As above, so below; As within, so without. Energy rises and falls eternally, through, with, for and about us. Moving from birth to death to rebirth is a pattern that repeats itself endlessly. The passing of the seasons and the phases of the moon, the in and out of our breath, are observable manifestations of this pattern. We can look to these cycles, seeing Nature’s wisdom evident throughout, and approximate this vision in our own work. We can recreate, on a microcosmic scale, the beauty and effectiveness of the Universe.
The spirals of cycles are all around us: Spring, Dawn, Birth, Childhood, the New Moon; at the other side of the Wheel, there is Winter, Midnight, Old Age and Death, Dark Moon. Cycles overlap each other, and they intersect: A New Moon at Brigid, or a Dark Moon at Samhain, brings to us a most potent form of the energies represented.
We can model our own small cycles on the larger cycles that we see created by the Goddess. By following Her “tried and true” methodology, our success at our magickal working is enhanced, and we become more attuned to the natural flow of energy present in each cycle. With this knowledge, we may choose to swim upstream or down, but at least we will know which way the river is flowing!
One of the ways we take advantage of the power of this natural cycle is through our creation of rituals, spells, and magickal workings. There are some common elements to any given working: we begin by becoming aware of who we are and what we want. We rid ourselves of those things that would hinder us. We raise energy and push it into manifestation. We rest and reflect. Just like the Earth our Mother moving through the seasons of her day.
It’s important to note that the clock and the world may not line up the way we expect. Even so, the cycle plays out.
Spring is a time of preparation, of the world getting ready. We are still in the dark a great deal of the time, and the chaos of growth has not quite taken hold. Often this season brings initiation, the making or renewing of our vows to the Great Work, as the Earth begins to show promise of all the glorious growth that is to come. She makes a commitment to us that the cycle will continue, and we commit to Her that we will do our best to become Her creatures in our finest, fullest form. So, even as the Sun slowly begins building His strength, before we step into this promise that is inherent to our Nature, we must prepare ourselves, through centering and purification.
There is a moment in early Spring when the Earth begins to reawaken, to center and reorient itself after the Winter slumber. All creatures rub the sleep from their eyes, look around, and say, “Oh. Yes. Here I am, there you are, thanks be to God, and now let’s begin…” It is a sleepy time, getting reacquainted with the world. We can follow the lead of these creatures to begin our own work. Centering means coming to an understanding of who you are and what you are doing here. Who are you, right now? From where do you draw power? Who are your allies? And what might hinder your successful work?
So let’s look at those questions that come up as we seek our place in the moment. First, who are you, right now? The answer to this may take some time. You may be the same person you were this morning, or last full moon, but you may not! In my old working group, we used to answer this by saying, “I am Jenya, and I am ‘this group’ ”. In this way, we aligned ourselves as individuals, and as a part of the larger whole. You might say, “I am Jenya, and I am the World”, or “this Garden”, or even “The Goddess”. Your answer will be uniquely your own. Notice that by identifying yourself, you also identify your relationship with all things. You are not only telling yourself who you are, you are telling the whole Universe. You are letting yourself be known, in the moment.
Next, from where do you draw power? The trees know their source. They sink roots down into the willing Earth, drawing up the water that is so abundant in Spring. They raise their branches to the sky to take in air and sunlight. You can do this too, in meditation or in the outside world. Stand and feel yourself fed by the Earth and Sky, reaching up and down and gathering their unique vibrations to you. This is a very powerful place! Depending on your individual relationships with the elements, there are other ways of centering yourself in your power. Try breathing into the space just below your bellybutton, feeling your souls being fed by the air you breathe. In this way, you recognize that Air is power. Charge water with crystals or moonlight and drink it. Water is power. Sit in front of the fireplace or with your hands over a candle until you absorb all that heat into you. Fire is power. Of course, lying on the earth and feeling Her energy fill you is power. Beyond all these, though, is the power inherent in your nature as a child of the Gods. Their power is always available to you. Recognizing all your sources of power helps you to be confident in your workings.
And what might hinder your successful work? While it is true that there are those in the world who seek to do damage, do not immediately begin looking around you. Try a mirror instead! Often when we are stuck in our magickal practice, our own beliefs and issues are thwarting us. You may have had the experience of doing a spell for something you truly wanted, only to be unsuccessful at each attempt. Often this inability to manifest our will is an indication from the Universe that there is some block within us that prevents smooth functioning of our Magick. Identifying these stuck places is a most important part of centering yourself, for it leads directly to the next step, purification.
By using the word “purification” in this context, I do not mean to imply that we are less than perfect beings just as we are. I am not speaking of an angelic purity. Purity is a loving concept, meaning to be clear of the blocks that keep us from working successfully. Think of the purity of your love, or your passion. This is not your “keep your nose clean, stay out of trouble” purity! It has room for darkness and fierce action. Seeking this kind of purity means ridding ourselves of those things that are not so readily visible: long-standing resentments, or old angers that keep us from the clarity we could be enjoying. The Earth refreshes Herself in the spring rains, and we see the colors of the plants grow brighter. They are cleansed and become filled with life. This is a purification that feels magnificent, juicy and empowering.
A most important aspect of purification is thoroughness. If we are not “fearless and thorough” (as they say in recovery circles), we might as well be cleaning our room and throwing everything into the closet. The room may look clean, but Goddess forbid you should open that closet door. Though no one else may see what we’ve hidden, we always know that at some point we need to deal with it. The energy it takes to hold that door shut is not available to us for any other purpose. What a waste! Who knows what of value may be buried at the bottom of that pile? So this Spring, haul all that stuff into the light…sift through it for what is worth keeping, and release the rest to the Goddess. If you come to something that feels impossible to deal with, look deep within yourself and think. “Is it fear that prevents me from moving past this?” Take courage from your centering. You know who you are, where your power comes from, and who your allies are. Your centering has made you more capable of dealing with any issues that come up.
Spring is a precious time. When things are new, they are fragile. Sometimes it feels that a noise or a word will make all our seeds die. It is from this place of vulnerability that we begin to build a magickal practice based on being centered in our true selves, full of our true measure of Power, deeply and lovingly connected with the Earth, the Sky, Sun, Moon, Stars and all other helpful beings in this glorious Universe. While we speak of Spring as a perfect time to focus on of centering and purification, we also know that these tools are meant to be used throughout our lives. We seek to continue learning, to become stronger, freer, more in tune with the Divine each day. Blessed be our process!
All images courtesy of Shutterstock.com
This article appeared in a slightly different form in Community Seed Magazine Spring 2002.