"O heart of Spring!
After the stormy days of Winter’s reign,
When the keen winds their last lament are sighing,
The Sun shall raise thee up to life again"
John Shaw Nielsen
A focal point of our celebrations and rituals is the wreath.
On a cold Saturday morning in late February or early March, with smoke rising from the workshop woodstove white against the dark grey sky, I go out to the grape arbor. All its leaves have been shed, and a thick criss-crossing of vines and canes and tendrils cling overhead. My goal is to begin the process of creating our Solstice Wreath, later to be decorated with wild flowers as part of our Summer Solstice celebration and then ultimately to be burned in a fire as part of our Winter Solstice celebration. The wreath forms the centerpiece, both literally and symbolically, of our yearly traditions.
As spring begins, there are small things you can do to connect to the season: make note of where the sun is rising and setting in the sky. Late-night folks can note where the moon is rising and setting. You can pause alongside a shrub or tree, even on a city sidewalk, and notice as the branches are beginning to swell with buds. Notice how it is no longer dark when you are coming home from work. Take a moment or two to pause out of doors in the evening light.
Since ancient times, spring has been a season of hard work while it is also a time of joy.
The process I have adopted to create the wreath has been described as a “wrestling match,” and, I have to say, it is a bit of work. However, the end product, so tightly wound, so spiral, thick and substantive, lends itself to an experience similar to the burning of the Yule log.