I’ve been reading Nancy Blair’s Goddess Days where she writes about one goddess each day. It’s a beautiful, inspirational book, and it gives me so much to think about. For instance, what Goddess traditions have survived from the olden days?
In anthropology we learn that habits die hard. The thing we do and the way in which we do them can survive for centuries, long after we have forgotten why we do them. We often see these traditions in women’s work – the foods we make, the patterns we knit or sew, the songs we sing.
Some scholars suggest that women share an oral history whereas men often share a written history. They believe this is one reason why women’s perspectives have been left out of our history books. For several decades now, scholars have been working to uncover these traditions and I have found that fascinating. I have been searching old photographs, recipe books and memories for clues to a continuation of a Goddess tradition.
One of the oldest traditions I can remember from my own life is the picking of flowers. I know that my ancestors also did this. Flowers and tree branches were brought into the house for an early promise of spring. I’ve got to tell you that flowers are particularly important in Norway, after a long (sometimes very long) winter, flowers are such potent symbols of change and warmer days.
All Norwegians that I know have flowers of some sort in their house, whether it is potted plants or cut flowers. Nowadays some have fake flowers too, but the symbolism is the same. Flowers are lovely, they smell nice and brighten up a room. But I wonder if the symbolism might go deeper. At least it does for me. To me, the first snowdrops peering through the snow are a visual reminder of the Goddess and the cycle of rebirth.
Have you ever seen snowdrops up close? They are delicate little things, reminders that strength isn’t only Herculean powers, it is also the elegant and quiet drive to blossom. First their leaves peer through the snow, then a frail stem and bud follows. When they are ready, they open out into beautiful dainty snowdrops. In Norwegian we call then snow bells, it’s just as fitting. As the outer petals open up they have a small, white trumpet inside tinged with green. They have a delicately soft, pure scent, a high note of white and green. I am wondering if anyone else also thinks the snowdrop is a manifestation of the Goddess.
By now the Goddess has manifested in many more ways – there are other flowers, the chirping of birds and the lengthening of the days. Animals are born, crops begin to grow. The returning of the sunlight, increasing warmth and melting of the ice and snow are all ways of seeing the Goddess in the world around us.
As I breathe in the soft scent of the last snowdrops in my grandma’s garden I worship the Goddess and think of all the women who have done this before me. You won’t find this ritual in any book or archive, but as a woman I know what it is, and I know what it means. I’m a part of them, part of this tradition. Soon the wheel of the year will turn to another energy, the sexual creativity, in its constant change and move towards summer, autumn, winter and yet another spring. Long live the Goddess.
Check out Nancy Blair’s Goddess Days.
Finding the community of Cycle Harmony has made a huge difference to me. I am delighted to be writing to you from the Red Tent and hope to share thoughts and experiences you recognise, or find useful to ponder upon. I look forward to working with you all in exploring what it is to be women, and hope to hear from you. ~ Vild