Imbolc: a poem

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“Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems” – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Imbolc

I am the dream of awakening.

I am the returning of the light.

I am the tough green shoot pushing up through the pavestones, I am the first kiss of sunlight on the unfurling petals of the snowdrop. I am the wind which whispers the gentle pull of home to the migratory bird.

I am the drop of ice melting on the mountainside with its great dream of the ocean.

I am the sap rising in the blossom tree just before it reveals its sticky buds to the sky; I am the riotous celebration humming away beneath the earth’s mantle of frozen sleep.

I am the rousing of the bee from its winter slumber, and the soft pad of the mother-wolf’s paw on the snow as she prepares to birth her pups.

I am hope, potential, rebirth and promise. I am the kindling breath which transforms the flicker of inspiration in your creative core into a blazing torch.

Give me the silent crescent moon rising over the sea and I will build you a bridge of silver light so you can walk up and lie in it.

Give me the frost-hardened wilderness and I will breathe radiant green life over it.

Give me the healer, the writer, the craftsperson and the storyteller, and I will replenish her essence and make her new again.

I am Brigid, Bast, Inanna and Hestia. I am the fierce protectress of the sacred fire.

Tonight I bestow my gifts of power and courage at the hearth of your soul: power to step out of the shadows of self-doubt and negativity which have held you in darkness for too long, power to shed all that which no longer serves you, and courage to clear your heart and mind for the dawn that awaits you.

I am the time to honor your unique gifts for their true worth and to protect and nurture your creative self as you would a child. I am the deep longing of the spirit which refuses to be consumed by a narrative of fear and chooses instead to place itself vivaciously on the side of love.

I am the stirring in your belly which knows exactly what you are capable of — and that it’s time the world found out.

I am the fire within which will not be contained any longer.

I am the quickening, I am the serpent uncoiling, I am Imbolc.

I am the dream of awakening.

Originally published on Rebelle Society at http://www.rebellesociety.com/2015/01/30/i-am-imbolc-the-dream-of-awakening/

Love Letter to Tea

Tea

“(Tea) is not a drink, it is meditation; it is prayer. Listen to the kettle creating a melody, and in that listening… become more silent, more alert.” ~ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

The kettle splutters and rumbles to a halt. As water falls on to the teabag, ethereal tendrils of steam spiral upwards and the voyage, the ritual, the alchemy begins.

The liquid blushes honey and cherry amber, deepening then to golden brown.

I wait. Patience, time, slowness. Tea cannot be brewed in a hurry.

I pour in the milk. Pockets of creamy cloud billow outwards to create a miniature weather system, a tiny stormy sky in my china cup. A gentle stir clockwise and calm is restored.

I cradle the cup in both hands and bring it to my lips. I close my eyes and taste the hours of sunshine and the fat drops of rain which nurtured the tea garden; the dance of the elements and the seasons which brought us to this moment.

Wonderful tea: bright, comforting and refreshing. You remind me to be thankful. You freshen my perspective. You restore me to myself.

“Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world.” ~T’ien Yi-heng

I first inhaled the soft smell of you on my mother’s breath as I lay as a baby in her arms.

As a child, guests in our home were no sooner through the door than a cup of tea would be offered. And so I grew to learn that you, dear tea, mean hospitality. As Ben Okri has said,

“Hospitality begins in the soul… it is a way of being. We are all guests in life.”

In a culture where the rites of womanhood are seldom afforded due prominence, drinking you with the grown-ups was a passage into adulthood. In times of celebration, upheaval, loss and great loss: on went the kettle.

I drank you green in the far east, red in South Africa, thick with sugar and mint in north Africa and spiced and tooth-achingly sweet in India.

You warmed my hands and my heart on the chill, misty Himalayan mountainside and I walked on green hills where you grew, watching in fascination as women in brightly coloured clothes picked your leaves. I will always cherish the wisdom of strangers and of long-lost, treasured friends made around the chai shop. And I will never forget the welcome call of the chai-wallah after a ropey night in second class sleeper: “Chai chai chai!”.

You were always there to welcome me home.

When the nurse brought me my first cup of you after I gave birth, my new life as a mother began. It may have been average, hospital grade tea in a not-particularly-generous cup – but it was relief, joy, immense gratitude and exhaustion all at once.

Gentle summer rain on the parched earth of my lips.

In the haze of early motherhood and the sleepless nights which followed, you were both balm and tonic, ally and trusted friend.

Like most grown-up relationships, ours is a complicated back story. You tell the tale of a journey from the east, used as medicine, currency and ceremony; ancient magic brewed for the gentry and the priesthood. It’s a story of trade and colonialism, shadowed with the darkness of slavery – even of war.

And yet to me, today, you speak of peace. You beseech calm and reverence in a frenetic world. You offer delicious moments of solitude amidst the noise and haste. You gently urge us to pause, turn inward for reflection, come together and wonder at the preciousness of everyday things. You are made with, and of love.

You are a thread in the tapestry of my life. Plants are healers and you, my dear, are a queen among them. The world needs you now, perhaps more than ever. Because, in the words of a fellow tea drinker:

“Where there’s tea there’s hope.” ~ Arthur Wing Pinero

This post originally appeared on Be You Media Group at http://beyoumediagroup.com/2014/10/27/a-love-letter-to-tea-caroline-mellor/

Have a look at the rest of the site beyoumediagroup.com – some gorgeous pieces to inspire and enlighten.