The Wheel is turning constantly, but for the most part, we humans only notice the big moments. Tonight, I celebrated (for lack of any other term) the last New Moon before the winter Solstice. Going out into the Circle was not negotiable, but my apparel was! According to the local weather report, it was 24 degrees out, but with wind and lack of humidity, it felt more as if it were 14 degrees out. So never mind the ritual robe, even with the ritual long underwear. Tonight, it was polar fleece and down filled coat and boots. Even taking into consideration my casual attire, there are advantages to outdoor ritual on a sub-freezing dark winter night. No neighbors came to stand in doorways or on porches to see what I was up to, or to add light to my starry darkness.
It was intended to be a short ritual. I may take my oaths seriously, but I also take my health into consideration.
I said what needed to be said, did that which needed to be done. The experience and the result was remarkable, a reward (possibly) for not finding an excuse, for not sloughing off. We speak of seeds, sleeping in the earth at this time of year, awaiting the return of the sun and the warmth to sprout and grow. Sometimes we mean actual seeds, sometimes we are speaking metaphorically. Standing in the (wind chill factored in) 14 degrees, listening to and feeling the breeze and watching (and listening to) the stars, I was very cold and very awake-sleep did not seem possible. So it was shown to me.
As I stood there, the ground and the trees grew up and curved over me, until I was within a hollow ball of earth and soil and bits of tree. I was still standing upright, the way one carefully plants a flower bulb, so the correct part faces up, toward the surface of the earth and the sun. But I was within the soil. It was dark, no sky, no stars. And silent, the breeze could not be heard and the earth creatures were all sleeping. I felt supported, even as I was standing by the earth around me, cool but not cold, it must have been below the frost line. And because it was silent and dark and not so cold, I said "Yes, I see now, how this works." Once I said that, the closed space above me peeled open, like a flower bud beginning to bloom. The sky and the stars reappeared; the land flattened out and the trees reoriented themselves. I wasn't to experience the sleep and the awakening and the push and the growth of the seed, I was just being shown that small part that I had questioned.
There was a bit more, which for now I shall keep to myself. But I was very glad for a hot shower and a cup of tea when I came inside.
(about the post title-Redwoods and closed cone conifers need to be exposed to fire before they will germinate)