is to be pregnant at Imbolg.  We see the first signs of returning life, the first sheep are coming into their milk, soon we can put down our cold weather vegetables, and winter is nearly over! While winter itself is cold, we retreat into the warmth of our homes until we can reemerge into the bright warmth of summer, like a babe emerging from the womb. Due to the circumstances of my son’s birth, it is medically inadvisable for me to carry past my due date. So I know this baby will be here by Earth Day, we will be moved into our new home (hopefully) long before then, and we can take that time to welcome in the fullness of spring and the reawakening of the Earth. But for now, I can feel the baby getting bigger, and I know his time is coming, just like the Earth is awakening and preparing for another year of richness and abundance.

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Chick Days

Chick Days

So it really is spring time, since we just picked up our first batch of chicks (aka McNuggets). I’m so blessed to have married into a family that is in to homesteading, since we are stuck in a rental that we can do nothing with outside. The landlord already had a fit about my makeshift raised planter, he said it looked trashy, because it was just full of dirt. Well, no wonder, it was November, and all the plants are done by then. So it went away. But that’s ok, because my in-laws live about 5 minutes up the road, and we garden out there. And. Now we have peeps! Brought 17 home yesterday, and are planning on getting at least 12 more within the next few weeks. These guys are Buckeyes, which are a heritage breed created to be hardy in this weird Ohio weather, and still be a dual purpose bird. We think this batch will probably be kept as layers, but the goal is to raise some meat birds. All the chickens out at the in-laws are free range, and live a pretty sweet life.

But what does this have to do with paganism, since the this is a pagan blog? You hear people from all religions and spiritualities talking about living their beliefs; well, this is part of how I live mine. If I want to talk about loving the earth and following a natural cycle, then I need to put it into practice. Homesteading, to me, puts you in a position to deal with nature on its terms, and you develope an appreciation for it that you otherwise wouldn’t have. More on that later though…

Heavy Duty Trellis

Heavy Duty Trellis

Found this awesome trellis design on one of the most epic blogs ever, The Homestead Survival. Even though winter is fast approaching, that doesn’t mean we should neglect our gardens and food plots. With much of the dead and dry(ish) flora, we have a wealth of composting material to collect, along with great over-winter mulches. So instead of raking those leaves to the curb, rake them to the garden or compost heap. And start planning for your garden next year, or even get down some late fall plantings! Gardening is a year-round endeavor everywhere.