Needing rituals

Over the years I have changed my attitude to rituals. However, the British especially have their own little everyday rituals like the way you make a cup of tea or whether the jam or cream goes on the scone first. If we look at what we do each day then we can see just how much of what we do is part of a ritual.

I used to stand on the door step each morning and welcome in the day, asking for blessings from Father Sky, Mother Earth and the four quarters of North, South, East and West. Nowadays I tend to stand on the doorstep and connect without words to the sky, earth and the directions. I find words are not needed. This Imbolc for example, I started to see the bulbs shooting up in the ground and noticed some early spring flowers and new buds on the trees. I acknowledged this as the coming of Spring, of Imbolc and felt I did not really need a formal ritual or ceremony to acknowledge this.

My connection with the natural world around me is so strong and deep that words are not needed. I don’t set up and altar as what I can see outside in my garden is my altar all year. I have never really enjoyed the kind of ritual where a theatrical performance comes first. I have been to some of these and found much of the words said are just parts said without any deep feeling or meaning. To me, if you perform a ritual then what you do and say must have meaning for you and be sincere. So I wonder what your thoughts are on this? Imbolc Blessings to you all.

Signs of Spring

Imbolc, Brighid’s Day, Candlemas or whatever you call this time of the year, all lead to the coming springtime with the same kind of thoughts and feelings behind them. For me, February 1st is also a sad time as I remember a dear friend on this day, her birthday, although she left us for the Summerlands some time ago. So a time of sadness and also joy as I see the land renewing itself.

I noticed that the flood waters have receded and some farmers have been able to plant seed for future crops. I noticed the growth of the bulbs in the garden as they push up shoots strongly from the damp earth. Some plants are also in flower, the Elephants Ears, the Aconites and some other small plants whose names I cannot remember. Of course, the snowdrops are in bloom too.

New life, new beginnings are foremost in my mind. I have made plans for things to do and make in the next few months before the longer days come into being. But there is hope as well, hope that all the divisiveness of the past few years here in the UK will be lost and we will come together and learn to work together in peace, with respect and with love. There will be changes as well but we need to accept these and look at the effect that they will have, then act accordingly. We will need to make sure that everyone, whatever colour, creed or whether ill or disabled, has the same opportunities to live their lives peacefully and without any bullying or nastiness from others.

We all come from the same source and we all share the divine spark even if we think we don’t have that spark. Find that divine spark and know that we are all one, united in our world and working together for peace and love for that lives on the planet. Blessings of the season to you all.

A new year

I have been looking at the dates of New Years in different parts of the world and in different faiths. New Year here is January 1st although centuries ago it was at the beginning of April or end of March. The Inland Revenue still uses April 5th as the start of the financial year.

Many other countries have a different date for the new year. Chinese New Year is between January 21st and February 21st, for example. A quick look at Wikipedia will give you lots more examples.

Many pagan faiths take Samhain as their New Year. The Samhain festival is celebrated on 1st November. Others take the Winter Solstice as the start of their New Year. I used to feel that that date was quite appropriate as it is when the days begin to get longer again. But then I started to look at how I felt during those months after the Winter Solstice, the months of January and February for example. January is still cold, after all it is winter time here in the UK but there is a glimmer of Spring on the horizon. We are now getting towards the end of January and I feel that I am now starting my New Year. I see bulbs sprouting through the earth, There is generally more sunshine and everything seems brighter.

February 1st is the festival of Imbolc. It is also known as St. Brighids Day. For me Brighid symbolises the advent of Spring so I am going to claim February 1st as the start of my New Year. I am feeling more awake and ready to do things. I have started to create more music and art work and am getting ready to work on other projects. So yes, I am starting my New Year soon. How do you feel about this? Do you have different dates for your New Year?


The festival of Imbolc occurs on the 1st and/or 2nd of February. It brings much joy as the days get longer and the sun slowly starts to climb higher in the sky. It represents the quickening of the year; the first stirrings of Spring. The emphasis is on light and this is represented by candles rising out of a dish of water. This is symbolic of the rising light of Spring emerging from the creative feminine waters.

In Scottish lore, the Cailleach, (kai-e-och) the Old Woman of Winter, journeys to the magical isle and founds the Well of Youth. She drinks from the water of the Well of Youth and is transformed into Bride, the fair maid of Spring.

In many Christian countries, this festival is known as Candlemas and is celebrated by candlelight processions when the candles are blessed for use at the altar.

Imbolc is the time when the days lengthen and the buds start to form on trees. Snowdrops bloom and other plants start to raise their heads above the earth. It is time to plant ideas, just as we plant seeds in the garden, and leave them to germinate. We can prepare for the coming changes through meditation, writing poetry and other creative projects. It is a time when we can bring out from within us all the ideas we have considered during the dark time of the year. It is now time for these to push their way outwards like the early spring plants which push their way through the soil.

 We can let go of old things that we no longer need. This makes space for the new ideas to prosper and bloom. Our mothers always did spring cleaning at this time of the year but they often only cleaned the house. We can take this spring cleaning further and not only clean our homes but also our minds. Imbolc brings healing as well as initiation into another circle of seasons.  We can make new resolutions at any time but this time of the year they seem more special.

On Monday evening some of us gathered together to celebrate Imbolc. We decided what we needed to get rid of in our lives and what we wanted to bring in. We lit candles for Brigid asking for her help with this. We also made personal shields to remind us of what we wished to bring into our lives.

My personal celebration of this festival is the publication of my book ‘ Poetry and Prose’ which also contains grey scale images of my photos and art work.

I am also hoping to set up a small group of those interested in learning about druidry. If you live in the Melton or Oakham are and would like to know more about this, then contact me through Facebook.

Signs of Spring

Druids celebrate eight festivals, spread fairly evenly throughout the year. The next festival is Imbolc on 1st February. This is a spring festival celebrating the awakening of the earth. I will write more about this nearer the time.

But there are already signs of spring around. Cherry blossom is blooming in the town centre, bulbs are appearing and I have plants in my garden that have flowered all through the winter months. Each morning I walk down my garden path looking to see what is happening. The flowering currant has beautiful buds and there are some wild flowers appearing, pink and yellow. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Here is another stone circle in Cumbria.