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Reflections on Sacred Space

Published March 17, 2014 by ireneglasse

I can’t live where I can’t see my mountains.  It’s a funny and a strange thing.  I moved to Frederick, MD, when I was about seven.  You could see the beautiful, rolling green of the Appalachians from my house, from the tree I loved to sit in.  ‘I’m bored’ in the warmer months was usually answered with a trip into the leaf and stone of the local hiking paths, or perhaps to the lake or waterfall at Cunningham Falls.  I spent my early summers building forts in the thickets nearest where we lived, riding my bike on the bike paths in the woods behind the college, making little stone dams in the local streams.

I ran screaming from this country when I was 18.  I lived in Okinawa, Japan, for three years.  It was beautiful, but I longed for the smell of leaves and moss, the shifting wind through the branches, the changing colors as the Wheel progresses.  The strangest thing is that I had problems with time.  My memories of Okinawa are out of order.  As though without that green to gold to brown to bare leaf cycle, I am somehow left without a way to know when in my life there an event occurred.

I came home.  We began in Northern Virgina and moved.  And moved.  And moved.  Until we found a home where I can see the mountains.  The Gambrill trail head is a five minute drive from my door.  This is no accident.

The mountains are still where I take my pain.  When I am broken open, bleeding tears and agony, I go to Cunningham Falls.  I climb the waterfall, and find ‘my’ boulder, and it’s there that I pour out the poison in my soul, watering the stone with tears.  And quietly, so gently, it’s there that the torrent of tears calms, ceases.  Somehow, in that place that does not change, in that space that was there before me, and will be there long after I am gone, I remember myself.  I find my center.

And I always considered this little quirk to be yet another one of those oddish things about me that I’ve come to accept rather than question overmuch.  I’m weird.  I’m wyrd.  And I know it, and I don’t fight it anymore.  So the pieces that don’t make logical sense just are.

I tell you this because that wyrd part of my nature seems to have found a prism in which to hang, an ah-ha moment that explains not only that practice, but reveals a much deeper well feeding that little curling green tendril of Other that runs rampant in my nature.

Robin, Orion Foxwood and I

Robin, Orion Foxwood and I

The Sacred Space Conference, an amazing gathering of Tribe intended for intermediate to advanced Practitioners, has a focus every year, and every year that focus, that theme, is different.  If I could give you this year’s theme in a single word, it would be ‘Heritage.’  This year’s conference featured Appalachian root workers, carriers of the only magickal tradition that is truly American.  Orion Foxwood, Byron Ballard and Linda Ours Rago brimmed with the green pulse of the mountains, deep as the caves, dark as the dreaming stones, yet shining with life, with magick, with depth.  And the overall message was one of deep love of and connection to the land, and to our blood.

Heritage of place called us to wake up to the land on which we live.  To embrace the spirit in the very earth we tread.  To love our homes, and the practical matters of day to day life.  What if where you live isn’t an accident?  What if my need to live in visual range of the mountains, my best friend’s need to live in the desert, your need to be where you are…what if those things mean more than a proclivity toward a certain aesthetic?  What if we’ve just forgotten?  What if that quiet resonance got covered up with Work and Obligation and Hyperstimulation?  Byron told us to go out and lie on the ground, to feel, to breathe.  Orion told us to seek, to build, to connect.  Linda told us to love, to honor, to learn.  And my bones resonated with the message.  That little piece of oddness in me isn’t so strange, as it turns out.  These ARE my mountains.  This IS my land.  And I am a part of it.

Heritage of blood called us to wake up to the River of Blood that brought our drifting vessels of flesh to this moment.  Try to imagine, for a second, the thousand thousand generations that fought so desperately, survived against such incredible odds, to bring you here.  Just a few hundred years ago, to sit in a room and speak our truths would have seen us all hanged, or burned at the stake.  Our ancestors fought for us to survive in a better world–they set their hopes as flickering lights into the River of Blood.  We are the vessels now, but that River runs long behind us, and long ahead of us.  We’re just ancestors enfleshed, navigating the hopes, dreams and sacrifices of thousands of souls.

