February

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Winter is never my favourite season mainly due to the fact that I don’t like the cold and damp, so I can always be relied upon to be a bit biased but this year Winter already seems so long. January seemed to last forever for some reason and I know from conversations with people that I am not alone in feeling this. This year I was more than happy to have actually turned to the new calendar month of February and the beginning of Spring.

A few years ago after spending much of my life telling anyone that would listen that February was my least favourite month, one that I was always glad to have over with the promise of better days ahead, I did some exploring. I discovered that this was in fact the month where we really begin to welcome back the light that we have been waiting for since Winter Solstice and there certainly does seem to be a stretch in the days now. I also learnt that the original Roman name for February was Februarius, named after the Latin Februum meaning Purification. I found out that every year on 15th February, the night of the full moon in the old Roman Lunar calendar, a Purification ceremony known as Februa was held. February is also where we find the period known in the pagan wheel of the year as Imbolc which may have got its name from the old Irish Imb-tholc meaning to wash or cleanse oneself in a ritual cleansing. This may also of course be where our idea of Spring Cleaning came from.

These discoveries gave me a way to approach the month so that has some purpose By  connecting with it in a different way I am beginning to appreciate it more fully.

I now try to use the month of February to cleanse, purify and prepare myself for the months ahead. By doing this I am know I preparing the ground for the seeds of whatever I want to bring in during the coming months. I have been doing this now for the last couple of years and am finding that each year it takes a different form. Sometimes I am drawn to a physical cleanse, other times it is an energetic one and some years a mixture of both.

The Romans would have made the whole month a time of cleansing and purification which seems a bit OTT and spring cleaning the whole house sounds like hard work but there are always a few nooks and crannies that I know get overlooked during the quick lick and polish it gets usually.  Already this month the house has been given a thorough hoover, working with the element of water floors have been washed and the doors and windows opened wide both in the house and the healing room to let the element of air do its work. In the shower this morning I was also mindful of taking time to cleanse my body, paying attention to how it was feeling and enjoying spending time with myself rather then rushing as I usually am.

Maybe this is partly what cleansing and purification does. By taking time, paying attention, seeing and sensing what is there we are more mindful of what we are doing. The more mindful we are, the more we can see what really needs to be done. If we spend time living with awareness as we cleanse and purify we can see beyond the surface, beyond the superficial. This is then something that may also be good to carry forward into the rest of our lives, what better way to sow the seeds for the months ahead than to use February to learn to live each moment with awareness.

 

 

 

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Cleansing and Purifcation

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I have blogged before about how I used to really dislike the month of February, how after the Winter Solstice, the seasonal celebrations, the period of recovery, of getting back to normal, it always felt a bit flat, a bit nothing in particular and that I was always relieved when it was over. I then discovered that historically February was the month of cleansing and purification and it all felt a bit better. Yet here I am on Imbolc itself, the first day of spring with the wind howling and the rain lashing, if ever it felt a time for closing down and hibernating, today, and if the forecast is right, the next couple of days are it, never mind a spring clean and a purification of home and of body. This is a good reminder for me of why I am usually delighted and not a small bit relieved for it to be March with its promise of better things to come. Mind I have until 15th February before the historical period of Purification began so there is still time…..she says hopefully.

This does seem a good time for me to share two of my past blogs which contain information about February, pagan rituals and ideas for cleansing and purification, again this should save you trawling back through the archives for them:

Cleansing 

Spring Cleaning 

This year, on the whole so far, the winter has been mild, the winds often slack and our windows have been wide open more than they have been closed so the need I usually have to open them wide and allow the element of air to move through and do its work is needed less than usual it seems. The garden is not covered in bits of windfall from the ash and hawthorn and so I have no need to go gathering kindling, at the moment anyway. So unless anything changes as the month unfolds, this February my cleansing and purification is going to focus on ME 🙂

Since the summer I have been working in a gym again, the first time for six of seven years. I am discovering muscles I hadn’t seen for a long time and a physical strength that I had thought was lost forever. My 2017 cleansing and purification rituals then are going to be used to get to know it again, how it is now, to deeply cleanse by spending time with it rather than the quick in and out of the shower it is used to. The purification will be through what I eat which will be as healthy and light as I can make it during the winter. So lots of fresh fish, vegetables, salads, meals made from scratch and of course the odd bar of chocolate and glass of wine 🙂

 

 

Spring Cleaning

imageI can always feel my heart lift slightly when February comes to an end because I know then that the sun has more strength, the days are growing steadily longer and the cold weather, even if it has one, or two final encores, will soon lose its grip.

I am really not a winter person, I don’t enjoy the cold but if I am allowing myself to fully align with the seasons, I should learn to how to really appreciate that we need this time, knowing that seeds are being sown and germination is taking place deep within my being as it is within the earth.

So here I am at the start of February, not at the end no matter how much I might wish it could be so, and I fully intend to embrace this time of the year even though I may find it goes against all I would wish for.

A few years ago I discovered that Februarius was the original Roman name for February and that it was named after the Latin Februum meaning Purification. I also learnt that every year on 15th February, the night of the full moon in the old Roman Lunar calendar, a Purification ceremony known as Februa was held. February is also where we find the period known in the pagan wheel of the year as Imbolc which may have got its name from the old Irish Imb-tholc meaning to wash or cleanse oneself in a ritual cleansing. This may also of course be where our idea of Spring Cleaning came from. These discoveries gave me a way to approach the month that for me anyway, gives it a real purpose and helps me to both connect with it and appreciate it more fully.

