The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Archive for the tag “winter”

The Horned God, a Teacher for Winter

The Horned God is the evocative name a 20th century melding of several ancient images of gods such as Cernunos, Herne the Hunter, Pan, Dionysus, Janus, and Green Man.  Not much exists in writing and the oral tradition has been lost, so modern pagans worship the male energy force of winter as the Horned God.  He is the Great Father, the Lord of Winter with sovereignty of the male aspect of creation and fertility.  He has the power of creation and destruction.  He harvests the land of dead animals and cares for the land in the cold dark of winter.While the Horned God may be a modern derivation of ancient images, the ancient and powerful life (and death) force her represents remains present in our world and in our lives.

The Charge of the Horned God

Hear now the charge of the Horned God,

I who am called Lord of the Wild Hunt, Herne, Cernunnos, Pan, Janus and many other names.

Know that I am here and present in the winter of your lives,

Guiding, harvesting, and knowing you soul.

Be strong of heart and body in the cold and dark

And you will be stronger still in the light and warmth.

Be in tune with the turning of the Wheel

And live each season according to its turning.

Tune your life to the rhythms of the world

And you will know my creation, my destruction

And my love.

My touch may be cold, but it will warm you soul

With connection, power, and strength.

Be compassionate with those who are weaker

And be understanding of those you do not comprehend.

Know the mystery of contradiction

And live in the rhythm and melding of opposing forces.

Live the short days and rest peaceful in the long nights.

Be one with me and know peace.

Blessed be


 

Caillech, The Hag of Winter

When I got in the car this morning, the car’s onboard temperature gauge said 25 degrees Farenheit.  I often complain that these enhancements to automobiles are really TMI (too much information) for the early morning commute.  But that temperature is a whole lot better than the negative 9 last week and the single digits that went on until this Sunday. The whole landscape is frigid and cold. We are all bundled up and trundle through our worlds trailing hats and gloves and all sorts of things as we don and shed our layers depending on the temperature and the weather.

When I called my mother this past weekend I asked her if she’d gotten any snow. She said they’d had a little but it had all melted. I told her we had a lot of snow on the ground and it would snow a little every day until — pause — forever. She laughed and said it must feel that way. Yesterday, the young men of the family across the road cleared off their frozen pond and played ice hockey most of the day, taking advantage of the bright sunshine and making a lot of fun out of the freezing cold. It was fun to watch from my warm comfortable kitchen window.

My circle is practicing living in harmony with the seasons this year. Each quarter we have a “sponsor” or two. Deities that help us understand what qualities and essences we are studying. The gods we work with give us a charge. I find that They usually evokes in me some creative work. Caillech is our sponsor for the winter.

I first met her many years ago when I was taking an advanced course on Wicca, emphasizing telling our stories. It was a time when I was still adapting to the hard winters in Central New York. She appealed to me with her ability to shift and change, the shawl about her shoulders, and her ability to survive and thrive in the hard landscapes, along with her gracious relinquishment of power in the springtime. As I told her story, I became her and channeled her wisdom. It was a very special moment of embodiment of the Goddess.

In all the Celtic myths and legends, there are variations of the Cailleach, the ruler of Winter. She appears at Samhain and rules and protects the world, the weather, the land and the animals. At Beltane, the Brighide appears and Cailleach hides beneath a holly bush. When she enters the world, she brings death, sharp storms, ice, and snow. She created the lakes, streams and rivers; and the rocky cairns fell from her apron.

The world is hers beginning at Samhain. Her staff, when it strikes the land, turns everything into ice and snow. She is especially protective of wolves and deer as she moves through the land though all animals are in her heart. She herds the deer and protects them. Swine, wild goats, and wild cattle are also her creatures. She is the great ancient earth mother, the embodiment of the Dark Mother archetype, who destroys, creates, and destroys. When she first appears, she is wearing a great plaid over her shoulder. She starts to wash her plaid and when she is finished, it is pure white and the land is covered in snow and frost.

Her name means “hag,” “old woman,” or “old wife” in Gaelic. There are many variations and legends found throughout the Celtic speaking lands. She has the ability to transform from old woman to a beautiful one according to her mood; and her moods change the weather and the land.

The Charge of the Goddess Cailleach

Hear now the charge of the Goddess Cailleach,
I who am known as the Ancient Earth, the Hag,
And the Old Woman do tell you and instruct you.
Do not be afraid of my wild moods and changes
Just as you should not be afraid of your own.
Find creation in all death and destruction
And find beauty in the bleak, cold, deadness of winter.
Guard and protect what is dear to you
As I do with the animals of the earth;
And find comfort and strength
In the changes of your loved ones
Even as their transformations may wound you
And change you.