You are intentional.  There is no accident here.  And even if your mind and memory do not know the names of relatives, or countries your ancestors come from, your blood knows.  Honor the River.  Let your soul guide you into remembering who you are.  We all return to the River eventually, leaving our vessel to the good earth, to help push the other boats along.  Lives are strung pearls.  The River is the string.

Robin, Selena Fox and I

Robin, Selena Fox and I

The other Path weaving its theme through the Conference was of the navigation through death.  Our people do not have churches or synagogues, and our Tribe is young.  Pagan Death Passages are still new territory for us, one being bravely explored.  M. Macha Nightmare and Selena Fox led these deep explorations into the mysteries of our last mortal transition.  The most important pieces?  If you are Pagan, and have a vision for the care of your mortal remains, write it down and tell multiple people where that information is.  Make the plan.  Have the discussion.  Death is hardest on the living–TELL the people you love what you want for yourself.  The other piece is for us as mourners.  Grief takes as long as it takes, and it is different for everyone.  Be patient, listen, and love.  Seek out the voices of those who have explored this territory.  There ARE rituals.  There are prayers, meditations, practices, songs and stories to help us on our way.  Go buy the Pagan Book of Living and Dying.  That way you’ll have it should you need it.  And remember that you are not alone.  Our Tribe is beginning to include Death Midwives and other practitioners of the Veil.  Reach out.  There’s a hand on the other side.

Just like last year, I’ve returned home almost overwhelmed with new ideas, perspectives and techniques.  I feel like I’m carting around a treasure chest filled to the brim with brilliant gems.  Simply sorting through them all and finding homes for them will take time.  There’s a new stack of books beside my bed, an expanded design for the next focus of my main altar forming in my mind and a deep hum of connection pulsing with every beat of my heart.  I am renewed, exactly at the point when I needed it most.  Gratitude is not a strong enough word for how I feel about the wonderful people who make Sacred Space possible.  I can’t recommend the Conference highly enough. 

To briefly borrow the parlance of our Appalachian presenters, y’all gotta try this shit.

 

 

 

(P.S. I am a note-taker.  Let me know if you’d like the notes from the workshops and rituals I attended and I’ll email them to you)

Twilight Covening

Published July 16, 2013 by ireneglasse

I try not to push my own ideas and experiences on other people.  Don’t get me wrong–if you ask me what I think of something, I’ll tell you the truth.  But I don’t like telling other people what to do.  We’re all so different, so varied, so unique in our needs and perspectives, that pushing my solutions on another person could be as useful as trying to put out a fire with a can of gasoline.

That said, I do have one full endorsement for those of you on the Earth-centered-spirituality Path.  Go to Twilight Covening.  Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with sparkly vampires.  The name refers to the transition between light and darkness, and has been the title of the festival since 1986.  Twilight Covening is a retreat in Massachusetts, and a beautifully intense one.  I’m going again this year, and it will be my fourth year attending.  I’ve pasted my reflections from previous years below.  Read them.  And then go register.  It’ll do you a world of good.

I’ll begin with the reflections from my first year attending, since this particular missive explains a bit about how Twilight runs.

October 13th, 2010

This is for the Pagans, or those of you who have been curious about some of the Pagan stuff I do.  Everyone else, these are not the droids you’re looking for.

This past weekend (Friday-Monday), I attended Twilight Covening in Massachusetts for the first time.  It’s a four day spiritual retreat for those on the Pagan path and this past Covening was its 25th year.

There are a lot of things from this past weekend that I’m still processing and am not ready to talk about yet.  Maybe I never will be.  Some things there are no words for.  So what I’m going to try to do is tell you about the space, the environment that Twilight creates and envelops you in.  Perhaps that will be enough to give you an idea of what’s happening up North.

Imagine four days of ritual space.  The ritual begins in the evening on Friday, when everyone arrives.  The initial circle is formed, the energy spreads out.  And the energy…  There are around 200 people there.  Every single one is there because they have chosen to devote four days to intense spiritual, emotional and psychological work. Imagine ritual space infused by the focus of our most committed practitioners.  And that those committed practitioners stand to the right and left of you, holding your hands.

