Lighting the Inner Fire

Laurie woke me with a cup of tea and a smile this morning; I had slept the entire night through, uninterrupted, for the first time in days. I immediately felt something was different. I had been dreaming that I was being shown a river. It had obviously broken its banks, the sides crumbling and dislodged from the force but now the flow was receding, the level dropping considerably. A man was stood next to me telling me that I had almost been swept away but had kept my footing.

I didn’t bleed at all through the night – a first in almost two weeks – and today the flow has been very light, just like the river in my dream! I am not about to kick up my heels – I am a little wary of false dawns by now – but I feel something has shifted, my energy level is gradually rising and that dragging heaviness in my tummy is fading. I feel so much better but am a little scared to hope at the moment for fear of disappointment.

Each day the sun has been climbing a little higher in the sky and today it peeped over the roof of our neighbour’s house, flooding both bedrooms. I lay with it covering me and felt a tentative sense of relief, my edges softening. I can’t believe Imbolc is almost here. Thinking about all that this festival stands for – the tender new beginnings that it promises – despite my fear of setbacks, it’s hard not to feel a little jolt of hope within – hope for healing, for renewal, hope that not one of us is a lost cause, no matter what we might go through or struggle with.

I wrote a meditation for our Imbolc ritual last year. As I think about putting together stuff for this year’s ceremony, I got a little buzz of recognition when I read it through again. I include it here:

It is a cold, crisp night in the hours just before dawn. The starry sky arches it vast, twinkling darkness above you. You are sat upon the earth; the soil is hard and frozen; the grass glistening with frost. The land is silent and asleep. Your body and being are motionless, chilled and inert like the winter earth but you sense inside yourself a change and you know that you must prepare for its coming.

Draw your attention inward to the very centre of yourself; this place is the centre of the sacred circle of your being, and it is here that you will light the sacred fire; it is the spark of life; it is the fuelling heat at the centre of the planet; it is the burning sun at the heart of our galaxy; it is the fire of the smith that will magically melt and transform you; it is a candle flame of hope in the darkness.

Standing at the centre of you inner sacred circle, you see the tinder and dry wood of your life, ready to be lit, and in their lighting you know that the heat of this fire will bring a change in the land, will bring the first tender signs of new life and renewal, of growing strength.

Become aware of your solar plexus. There is a flame that always burns here. Take some of this perpetual flame upon your finger and now light the wood at the centre of your inner circle from it. At first it glows only beneath the dark wood. Blow upon it the breath of your ideas and inspiration. As you do this, the flames begin to grow until the fire lights up the darkness.

You find yourself back beneath the vast starry sky, upon the frosty, frozen earth, but now you are aware that there is a glow at the centre of your being. Feel its warmth and light spread out through your chest, down your pelvis, into your legs and feet; feel it moving up through your shoulders, down your arms and into your hands and fingers, up through your neck and into your head, until your whole body is filled with its golden heat and light. You are radiant in the darkness. Stay here in this moment for a while –take note of the feelings and images that rise…

Your attention moves from the inner glow to the land around where you sit. You gaze down at the once frozen soil beneath. The frost has melted into life giving moisture, droplets hanging from the blades of green, and through the earth a carpet of snowdrops rises, drinking in the life giving melt, strengthening themselves in the warmth of your glow. As if by magic you watch their brave green shoots pierce through, their delicate, white blossoms unfurl and hang in gentle bells of white. You have lit the fires of passion within and the land responds with the first tender signs of a new beginning. Pause for a moment; take note of all you feel and see…You gaze at the horizon; along the line of the land, a slim strip of the sky begins to lighten…the dawn will soon be here…


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