The primary function of myth serves to inform our narrative in order that we may better relate to that first and great cosmic principle Life, allowing for understanding through the transformations undertaken during the measure of change that is Time. Most recently, that narrative has had to accommodate some rare weather phenomenon and see how the myth adapts or conforms to such occurrences which represent that outlier in the scheme of things. Indeed, one might argue that the test of a myth’s robustness is its ability to accommodate the unexpected. Indeed, a sustainable myth must by its nature be fluid and serves only as a model upon which we hang the cosmological raiments, the stage and setting upon which the characters may play – the Threshing Floor.
With this in mind, how do we approach the flux in weather patterns with an eye upon our mythos? Whilst it is unusual for snow in Britian in March it is not unheard of and, for once, the meteorological reports did predict it. In relation to the weather patterns that have abutted this anomaly, we can easily identify that the overarching peculiarity is the continually mild and very humid climate that has gripped these isles over the last several years, and looks set to be the norm. This has caused some changes in the seasons themselves, with Daffodils (traditionally a March flowering bulb) now regularly seen before Christmas in parts of the South East, whilst many a native tree buds after autumn has ended and winter barely begun.
Now, in terms of our myth, how do we relate this latest snap to our personal narratives, especially when the wind that brought in the cold was not of the North, as could be expected, but the Southern wind which typically brings with it warmth.
One of the most identifiable feelings which extreme winter weather seems to imbue is a true sense of humanity and hearth. Whenever heavy snow and cold hits the UK, the general mood of the populous returns to a more homely nature, coveting fireside drinks and long walks and play in the white, crisp virgin landscape. Indeed, the community spirit tends to predominate, like a primal instinct emerging from hibernation in the otherwise hustling urban infused technological age. Another feature is the pace and focus upon family, often determined by ‘snow days’ whereby schools and businesses opt to close their doors and more people takethe opportunity for respite, spending time with their family and friends. More people spend valuable time with each other outside, in the natural wonder of the white world which besieges the senses, creating an atmosphere of conviviality and subtle pleasure, even where and when some of us experience the unfortunate circumstances that are inevitable with such weather. Even the twenty-four hour news coverage takes a break to express the human experience at its best when a stranded truck driver, in a sea of vehicles stuck on the motorway, opens his cargo of baked treats and provides his fellow travellers with some delight. What a stark contrast to the usual irritable mood that accompanies the neo-liberal Capitalist monster which we have fashioned as our jailer.In terms of the myth, I personally take this as an opportunity whereby the Virgin Maid was as yet unprepared sufficiently for her Candlemas emergence; perhaps we marked Her egress from her cold, dark womb prematurely, forcing the young Goddess upon the world. In response, the sharp rebuke of the Winter Mother caused us all to feel thepang of the deep winter that perhaps went unnoticed in its proper place, bringing balance to the order of things as the time for spring now appears to be set aright. Timings in Life do not heed the accuracy of our clock and calendar but must perform as fated, bringing what is needful when the moment is ripe. This redressing of the first rites of the year caused us all to shift down a gear, strengthen our sense of the hearth, connecting with our natural environment acutely aware of the seasonal effects, whilst remembering a humanity that is too often neglected as we huddle around the fire of those who have been able to make the journey to its warming glow.
As fleeting as this interlude has been, nevertheless we are all nourished by its immediacy which required these lands and its peoples to pause for a moment and remember those things that matter and, with the luck of the gods, carry them forth into this year. God knows we need it!