Now we add to that.  That ritual space is constantly actively held.  At all times, a Clan (usually 6-18 people) is actively concentrating on maintaining the spiritual connection of the space.  They lend their energy to help your connection, to help you focus, to help you on your path.  At. All. Times.  Night or day, you are energetically guarded, enhanced and protected by a team of dedicated energy workers.  Even while you sleep, they help you stay attuned.

Now we add to that.  Everyone is there because they want to work as hard as you do.  Everyone is there because they are actively trying to improve themselves, to heal, to connect, to grow.  So everyone you talk to is sharing a lot of the same things you are going through.  Everyone there wants you to succeed.  The people you interact with honor your trust.  They listen when you share your insecurities, your fears, your weaknesses, and do not trivialize or brush off.  Instead, they try to find ways to help you.  They pray and laugh and weep with you.  They help you find ways to lower your shields and to reach out in ways you didn’t know you could.

Now we add to that.  Your specific Clan is even closer to your own path.  Clans are small–the largest I saw was maybe 18 people.  They are led by one or two facilitators–some of the most accomplished Priests and Priestesses our tribe has to offer.  The Clan you are in is specific in its focus.  The people closest to you not only share your goal of working on your spirituality, but they share some of the specifics of that goal.  You eat, sleep and work with your Clan.  You share and learn from each other.  You hold each other while you cry, you raise energy together, you joyously witness the steps each Clan member takes forward because you know just how hard they were to take.  You’ve been taking those steps yourself.

Now we add to that.  The space that you are in is breathtaking in natural beauty.  You’re on top of a mountain in the Berkshires.  There is no light pollution, so the sky at night is a sea of stars.  The trees are in a full autumnal riot of color and their vibrant tones are reflected in the lake.  There are boulders and tall pines, towering oaks and birds singing.  There are spaces for quiet reflection, there are spaces for intimate conversation, there are spaces for group work.  There are even spaces for silliness.  Mirth, after all, is the counterpoint to Reverence.

These words can only capture a fragment of what that space feels like.  I wish I could give you the memory of that feeling.  I wish I could cover the world with it.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that you should go.  If you’re on the Pagan path, if you’re working on your spirituality, Go.  Set aside those days for next year now.  Start setting aside the money now.  Go.  Please Go.  You probably need this as much or more than I did.  And I needed it.  I needed it the way a rose needs the sunlight.

Go to Twilight with me next year.  Our tribe has built something beautiful in Massachusetts.  You should feel it, too.

Reflections from my second year: October 11th, 2011

Some days are all about Gratitude.  Today is a day like that.

I got home late last night from Twilight Covening, a four day spiritual retreat for those of us on paths of Earth based spirituality.  It was my second year attending the retreat and as ever, I find myself struggling to put into words the beauty and depth of the experience.  The overriding emotion, the greatest arc and simplest expression I can find within my thoughts, is Gratitude.

I am grateful for the Space.  For the trees as they slip into their autumn colors, for the deep blue of the lake, for the rushing of the streams that race down the mountain to meet it.  I am grateful for the boulders warmed by the sun and silvered in moonlight.  I am grateful for the open fields of soft grass where we stand in circle, create labyrinths in flour, spread out our yoga mats or simply lie down to recharge our solar batteries.  I am grateful for the quiet of the northern forest, and the way it gently reaches out to soothe our senses.

I am grateful for the Community.

For the circle of Elders who somehow felt the call in the wind from those of us who wander.  Pagans do not have Churches.  We do not have sprawling infrastructures to support us.  In many cases, we walk almost totally alone.  If we’re lucky, we have some friends to share the path with.  If we’re lucky, we somehow manage to find our way.  And now I know that we are lucky, for the hearts at the center of EarthSpirit felt the song inside our wandering souls, and made a space in which to sing it.  The love and work and joy and energy our Elders put into the retreat is a palpable force, reaching out to embrace all the drifting leaves the autumn blows in.

For the Clan Leaders who choose to spend four days in service to the Twilight community as a group, and specifically to a small group on a particular, focused path.  These wonderful people, some of the best and brightest Priests, Priestesses, Shamans, Yogis and Pathworkers our community has to offer, wait for us with open arms.  They embrace us as we walk in, help us shed the layers of dust, pain, sorrow and stress we carry.  They wrap us in their attention and guide us.  They hold a lantern to light our way.  They hold our hands as we take the first steps.  They share our triumphs, our baby steps into a better place.  They love us and teach us.  They celebrate and grieve with us.  And they do this out of a desire to serve, to help, to midwife transformation in others.

