Reblog: Autumn Equinox and the Serpent Energies of Albion

This is a reblog from my channel, DruidHeart at SageWoman Magazine’s section on the Witches and Pagans website.

__________________________

The autumn equinox is upon us today, and we stand on the knife’s edge, leaping, stumbling, tumbling or diving down into the long nights. I love this time of year, as many of you know. The scents of leaves decaying in piles on the forest floor, the brilliant colours and the crisp air fills my heart with such joy. It is a wild cacophony to the senses, one last “hurrah!” before the silence of winter descends.

 
I love the retreat back into the earth, feeling my energy sinking back into my roots. The crazy time of summer and festivals, camps, parties and revelry has passed, and now it is time of reflection. We turn ourselves inwards, away from the social gatherings and noise, and focus on our own inner selves and what we have achieved. We take stock, we sum up, we begin the journey down into the darkness where one by one our senses are lost, eventually dreaming into the winter and letting go during the peaceful rest of deep sleep.

 
During the spring months, when the earth was warming under the eye of the sun, I felt Brighde’s energy rising, a large white dragon/serpent beneath the land that connected all of Albion. Dancing in the energies of midsummer, she then slowly began her retreat back into herself, and now at the equinox I feel her pulling back into the earth, the wild ride of her energy sinking back into the soil, the serpent retreating back into the cool nourishing earth, preparing for slumber. I too feel myself riding these serpent energies, ready to dream big this winter with wonderful new plans awaiting me.

 
Brighde is ancient. She is, for me, the British Isles. She is the bones of this land. She is not a mother goddess. She does not follow cycles of maiden, mother, queen and crone. She always was and always will be. She is as young as the snowdrop and as old as the hills. She has no relation at all to the Bridget of the mixed, revealed Christian and Pagan mythos. She is not all loving, she is not a warrior queen, she is not human in any way. She is the land, in a vast and exceedingly simple but elegant way…

_______________________

To read the the full article, please click HERE.

A Rainy Day and 8 Coloured Pencils…

Brighde has called to me since my visit to the White Spring in Glastonbury (and twice before) and I have answered that call.  I am currently exploring her Fire element.  Here’s what the inspiration of Brighde provided this afternoon…

Fire of Brighde ©Joanna van der Hoeven 2014

Fire of Brighde ©Joanna van der Hoeven 2014

Fire of Brighde ©Joanna van der Hoeven 2014

Fire of Brighde, ©Joanna van der Hoeven 2014

Fire of Brighde ©Joanna van der Hoeven 2014

Fire of Brighde, ©Joanna van der Hoeven 2014

The White Serpent Rising and the Goddess of Spring

The earth is stirring, can you feel it? Walking out in the sunshine today, I felt that same feeling that I had when I was a child back in Canada, that first day when the roads are clear, though still thick with sand, and you can take your bicycle out after the long winter months.  That smell of warming ground, of sunlight and fresh breezes, that scent of spring lingering, filtering through every fibre of your soul.  The scent of life.

Today has been warm, the sun’s strength heating the shoulders and exposed skin, pale after a long winter.  The birds are singing with renewed vigour – the great tits and blue tits, the pigeons and blackbirds, jackdaws and crows.  The trees, still snoozing lightly, have the first buds appearing, and the daffodils are mingling with the snowdrops and the hellebore that the deer have decided to stop eating.

There is anticipation all around.  What will this year bring? What new growth will there be, both in the physical and in the spiritual realms?  It’s almost like a humming, deep within the earth, that is slowly rising to the surface. Indeed, the white serpent is rising.

At Imbolc, during ritual I had a vision.  Sitting on my picnic blanket in the rural idyll of my backyard, feeling the ground beneath my feet responding to the first warm sunny day; I had a flash of vision tear through my soul – the white serpent.  Deep within the ground of these isles, there lies a white serpent of the land.  The white serpent IS the land.  It connects all of this land, and it is the heart and soul personified.  I was connected to everything and everyone, and it was inspiring.

This land, England, and indeed the whole of the UK and Ireland, has been inhabited by humans for an indeterminably long time.  I can feel it when I place my hands on the soil here – it is different to Canada, where although humans have lived there for just as long, there are vast expanses of land where no human foot has ever trod.  With space limited in these emerald isles, the songs of humanity run deep through it, alongside that of everything else that makes these little islands so wonderful.

With the deeds to my house, I have old, handwritten ones that go back hundreds and hundreds of years, to when the land was first purchased, and became an orchard, and then “hovels” existed upon it in the Victorian era, growing into cottages and finally the houses that are seen today.  There is a lot of human history here, alongside the natural history that is incredibly fascinating.  Sitting outside today, I could feel the old apple trees, long since cut down, stirring in the first soft light of spring.  Voices of those who lived here, mingling on the breeze with the birdsong and the sound of airplanes, high overhead, bound for the west.

And through it all the white serpent was stirring, awakening from the slumber and rising to the surface. Incredibly beautiful, this white dragon-like being enveloped it all, and still does, closer to the surface now – I’m quite certain that at either Beltane or Midsummer it will be revealed in all its glory.

I have done some research on this white serpent – it is not the white wyrm of the Saxon heritage. It is entirely British, entirely native to these isles.  I have come across a few references of a white serpent and the goddess Brigit, whom I’ve always been intrigued by but never had a “calling” to explore.  I’m thinking that is all going to change in the very near future.

Riding the excitement of the rising tides, like riding down the street that first time on my bicycle in the Spring – that is what life is all about.  New discoveries, and every spring we are reminded to look for these things in our lives, and to take inspiration from it all.

Blessed spring, everyone! May the Goddess of Spring bring you joy.