Ice, ch. 5

The Wiccan Midwinter Festival of Lights, or the Imbolc Sabbat, was fast approaching. Imbolc falls between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, and is a time of anticipation. It is still winter, but the sun is now in the ascendant. At higher latitudes, the approach of springtime is especially evident. Every day the quality of sunlight on snow is a little more brilliant. By the end of February, even at -30F, the world is suffused with light and the promise of warmth.

The evening of February 2nd, I prepared myself for a solitary celebration of Imbolc at the Salcha cabin. I draped a white pillow case over an old wooden crate, and placed white and pale blue candles on my altar. I readied vanilla incense and my besom, (or broom) to ritually sweep the ashes from the hearth of the old year. I allocated a hefty portion of spiced wine to drink at the close of the ritual. Missy, ever helpful, took part in the arrangements.

I closed a circle around my preparations and proceeded to go through a harmless, somewhat silly, but ultimately satisfying ritual involving the ringing of bells and the lighting of a white candle in my small iron cauldron. 'Clear out the old and let the new enter. Life starts anew at this time of cleansing!' I called down the male and female divinities, separate yet one and the same, that dwell in all things in nature- stones, blades of grass, badgers in their burrows, and man on his farms and in his cities. I knew that many practitioners affirmed that the divinities answered their call and appeared to them not only metaphorically, but in all their physical radiance. I had never experienced these manifestations.

As I spoke the name of my favored female deity, Bast, I heard a distinct single knock at the door. The sound was preternaturally loud over the hiss of the propane heater and Missy's loud purr, but resonated in my mind more than in my ear. I was so startled that I stepped to the door, forgetting to open the protective circle before I crossed its boundary.

When I opened the door, I came face to face with the birch legged creature. The creature was neither as tall nor as forbidding as I had remembered- in fact, she was just my height. I realized with surprise that this Hairy Man was in fact a woman.

to be continued

© 2017 Moe Dey - 3/8/17

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