For all of the attendees of Twilight Covening.  We come from our jobs, from our families and stresses.  We come from places of joy, places of work, places of pain.  We come from all over the country.  And we join hands and hearts.  We raise our voices together in song and chant.  We eat and talk and laugh together.  We share our paths with each other.  We marvel at each other’s stories, and at the lights that come on inside ourselves when we realize that we are not alone.  We travel into ritual together, into altered states.  We journey, we work.  And we become a family through that process.  Whether we smile, grieve, pathwork or meditate, we do it in the spiritual and often physical embrace of our family.  Of the Twilight Tribe.

I am grateful for the Experience.  For the moments that dance in my memory, that illuminate and warm.  They will feed me this winter.  They will carry me into Spring.  They will dance with me in Summer, and they will follow me back to Twilight next year, to collect more threads for the tapestry.

I am grateful for Fires in which we burn the things that hold us back.  I am grateful for the drums that echo, for the flames in the night, for the stars that see our work.  I am grateful to release, and to then turn about and push energy toward the releasing of others.

I am grateful for the soft, sweet chanting in a space for Dreams.  For the music of harp and flute, for a place to come to stillness.  I am grateful for the inner quiet, and for a chance to foster that quiet in others.

I am grateful for Ritual.  For the passage through a waking dream.  For learning, and growing, and flowing.  I am grateful for the transformation of pain into joy.  Of walking in darkness alone to walking toward a fire on a moonlit field where dancers spin, singers weave their voices in song and healing flows like water.

I am grateful for Celebration.  For dancing for hours beneath that almost-full moon.  For feeling so much joy, so much love, so much connection, that the only way to express it is to dance.

I am grateful for Twilight Covening.  For the thousand little and big things that make it what it is.  For the dozens of people who work to create a space of Mystery.  For the light that burns so brightly inside me for having been there.

And so it is with these words that I close.  Come with me next year.  The door that you are seeking exists.  The path beyond it is real and is waiting for you.  And the forest where that path begins?

It’s at Twilight Covening.

And, at last, this past year’s thoughts.  October 10th, 2012

The nights grow longer, and for those of us within Earth-centric spiritual practices, the year is winding down.  Thoughts are of endings–the final gathering of summer’s gifts from the garden, the last outdoor rituals and festivals, the thinning Veil around us.  The voices of the Ancestors and Spirits grow stronger.  We prepare for work, for the inner journey of the dark season.  Walk beneath the open skies to hear the song yourself.

Listen to the trees.  The green world calls out, the pulse of life thumping through the rough cloak of bark at your touch.  Place your hands upon their bodies.  Feel the vibration of the autumn wind passing through upper branches.  Close your eyes and listen.  They hum, sway and sing a song of Time.  Feel that tide pulling you in, pulling toward darkness.  Breathe.  Follow the song down into their roots, spreading out beneath you.  Let the wave wash over you.  The endless current of roots to crown to roots, the slow drawing-in of sap for the winter.  The trees are Centering.  Feel the balance of an inward shift.  Sink.

Listen to the rocks.  There is a bliss in the quiet stones, gently humming with a sound both bright and low.  A stillness carries up from their secret hearts, passing into the warm hands resting on their craggy surfaces.  Feel them.  An echo touches the human caress, passes into you.  Hear their endless song of dark to light to dark.  Sink in.  Lean against the boulders.  Breathe.  Let the pulse take you deep into the ground.  Feel the turning, the tilting of the Earth.  The song of winter coming, the song of darkness lives in the ore beneath your hands.

Listen to the night.  Let the cloak of the long shadow wrap around you.  Hear the wind sing, the calls of the night animals, the crackle of footsteps on dry leaves.  Lean into the coming quiet and feel your heart beating warmth into the cool air.  Turn within.  You see, you hum as well.  A rhythmic song crackling with both the fire and frailty of our human shells.  Listen.  Let the endless cycle of heart to limbs to heart take you deeper.  Breathe.  Feel your song turning you inward, gathering closer to the light within, the candle in the night.

