Sacred Journeys – March 2010Kim Elkington March 1, 2010
Everyday Rituals & Celebrations
Realizing it has been 15 years (this month) since I wrote my first column for Vitality, I looked up the original and thought it would be fun to share it here. So here it is …
“One rather grey February morning, I came into the office with an armload of flowers, fruit and dragon’s blood (a red plant-based incense) for a celebration with friends later that evening. Julia was intrigued by these items of ritual, and we decided right there on the spot to publish a column every month where we focus on ways of creating ritual celebrations of the earth, on our own or with others, and share these ideas with Vitality readers.
A large part of the road to understanding myself involves discovering my own rhythms. This in turn draws me ever closer to my relationship with the rhythms of the earth, revealing both my deep connection and my separation. Over the last few years, friends and I have increasingly decided not to go out to a club or rent a video, but rather create some sacred space together. A simple gesture, such as forming a circle when we meet, changes the energy of the group. Rather than talk about things in terms of “one day we should,” suddenly that day is now. We begin to sing or dance, tell stories, do bodywork – whatever feels right.
Recently, a male friend commented on how the women were always getting together to mark the seasons, and that it was time to have a mixed gathering with that same focus. Absolutely! So we decided to gather for Imbolc, a Nordic celebration of the goddess Brid or Bridget. This pregnant goddess symbolizes the time when the energy of the earth returns to the sleeping seed of winter.
Twelve adults and as many children all dressed in white, like snowdrops, gathered – two Maidens in white, two Mothers in red (and breastfeeding) and two Crones in black. The Mothers handed out fruit with seeds, the Crones handed out spirals the children had made to represent the dream of winter, where we create our future selves. The other children, helping the Maidens, handed out white petals saying, “Accept my gift. Accept the life of spring.” The men played the high priestess, opening and closing the circle with much laughter, before a spiral dance took the longest possible route to the food table and a wonderful spring feast.
Later we poured milk into the earth at the base of an Oak in thanks for all the nourishment the newborns will receive, be they two-legged or four. We read that Ash branches were traditional for this holiday, but there were none about so we substituted snow shoes and hockey sticks made of Ash. There was a scene to warm the Canadian winter soul: a dozen people at midnight standing around an Oak tree with their hockey sticks – chanting and giving thanks. We had a lot of fun, and I think the tree did as well.
When each of us ritually interact with focus and intention, be it planting a tree, taking a serene soak in the tub or chanting into the core of the earth, we open an opportunity for dialogue that can teach us the language of the mystery, our birthright. This language, and its symbolism, will be quite individual in its expression, but the answers are always there. For me it can be fragments of conversations, the shape of a cloud, the lyrics of a song, a recurring dream, or a sleeping cat suddenly meowing just as the answer drifts through my mind. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we discover the answers were there all along, we just need to learn how to listen.” There we go – a look at 1995.
What I like is the yearning I had to share ideas with you right from the beginning. We are aware that right now we are creating a new world, and we know that what we think with our hearts is made real. So I would like to suggest that we co-create a future world together. By this spring I will set up a blog, a place for us to come together and share inspired visions and tales of how we are re-connecting to the world and to each other. Start thinking about what you are going to share!
Kim Elkington is the co-founder of The Algonquin Tea Co, a line of quality teas made from organic wildcrafted Canadian herbs. These days, Kim works with Local Sustainably Wild-picked Canadian herbs to make organic herbal, black, green and chai tea blends. Find these products online: www.wildcanadiantea.com, or www.algonquintea.com Email Kim at: firstname.lastname@example.org