/sanctuary mar 2 '17
Hello, friends! We write to you as we move another eighth cycle turn around the sun. The late-winter holiday of Imbolc was named by ancient Gaelic peoples, and continues to be celebrated by peoples across the globe who seek to mark sacred the turning of the seasons. We now may recognize glimpses of the approaching spring. While the days have been growing longer since the Winter Solstice, by Imbolc we are truly beginning to feel the increased light, a sure sign that the fresh green growth of spring will return. This is also the time when many livestock are beginning to give birth -- and to offer their milk.
We recognize that in north-temperate climates, February 1st often feels less than hopeful about spring’s precious promise. Aye, it can be a dreaded time when we feel like the cold & dark will never end. Nevertheless, the forces of spring are indomitable -- and blessed are those who, by practice & intention, feel the light & warmth returning. What though may we now make of the reality of lived experiences in a volatile climate? For example, here in Philly, our weather has been swinging wildly from well-below freezing up to balmy 60 degree days.
We’re not the only beings feeling the changes -- some rose bushes here are still in full leaf, and there’s little green seedlings now shooting up from the soil. But what about the stamp of the cold? Those who feel drawn out by shallow & fleeting glimpses of spring, may yet feel again the frigid bite of a potentially long winter still. What do seasonal rituals mean when the seasons become harder to differentiate from one another -- and, for humans on Planet Earth, when predictability of coming seasons is perhaps at an all-time low? Of course our metaphor here extends beyond the weather. We hope that you’ll *share a deep breath us* and remain together with us on our shared journey ahead.
Despite the chaos, one of the greatest strengths of Life is its ability to adapt to a changing environment. In order to survive, Planet Earth has steadily demanded of Life this quality of adaptation. We wish to share the frame that seasonal rituals are adaptive technologies -- each one an opportunity to hone focus & clarify purpose within our lives. As artists of regeneration, we draw from the Imbolc traditions of our ancestors, adapting them to suit present & future needs, as we cultivate new intersectional practices that offer particular meaning & value to our hurting world.
Like many before us, we recognize that this is a time of new beginnings -- a nascent moment for both lambs and, hopefully, a renewed era of resistance & resilience. We may look with hope at the light of the spring, and see the millions of people marching in the streets for the better world our hearts know is possible. We see our loved ones marching under every banner -- Indigenous Rights, Womyn’s Rights, Immigrant Rights, Reproductive Rights, Black Lives Matter, Environmental Justice, and more. Also like spring itself, these intersecting movements are by no means new, but rise with renewed vigor when their time to do so returns. Like spring rises out of winter, our rebellion rises in response to the cold face of fascist leadership in these Divided States of America.
Now is the time to ask,
How may we celebrate the miracle of Life?
How may we honor motherhood and care for future generations?
How may we serve? How may we fight? How best to fight?
How may we co-create the better world our hearts know is possible?
We know that these are not easy questions to answer (or even to ask). In the face of unceasing psychological & physical warfare, it can be hard to even get out of bed, let alone take to the streets. But we must urge each and every one of us to rise up & act, any way possible. For us, our engagement in the service of Life on Earth feels essential both to our personal well-being, and for the survival of the most vulnerable among us. Do rest, and do not sit in silence while Muslims are stripped of their rights. Take time for self-care, and do not turn away while Indigenous peoples fight for their lives, or as a wall is built. Honor your own needs, and know that to turn away from our responsibilities to one another is to be complicit in the great acts of violence perpetrated by this new administration (and the many administrations that came before).
Do you want to see all beings thrive in a more just world? There is always something you can do.
Practices for an Imbolc Rebellion
1. Take care of yourself. Drink of the milk that flows in this season. Learn the practices that bring you nourishment -- and commit to them. Meditate. Move your body. Sleep. Eat well. Practice yoga. Take breaks from media. Laugh -- a lot. Be with loved ones. Do what you need to do. Support local grass-fed dairies, and drink whole raw milk.
2. Stay informed. Consider Democracy Now for good reporting, or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for a sometimes hilarious filter on the news.
3. Know when to say when. Limit exposure, where possible, to that which serves your life force least. Practice fierce awareness about when & how to do so.
4. Commit to meaningful service work. Check out this crowd-sourced list of Philly groups organizing campaigns for racial and economic justice. You can also volunteer or apprentice with the West Philly Cultural Engine (the mother organization out of which K is for Kitchen has grown).
5. Vote with your wallet. Boycott companies that support Donald, and instead share your surplus money with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and racial and economic justice groups in Philly or your locality. Divest from corporate banks -- invest in your local credit unions!
6. Strengthen community bonds. Don’t struggle alone. Connect with loved ones & find opportunities to celebrate. Overcome the inertia of being still, and go to that cool event or group you’ve been meaning to check out. Build on that momentum. And, you may always share kitchen time with us (get in touch to learn more)!
Recipe: Apple Honey Milk
Something rich & sweet to call in the spring.
3 apples, cored
1 quart (raw, whole, local, & pasture-raised) milk (if possible)
3 Tablespoons honey
Place all ingredients together in a blender. Whir until smooth & creamy. Enjoy with loved ones.
Written by K is for Kitchen (A project by PHLA collaborators Acorn and Frances Rose)