Listen to the Song.  The eternal hymn of Time.  This is the family we share, these vibrations the language we all speak.  The song of the forest, of the mountains, of the Earth.  Of yourself.

Listen.  Let the music take you deeper.

Dissolve.

Sacred Space Conference – Breaking through the Wiccan Wall

Published March 15, 2013 by ireneglasse
chrispenczak

Irene, Chris Penczak and Robin

I think Chris Penczak put it best – we all eventually hit the Wiccan Wall.  Although there are a ton of resources for beginners, when it comes to intermediate to advanced-level Pagan studies, the river of knowledge begins to resemble a stream, sometimes slowing to the barest trickle of knowledge.  How many books on the Wheel of the Year can you read without getting bored?  How many new Tarot spreads can you try before you begin to think to yourself ‘there must be something more than this?’  I’m as prone to the Wall as any of us.  I’ve been on this Path for seventeen years now and I find it harder and harder to find new concepts to illuminate my spirituality, new perspectives to inhabit, new ways to find depth and connection.

As a result of that, I am beyond grateful for the Sacred Space Conference.  Specifically aimed at intermediate to advanced practitioners, Sacred Space draws together a truly gifted group of presenters.  They come from an impressively varied background–we have established authors who are bravely breaking new ground, ritual practitioners from every path imaginable (Reconstructionist, Shamanic, British Traditionalist, Chaos Magick…you name it, it was probably there), and luminary Priests and Priestesses who have sought out new connections to Spirit and brought that knowledge back with them.  The only downside to the conference is that I do not own a time turner!  There were several times during Sacred Space when I wished to be in more than one place at one time.  The bevvy of fascinating topics was almost overwhelming.

It was my first year at the conference, and I will definitely go back next year.  Along with the wonderful offerings on the workshop and ritual front, the whole things runs smoothly.  As a festival organizer, I have a deep respect and admiration for the people who can run such an undertaking so fluidly.  Events ran on time in the locations they were scheduled for without disruption or confusion–I believe that alone constitutes some sort of Pagan miracle.  One of the Board members mentioned in a workshop that the Powers That Be behind Sacred Space do not sit on any other boards for any other events–their sole focus is on this one.  And it shows.  I felt safe and comfortable at every turn.  At any point when I did need to talk to a volunteer or ask a question, the staff were kind and quick to find me an answer.  It was a joy to see a Pagan machine tick along so well.

I’ll give you some quick bullet-point takeaways from some of the workshops I attended:

  • We need more and better resources for our Clergy.  Clergy burnout is very high, and our Clergy feels under-prepared and under-supported.
  • Always, always, always send magick with love.  Any kind of magick.  Your thoughts and emotions at the moment of sending flavor that energy.  If it’s going to go out and then come back to you, you want it to come back with love.
  • To your higher Will, your entire life is a Ritual.  What kind of magick are you working?
  • Correspondences (herbs, crystals, astrological timing) are like the octaves on a piano.  When you strike one note, the notes above and below can ring out, giving over- and under-tones to the music.  It creates a fuller, more beautiful sound.  And, if one octave is out of your reach emotionally or conceptually, ‘striking’ a lower note of the same octave can begin to open that energy to you.
  • Sacred Space (not the conference) begins within the Self.  It is a place we must find within us first, and then step out from.
  • The creation of Sacred Art echoes down the line.  Every time you see it or interact with it, that is a Sacred act.  It also heals.  When we create from a perspective of Reverence, more than just one gate opens.
  • In meditation, give the chatter-voice something to do.  Rather than try to force it into quiet, make it responsible for the narrative or guide of the meditation.
  • Everyone has an energy they are meant to impart.  It is specific to us as individuals.  One question to ask yourself to help determine yours is ‘What do I do, that I love to do, that I do well, that my community recognizes and appreciates me for?’  The answer is probably not your career, but it *is* closer to your true calling.
  • When working with the Ancestors, you *will* come across some people you don’t like.  Count on it.  But instead of running screaming in the other direction, or burdening yourself down with guilt, commit to face squarely your ancestral inheritance.  Heal its liabilities, revel in its assets, and leave a better legacy for those that follow.  The ‘better’ begins with you.
  • We have our own Mighty Dead.  These ascended souls are many-layered and fall into many different categories, but they are available to us to help our growth.
  • Since we are aware and choose to truly See, we have an obligation to counteract the discord around us.  Magick is good for more than finding a lover or more money.  Expand your thinking.  What confluence of energies is chipping away at our society?  And what can we, energetically, do to help?
  • Culturally, we have the originators of our different Traditions.  We then have the Maintainers–those who kept the traditions as well as they could, even during times of repression.  We are the next phase of that journey–we are the Transformation.  We are combining beliefs in new ways and breaking new ground in spirituality and culture.  We must take care that all the ingredients we add to this soup are healthy for everyone.