Always know that
In the stark coldness of bitter storms and frigid land,
There is beauty and hidden treasures.
Look beneath cairns of your life
To find the hidden riches.
Celebrate the joys and the sorrows
For as death and destruction is brought forth,
So is new creation and joy.
Be blessed in all aspects of your life
And be beloved by yourself and those you love.
Blessed Be.

May you find joy and blessings in the harshest and sweetest moments. 

Hibernation and Polar Bear Totem

polar bear swmiingPolar bears are hunters and survivors. They thrive in a wintery environment of frozen grounds and water. Polar bears are fearsome protectors of their young and aggressively forage for food in the water, town garbage heaps or wherever they might find nourishment and protection. They fascinate us with their size, power, habits and ability to adapt and survive.

Polar bear wisdom draws from their expertise in swimming, ability to thrive in a stark landscape and their attitude towards others of their kind. Polar bears are able to navigate the Earth’s magnetic line, emotional waters, and finding a way back from the brink of danger. Polar bear wisdom is about solitude and the ability to find sustenance in the most austere places. They communicate through dreams and understand life, rebirth, and transformation. They are good providers and protectors of their families and their wisdom informs defenses and revenge energy.

In the January 2008 Llewellyn Witches Calendar, I wrote, “Polar bears have adapted to a world where the cold is eternal and daytime and nighttime have no meaning. In the Arctic, the summers are 24 hours of light and the winters are 24 hours of dark. Unlike other bears, the polar bear is able to go into hibernation when food is scarce and become active when abundance returns, using what is called “walking hibernation.” They lower their temperature and hibernate as needed, for a few days or longer. Only pregnant polar bears seek the protection of a dean, and they create a two-chambered tunnel in the snow banks where they birth their cubs. Polar bear sleeping habits include naps; they often sleep for short stretches during the day, since their prey is active at night. Napping helps conserve energy which is swiftly expended as they hunt. They sleep during winter storms and they sleep after play.”

My own personal discovery of the polar bear was through shamanic journeywork. In a class, a classmate retrieved a power animal for me which turned out to be my guardian spirit: the polar bear. I had been to the National Zoo the week before and spent a long time at the polar bear habitat. You could walk underground and see them as they swam beneath the water. At the time, I was swimming a lot and I thought, “Polar bear is like me, flabby but graceful underwater!”

Come play with me on the long winters night
Come hunt with me through darkness and light.
Be strong with me in loving protection
Be fierce with me in introspection.
Find the rhythm of life and death
Find the heart of it all, in all its breadth.
Swim in the waters’ depths to transform and restore
Be fluid and tranquil as you change even more!
Come play with me on the long summers day
Let anxiety and worry float far away
Be one with the Universe, in love and grace
You are happiness and power, all in one place.

Shedding, Shoveling, and Getting it Backwards

Questions to ask in Meditation and Shamanic Journeywork
It’s a cold Monday, with three more inches of new snow. The shovel I’m using is not a snow shovel and it’s rather short. So getting it to do something it wasn’t designed to do was part of the challenge. So, I’m breaking up the ice and shoveling the snow and I start to think about this season. We really are transitioning to spring, but we only feel it on the deepest levels. It hasn’t reached our conscious mind yet. And we long for it. We are getting ready to leave our underworld journey and move upward into the light. The way may still be blocked and we might have to shovel our way out. So what is it that we need to shovel out of the way in order to find the sunshine and light?
Then I trundle over to the car and climb inside. My coat is all bunched up and the seat protector is askew, so I bounce around and squirm until everything is workable. It is so dorky. When it gets to be this time of year, I really get annoyed at all the gloves, hats, scarves, bulky coats, layers of clothes, socks and boots that go into being warm and safe in the climate. I long to shed it all and go unfettered and free into the warmth. So what is it that I need to shed in order to move freely into our wishes for the springtime?
So then I get to work and sit down at my desk and I still feel all bunched up and uncomfortable. I check my clothing and find that my shirt is on backwards. Jeez. So I go into the bathroom and set it all right again. At least I brushed my teeth and combed my hair. So what do we have backwards or twisted around that needs to be set right?
Can you tell what I’ll be journeying on tonight?
May your clothes always be right side out, too!!! Good journey..

Post Navigation