Jean Dark in Earth Pathways Diary 2017

Earth Pathways 2017

Earth Pathways 2017

Snow Moon Fire
By sunset the snowfall had smoothed out the meadow and in the strange lucid twilight I quickly found the fire basket. Once it was free of snow, and the fire laid, the paper and kindling caught quickly and brightly, flickering sudden orange shadows leaping across the snowy drifts piled up around the hedges. I watch as slowly the logs catch, smouldering then glowing through. The small vigorous fire flickering burnished light across the frozen swathes of firm ice-crusted snow. The hard granular surface of the snow, the result of a single sudden February snowstorm followed by daytime thawing and clear night time freezing, looks like sand, light crisp cold fragile sand. As the evening progresses we feed the fire with dry logs, which begins to melt the snow beneath the fire basket in a blackened oval-shape. The full moon rises above the rooftops and the snowdrifts beyond the fire’s orange-light circle are cast in aquamarine moonlight reflections, catching crystalline ice sparkles in sharp blueness. The full moon night is twinkling clear cold, colder than it’s been all winter and brighter than it’s been all month, glowing in harmony with our Imbolc fire.

Illustration – “Winter Trees” © Caroline Salter 2013

 Jean Dark
Earth Pathways Diary
9th January 2017

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Nightfall

The sun has slipped below the horizon, the end of a gardening day . I straighten my back and brush soil from my hands. Distant mature ashes and limes are printed inky black against a last glow of daylight as it dips into ochre dusk. A damp coolness rises up from the earth, a blackbird calls out his nightly watch and I stack my gardening tools away for the night.

Shadows thicken as I put the kettle on to boil and I gaze deep into the growing twilight of the garden,  until the gloom seems to ebb and flow with crepusculous speckles that I can barely sense. Between the bat that flickers around my periphery vision, and the still silhouette of my cat on a garden wall.

In the settled pause of twilit teatime, I make my brew and wait, watching the garden unfurl in the gloaming, exhaling, filling it’s own space, and spreading out in the dusk.

Jean Dark
Earth Pathways Diary
4th April 2016

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Other pieces in Earth Pathways

In Silver Wheel Journal

Book reveiwing

Portfolio

Bella Basura

Rainy Hearthfire

My face is tingling in the dark, burning in the glow of the campfire. Everybody is gathering  beside the fire, with chairs or on blankets. We draw in close, into a warm unbroken circle. Faces catch shadows in the firelight, some gaze into the fire, joyful voices ring close in the air.
Updraughts whip the fire’s flames into glittering orange cinders that spiral out into the deep night air, our wishes and dreams and petitions waft up in sparkling clouds, fading off in the height of the near-dark sky.
The night stays in my memory, I remember the misty rain that sprinkled around us. My head and back, places untouched by the drying fire’s heat, are drenched in the light summer-rain. Around me sit friends, with drums and guitars, flutes and voice. People dance a circle dance, close to the fire, edging and following the glowing circle of firelight. Somebody close by is playing a Hurdy Gurdy, It’s steady rhythmic drones build a deep, earthy resonance around which percussion, pipes and chants weave, flow, wax and wane. We are a circle within a circle with no beginning and never-ending, the chant hangs, spinning gently in my memory.
The memory now is so faded that I don’t recall who I was with, who sat beside me, who opposite. Mainly, I remember is the roaring fire, music, dancing, chanting, the heat and the rain. That we were there together, celebrating  harvest in the ancient act of community. We are the old people, we are the new people, we are the same people, stronger than before.

By Jean Dark 2013
Printed in Earth Pathways Diary 28th September 2015

This Week in Earth Pathways…

Vision of a Sacred Garden

 Back in February 2011 at a Pagan conference in Chester I had the good fortune to take part in a guided pathworking lead by Glennie Kindred, the author of the pagan primer “The Earth’s Cycle of Celebration” and part of the Moonshares Collective who annually produce the Earth Pathway Diary – a pagan “network and resource for Earth lovers, environmentalists, artists, writers and activists”.

On that winter afternoon in the dimly-lit hall Glennie Kindred’s soft calming voice and her drumming drew us deep into ourselves, where she encouraged us to discover and visualise our deep wishes and hopes. Some way in, I found myself immersed in green light, flickering around me like sunlight through pale fresh leaves, I drifted amongst branches creaking in the breeze, I saw and ran in a meadow, danced by a fire, lay back in long grass, gazing at ripe red fruits growing overhead. When I surfaced, still gleaming from my reverie I was handed a bowl of green slips of paper cut into leaf-shapes. I chose a leaf that looked to me like an apple tree leaf and wrote that I had dreamed of a green and magical place, a Sacred Garden to steward.

At the time I lived in a ground floor flat in a 1960s council block. Although it was a comfortable and compact apartment, it was also very square, plain and functional, a blank white box. The strip of garden was a lawn visible from the bedroom window, municipalised by default into an unexciting communal greensward. A twisty shady garden hidden away amongst thickets, like I had envisioned, seemed like a world away…read more