And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Photo by Jedediah Berry, Amherst, MA
This evening I will gather with women friends outdoors to walk a snowy labyrinth illuminated by ice lanterns and the full moon. What could be more magical for this weekend of Imbolc / Candlemas / Brigit’s Day? This full moon will arrive at perigee, the place on its non-circular orbit when it’s at its closest point, a distance of 221,577 mi. (356,593 km.) from Earth. It will be the biggest full moon of 2010. The moon will exert a strong pull on the ocean tides at this time. Pause, close your eyes, quiet your self: as a watery creature, can you feel the moon’s pull?
On Sunday, we of Caim an t’ Stratha of the Céile Dé will gather with members of a nearby Catholic church to weave Brigid’s crosses with locally gathered rushes. In the Celtic calendar, Imbolc brought the first harbingers of Spring, but now my snowdrops are under snow, and an Arctic front has given us bone-chilling temperatures. It’s a time for hearth and home. Light some candles, for the light is growing. It’s good to know that the snowdrops are there, awaiting their time.