So for me, using the month of February as a time of cleansing and purification makes complete sense and by doing so I know I am really preparing myself for the months ahead. In this way I am preparing the ground for the seeds of whatever I want to bring in during the year ahead. I have been doing this for the last few years but each year it takes a different form. This year I am much more drawn to a physical cleanse than I am to an energetic one which is what I would have been doing during previous years.

Now I’m not about to do as the Romans did and make the whole month a time of cleansing and purification, nor am I about to spring clean my whole house but I can think of a few places in the house and my healing room where I know I am holding onto books, papers and notes that I can’t ever imagine needing again, so probably this is a good place to start. I can already imagine a bit of recycling, a lot of re homing and of course some ritual burning to be going on with as well as the cleansing of the space that follows. It’s always nice to get guidance on the best way to do something like this though so I journeyed to gain insight into the most appropriate way for me this particular February.

I am sitting by a fire with my two teacher guides, around us the earth is covered in snow but despite this tiny snowdrops are in bloom, clusters of them, heads up looking cheerful against the cold snow. The fire is burning brightly and warming the ground around us creating a circle of heat, we are all wrapped up in blankets and I am told that even though I am looking to cleanse and purify I have no need to strip off and roll in the snow, I also need to keep warm and there is nothing wrong with this which I am delighted to hear. As we sit there I become aware of the sound of a horse and carriage and shortly one draws up nearby, a box is offloaded and handed to me. As I open it I see it is full of things that belong to me, photographs, notebooks, papers, files and so on. As I begin to take things out I am told to sort it carefully that it is important not to throw everything away. I begin to sort it into piles. One is of photographs; of me, my family and of my ancestors, some of whom are unknown to me. The next is of my notebooks, my journals, things that are important for they represent my journey here. The final pile is everything else and it is this pile I know I can release and recycle. I carefully pack up the things I am keeping, tying them up in small bundles with coloured ribbons. These I place back in the box and on the box I write the word Memories. I am handed herbs, pine and lemon grass and I place these in the fire breathing in the delicious cleansing fragrance as they begin to burn. I am then told to place the remaining pile on the fire, all the things I wish to clear out, but to do it one piece at a time so that I spend time with what I am giving away. I am told that it is important to do this with clear intention so I am fully aware of what I am doing as I cleanse and purify my life at this time.

As with all journeys everything here is symbolic and it is up to me to make sense of it, to interpret, not at face value only but to make sure that any deeper meaning is brought to light. Although this journey was for me I undertook it whilst writing this blog and so I am sharing it here as it may resonate with some of you reading this. If so then please put yourself in the place of the one cleansing and purifying, preparing the ground and feel free to interpret in a way that makes sense to you.

Pagan Blog Project – Cleansing

Extracted from Shaman Corner Blog Post – Moon Books Blog

February was originally named after the Latin februum, which means Purification which is another name for cleansing. Purification or cleansing rituals called Februa were always held on February 15th which in the old lunar calendar was full moon.

The idea of February being a month of purification, a time where we can cleanse ourselves, purify our body, mind and spirit before moving into the new energy and new beginnings that come with Spring seems to fit.

I often use fire ceremony at other times of the year to cleanse and transform, to let go of the old and to make way for the new. I have many different ways of doing this, but as this is a new way of thinking about February for me, I decided to journey to ask my guides for a fire ritual that could be used at this time of year for the purpose of purification. I was given a lovely ritual but to my surprise it was one that used all four elements and not just fire.

As I stepped into my journey I noticed I was dressed in white and wearing a headdress of willow. Within a shamanic journey everything is symbolic so I have interpreted the white dress as representing the holding of the intention to be purified and the willow headdress as needing to be flexible with the ritual. In my journey I made use of a stream, river stones, fallen leaves and soil and as I know I wont always have these to hand, I have been flexible and have adapted the ritual so it may be used more easily.

February Purification Ritual

  • Holding the intention to be purified, shower or bathe until you feel that your physical body has been completely cleansed. Allow the water to away anything that you are able to release.
  • Continue to hold the intention to be purified
  • Take river stones, smooth pebbles from the beach or smooth stones from the garden and build a base for your fire.
  • On top of the stones build a small fire using wood you have gathered if possible.
  • Light the fire.
  • If indoors, a base could be made of small stones or crystals and a candle or night light set on top of them to represent fire.
  • Collect leaves that have fallen from the trees and which have been lying underneath them.
  • Drop handfuls of leaves onto the fire so that they create smoke.
  • Indoors bundles of dried herbs such as sage, sweetgrass, lavender or rosemary, which are good for cleansing could be used to create smoke. These could also be added to the fire outdoors too of course.
  • When there is enough smoke step into it so that it can cleanse the energy body.
  • As air moves the smoke follow its movements, turning, twisting, dancing until the smoke has permeated every part of the energy body.
  • If indoors then hands or a feather can be used to brush the smoke through the whole of the energy body.
  • When the energy body feels completely purified pick up a handful of earth and sprinkle it over the fire to douse the smoke. Make sure the fire is completely out.
  • If indoors earth or sand can be used in the same way.
  • Finish by thanking everything that has been used in the ritual for helping with the purification.

This ritual could be used at any time of the month but perhaps the full moon, which is always a good time for letting go, would add extra energy to the ritual