January's Newsletter - To read the full newsletter visit Cerridwen's Cauldron via the link at the bottom of the post.
February holds the last of the long cold winter. It’s a time of waiting. Waiting, for the sun to finally arc high enough to warm our faces, high enough for the new leaves to unfurl and reach its nourishment, high enough to look down on the earth and for the soil to feel its power.
Soon lambs will fall from the ewes’ bellies, nests will be repaired, restructured and rebuilt and the foxes will shriek into the cold clear nights.
I’ve noticed that the snowdrop buds have been present since the middle of last month, not caring a jot for the cold snaps and storms of January. Their milk-white, teardrop, buds bob nonchalantly in the fierce gales, close enough to the ground to know that the earth will hold them safe. Their winter resistant bulbs push up first shoots through even the thickest of frosts, giving rise to the nickname of ‘snow piercer’ in France and some parts of Wales.
As a consequence, it feels to me as if the snowdrops bud for an inordinate length of time. On particularly sunny days their flower’s outer petals will reach out just that little bit further as they stretch out, shake off winter and tentatively test the strength of spring.
In folklore, as with many wildflowers, snowdrops are a dichotomy of symbolism. On the one hand they are strongly associated with the Catholic celebration of Candlemas Day and the Virgin Mary, so much so that young girls would wear them to demonstrate their unsullied state, but, on the other hand they are seen as death tokens and bad luck, if brought indoors.
As do many of the places, stories, flora and fauna that I love, they occupy a liminal space between the seasons, along with the hellebores, celandines and wood anemones.
February’s stories will include night sky stories such as Phaeton & Cygnus, a moth seeking the light and The Shepherd & The Moon. In addition to the cosmos we will travel into the woodlands for The Magpie’s Nest, Three Green Women Of The Hill, The Green Woman, (the ever popular) Queen of The Birds, Brigid & The Wolf and The Hedgehog & The Fox.
Unfortunately, the last few days of January have been spent languishing in the throes of a seasonal cold - is there a season without one? As a result, I managed to get the podcast recorded before I was struck down but Hearths & Halls will be a bit later than planned as no one is going to enjoy me coughing and spluttering through a vlog. Hopefully I’ll have it recorded and posted over the weekend.
This month, landing in inboxes for all, there will be the usual, book review and updates as well as Season 3, Episode 5 of ‘Stories From Lore’ - ‘Castle Dwellers’. I’ll also be beavering away on a new podcast to coincide with the launch of my new book.
Coming up this month for paid subscribers; ‘Hearths & Halls: Imbolc’, and ‘Five Winter Essentials For The Outdoor Storyteller’, in addition, podcast extras will include a themed playlist, a transcript of the folklore section from the podcast episode and ‘The Rise of the Gonk - Why We Still Love Our Household Spirits’. It’s going to be a busy month!
I hope your February thaws quickly and that the buds of your endeavours are able to spring forth from the earth.
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