The storms have been raging outside for months now; rain and gale-force winds that don’t seem to lose their enthusiasm or lose their energy. Most of the South-West of the country is battered and broken; houses collapsed into the sea, railways washed away, coastlines cut into new outlines and natural rocky outcrops now nothing more than rubble. Somerset, the Isle of Avalon, is drowned again beneath the waters and once again Glastonbury resembles the Isle of Glass as it protrudes from the water level. Although this sounds romantic, it is a dire situation for those living and farming in the area; their homes are ruined and their farmland rendered useless; no crops and no pasture. Here in the West we are getting the heavy, ceaseless rain and mighty winds that are uprooting trees and wreaking havoc everywhere, the ground is so water-logged that venturing off the paths leads into a quagmire where Willo’-the-Wisps might lie in wait to lead the traveller into dangerous and inescapeable situations. And still there is no end in sight to it all.
Imbolc has not been a time of renewed hope and faith in the return to warmer days and the growing light; we are still cold from wet and damp and the light doesn’t appear to have increased because of the dark of the storms. The warmth is still only being generated at the hearth.
But within the Wytchenwood home there is a place of magic and wonder that does remind us of the coming spring and summer and which does renew faith and hope. Our Crafting room. Within this room we practice our Arte and rites and craft the magical charms, talismans, amulets and tools.
Just opening the door engulfs us in the smells and scents of the Greenwood from the collected woods being stored and dried. This mingles with the aromas of the herbs that are stored, dried, mixed and used. Entering the room transports us to the sun-dappled woods where the senses are awkened by the subtle perfumes of nature carried on a gentle breeze.
The bees-wax polish and candles evoke long, hazy summer days in the green fields harvesting herbs and flowers while the bees are constant companions and their gentle humming is the background music in the life of the verdelet.
The oils that are maturing and infusing, along with the baskets of dried berries, instantly take us to the hedgerow, heavy with fresh growth, blossoms and the promise of travels to the Otherworld for the Hedgeriders amongst us.
The oil lamps hanging from the hooks of their winter homes, the candle jars lining the shelves and the big cast iron cauldron remind us of the nights we take our rites outside and join the company of the bats, the owls and all nocturnal animals that allow us to partake of their world.
None of us would swap this magical and sacred place for a holiday abroad to warmer climes that last only briefly and when it is gone, it is gone. Here we are able to travel through the seasons at will at any time and as often as we like. That is magic!
We are profoundly grateful for our safety, our safe home and for the magic that dwells within but our thoughts are with those who are really suffering through all of this – we wish each and every one of you well and offer hope for a speedy recovery from the nightmare.