© Rasa Van Werder
There, at the foot of the tree, belonging to no man,
A silver apple falls.
There, amongst the branches, the mother sits.
Weaver of dreams against the weft of the wood,
Insight falls like gentle rain on a moon-bathed garden.
— Song to Hecate, by Alison Jones
Today is a day laden with ancient magic and destiny.
First, it is sacred to the Norns, in the Norse traditions. The Norns are the Norse Goddesses of Fate. Also in the Norse traditions, today is sacred to the Valkyries, Odin’s maidens of Valhalla. They are the fierce ones who choose the winners and losers in human battles, and carry the heroic dead to final glory.
This is also the time we prepare for Imbolc, sometimes called Candlemas or Brighid. In many places, the dates that roughly correspond to Feb. 1 through the 3rd are celebrated as the midpoint between the darkest night at Yule and the perfect balance of light and dark that comes at Ostara, the Spring Equinox.
The Sun’s path has returned to where it was at Samhain. Take some time to notice the quality of the light, for it is the same now as that shimmering magical glow of late October. But instead of the season of dark and silence before us, the season of light and growth lies ahead.
And so we prepare ourselves with rites of renewal, cleansing, and commitment. This is a traditional time for dedication, or beginning a new path of initiation and spiritual study. The commitment that students of the Craft make to “a year and a day” traditionally begins at this time.
In the Celtic traditions, the Dark Mother is the Callieach and She is honored on this day. At Imbolc, She will change from the creator/destroyer aspect of the Triple Goddess, to the benevolent Maiden.
And on this last day of January, as on all final days of each month, we honor Hecate, who, like the Callieach, is most often thought of as the fierce Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess. Hecate is the Goddess of Witches, and She who guards the crossroads. It is She, Queen of the Night, who teaches us the ancient Mysteries. We always honor her on the last day of each month, but especially this one, as it is the moment of Her mighty transformation and renewal.
What transformation are you undergoing? I invite you to use this time before Imbolc to consult with the Norns, listen to the messages of the Callieach, and ask Hecate to direct you with Her wisdom at this Crossroads. Consider what you wish to give your attention to, over the next year and a day. A new skill? A special healing or gift for our planet? Is a particular God or Goddess calling you to serve?
Listen with all your heart and may the blessed Dark Mother, by all Her thousands of names, reveal to you the path for your soul’s journey.