Today is 12.19.16.1.1 2 Imix 4 Pax

1419 shopping days until 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahau 3 K’ank’in.

not-a-groundhog-2-1-09-twkNot a groundhog.

Imbolc

i. 

February is the bitter month,
the dead month,
the wolf moon,

crow time,
when ravens
come home to roost,

when the milk
of inhuman kindness
comes first as beestings,

soft cold rain falls
and the hurting grass
begins to scab the frostbitten ground—

This season
belongs
to Bride.

Cailleach, old woman, white owl, 
folds her snowy wings 
in a crevice of rock on the cliffs,

drinks from the well of healing,
and passes the grail
to the birch maid,

passes the grail,
to become
white birch maiden Bride.

ii.

Today is the feast of Bride, 
today we light her fire, 
cook and eat the bread of wolves.

At the convent of St. Bride, 
nineteen nuns
kept watch over her fire

for a thousand years,
one each night
for nineteen days.

On the evening of the twentieth day,
each twentieth day
for a thousand years, 

the nineteenth nun brings the wood to the fireside
and says, “Bride, guard your fire.
This is your night.”

This is our night
to stand the watch with Bride,
to keep the fire alight.

The evangel of Bride’s foster son,
a man named John,
sent to bear witness of the light,

spoke this gospel:
The light in the darkness shines
and the darkness did not grasp it.

Yet we too came to bear witness
and this is our night
to tend the fire.

When we turn to warm our backsides
we may see, in clear sky,
stars in the darkness shine.

And if Candlemas Day
is bright and clear
there’ll be two winters in the year.

Note: This poem is written for the occasion of the Feast of Bride, aka Imbolc, christianized as Candlemas aka the Feast of St. Brigid, and that is today. This feast day celebrates the crone of winter reborn as the maiden of the coming spring.

In the text, “dead month” comes from the Scots Gaelic marbh mhios; “wolf moon” likewise for faoilleachCailleach means old woman; cognate Coileach is “owl.” Owls are often associated with the crone aspect of the Goddess. Beestings, or biestings is the first lactation of a mother after giving birth. The “nineteen nuns” are taken from a 12th century account of the convent of St. Brigid in Kildare, Ireland. In Scotland Bride was sometimes called Muime Chriosd, “foster mother of Christ;” Christ refered to as Dalta Bride, “foster son of Bride.” The quote from the Gospel of John is part of the first verse of that book, that begins so famously “In the beginning was the word…” my version is a little different from the King James, the Koine Greek runs “to phos en tai skotia phainei kai ai skotia auto ou katelaben” of which “the light in the darkness shines, and the darkness did not grasp it” is an almost literal translation. 

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