These are just snippets–little pieces of a larger, deeper, more beautiful conversation.  I like to look for overriding themes and arcs within a narrative.  If I had to pick one from Sacred Space, it is ‘Deepen.’  The entire conference was geared toward helping you get to a deeper level of the Self, of your Spirituality, of your studies.  At a time when advancements in knowledge and technique can flow slowly and thin, going to Sacred Space was like plunging into a mountain lake.

Some of the concepts I came into contact with at Sacred Space have found immediate flower.  My working partner and I stripped down and then rebuilt our traditional Ostara ritual to reflect that shift in perspective.  Other ideas are still finding homes, and my reading list has doubled.  I feel like the new-turned earth in my garden–ready to grow green as the light returns.  And the hand that did the turning?  That was Sacred Space, and the incredible group of people who came together to present it, the people who came together to learn from it, and the people who left on Sunday with eyes full of fire for the coming season.

Gratitude seems a poor word, so I’ll say this instead:  It’s fucking amazeballs.  You should go next year.

A parting gift from Sacred Space

Published March 13, 2013 by ireneglasse
Gotta love it when my Muse bludgeons me so hard I have to turn around, drive back home and write it all down…

Bone Fire

Bone-dry the earth and twisted branches
Cracking as the drought advances
Cut off from the well below
Nothing green here can grow

Tinder dry the leaves have fallen
Scattered in this barren garden
Caught up in the searing wind
To carry further our great sin

Light alone can only burn
Endless oceans drown in turn
Rain must fall to heal the burning
We must be the flow returning

We must destroy the dam we made
We have to heal what we betrayed
We must shatter our own chain
We must become the falling rain

Sparks are catching in the sun
And flames along the ground do run
Sending sparks into the sky
Blackened branches fall to die

Wash the streets and clear the air
Pour down upon the poison there
Rinse the ashes from the land
Finding earth beneath the sand

And welling up from caves forgotten
Greening power comes to soften
Reaching up as we pour down
Put out the flames now all around

Feed the roots to feed the leaves
Heal the earth to heal the trees
Tend the well to tend the seed
Become the rain to end the need

The Light of Imbolc

Published February 1, 2013 by ireneglasse

I’ll tell you a story today.  I’ve only told a couple other people this particular one, because I feel self-conscious when I try to explain.  Some things are harder to put into words than others.

I don’t really remember how old I was when it happened.  I was little, probably under age 10.  The television was on, and a commercial began to run.  I think it was for jeans, of all things.  The part that struck me was the music.  It was a version of ‘this little light of mine,’ a rendition that began with the refrain whispered, then grew in volume and enthusiasm.  It was well done–inspiring, empowering.  And it made something click inside my head.  I started to pray.  To beg with all my will to the big, nebulous idea of God I had at the time, to make me a bearer of light.  I swore that I would do whatever I was asked, whatever was needed, if I could just carry light.  I would do anything.  I would serve that light forever.

Maybe I made that promise into air and nothingness.  Maybe I made it to my higher self.  Or maybe some One heard me, and answered.

