Winter’s Grip and Spring’s Embrace
Yesterday, the sun was shining very brightly here in Central New York, and it was also snowing. I was watching the tiny flakes being driven by a fierce, frigid wind. I smiled, or tried to, at the sun and frowned, with no effort at all, at the snow. Today it is overcast with a cold wind and occasional snow flurries. Even though we are now in spring, it is not apparent down here on earth. I have whined and kvetched a great deal to anyone who will listen and there is a general crankiness wherever I go.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about the stern winter Goddess, Morana and how her fierceness and unyielding coldness reflects the harshness of winters. Her husband is the Jarilo, the God of Spring. Jarilo is the son of the thunder God, Perun and twin brother to Morana, goddess of winter and death.
Jarilo is associated with the time of springtime to harvest. Jarilo is stolen from his father and taken to the underworld where he is adopted by his father’s enemy, Velez, god of the Underworld. In the spring, Jarilo returns to the world and his return is noticed by his sister and goddess. They court according to established rituals and are married. He is, however,unfaithful, and she slays him and he returns to the underworld. She becomes a withered and stern hag, bringing the harshness of winter to the world. He is reborn and they are reunited for a very brief time every year.
Where she is hard, he is soft. Where he is new and fresh, she is old,and wearisome. Where he is vulnerable and approachable, she is unyielding and stern. They are the bifurcation of the year and their story is played out again and again, just as the Wheel of the Year keeps on turning.
He is a reminder to us, a hope and a prayer in this interminable weather, that Spring does come and bless us with warmth, delight, and play.
The Charge of Jarilo
I call to you, Children of Winter
To remember the spring.
As you walk and work in the landscapes
Of winter and darkness,
Remember the turning of the wheel.
Know that the wheel turns and
The cycle begins again.
What happens in one cycle, we cannot have in the others
That is the strange, sad truth of joy
And the hopeful, happy truth of sorrow.
Each phase and each turning is different
With the joys and challenges of its own truth.
Remember as you dwell in the present.
Hope and warmth are on the way.
Live in coldness and seek that wisdom.
Blessed be the darkness and the cold.
Blessed Be to you. Children of Winter.