I’m human, of course.  Flawed as we all are.  But I have tried my best to keep my word.  When I was a teenager, I wrote rituals for our little group of Pagan teens.  When I was in the military, one of my nicknames was Mother Goose.  If someone was having a meltdown in the middle of the night, I was the one that the Duty came and woke up.  As a musician, my lyrics carry messages.  Most of them are some form of ‘wake UP, the world needs you.’  I taught Paganism for years.  I’ve run festivals for the community.  I’m now in school to teach yoga.  The light, you see.  However I find it, I try to serve it.  It also lives within me.  In a very real way, the Gods kept their promise, too.  My sense of connection to the Powers is a feeling of a light glowing inside my chest.  Some of my friends see more than just the physical surface of things, and they can gauge my mood based on how brightly that light is shining.

And perhaps that’s why Imbolc is my favorite holiday of the year.  It is a celebration of light – the time when we really, truly begin to feel the return of the sun.  The very first stirrings of the coming spring can be found, and we notice that the days are a little longer than they were.  Imbolc is a time of purification.  It’s the deep breath before we sing, the tilled earth before we plant.  It’s a time to plan, to dream, to prepare.  It’s a time to cultivate our connection.  To strengthen ourselves for the warm time of the year, when our energy will be going in myriad directions, often at breakneck pace.

Imbolc is also sacred to the Goddess Brigid.  In a simple definition, she’s the goddess of Healing, Smithcraft and the Arts.  She is a source of light, particularly in the midst of darkness.  Some of her devotees keep a lamp always lit in her honor (the Sacred Flame of St Brigid in Kildare, Ireland, is often the origination point–St Brigid and the Goddess Brigid long ago merged together in myth).  In a very real way, Brigid *is* the light.  In years past, I ran a Pagan music festival called Brigid’s Faire–a burst of light, sound, art and warmth in the midst of winter.  More than any other named Goddess, I serve Brigid.

Between Yule and Imbolc, I braid my hair every day and wear a pendant with a picture of BrigidIrene on it.  The braids are an offering, an observance.  A time every morning when I remember the light within me, what it means, and what I promised in that long ago prayer.  As ever, I strive to serve the light.  I keep the oath I swore.

I wish you joy and light this Imbolc.  I wish you love and purification.  I wish you peace and blessings.

And if all goes according to plan, I’ll be giving you a gift fashioned of light and life tomorrow.

Blessed Imbolc, my friends.

Upcoming Appearance

Published March 21, 2012 by ireneglasse

My working partner, Robin, and I will be presenting a Labyrinth workshop and facilitated Full Moon Labyrinth Walk at Fertile Ground Gathering this year.  Fertile Ground is May 3rd – 6th at Prince William Forest Park in Northern Virginia.

The Workshop: Walking In Spirit: Learning to Use a Labyrinth

Join Irene and Robin for a moving and informative Labyrinth workshop.  The Labyrinth is an ancient symbol of transformation, spirituality and connection. Peacefully walking the Labyrinth can be a helpful spiritual tool to quiet the mind, open the heart, and bring new clarity. When we deepen a Labyrinth practice with self-awareness and understanding, new avenues of inspiration, connection and healing spring open.  Discover the history of the Labyrinth, the different techniques and approaches to Labyrinth walks and how to incorporate this incredible tool for growth into your life. Workshop includes a facilitated Labyrinth walk and closing Labyrinth Ritual.

Irene and Robin are working partners within the Creative Eclectic Paganism path. Together, they have led many group rituals and faciliated Labyrinth walks. Irene is an Ordained Minister, a High Priestess of the Tradition of the Witches Circle, and a Labyrinth Apprentice of the New England Labyrinth Guild. She has been reading Tarot for 19 years and practicing Paganism for 16 years. Irene taught Pagan beliefs and practices at Esoterica of Leesburg, VA, from 2005 to 2010. Robin is an accomplished Herbalist and Hedge Witch with a strong background in Ritual and Spellwork. She is a Priestess of the Tradition of the Witches Circle and a skilled Tarot reader.

Robin and I will also be offering Tarot readings on the Commons:

Known for her accurate, practical Tarot readings, Irene always delivers with a touch of humor and a heap of compassion. She offers several different types of readings — A General, a Specific Event/Situation, Specific Person, 6 Month Forecast, and Year Forecast.

Tarot readings by Robin offer insight, guidance, and a glimpse into the near future for those seeking answers. No burning questions? No worries! Robin can perform a general reading and let the cards decide what it is you need to know. Sign up now for your 30 minute session.