Sunday, February 2, 2020

Roxi's Imbolc

Snopdrop flower found through

Below is an Imbolc Celebration as my main character Roxi from "Follow Me: Tattered Veils" may celebrate the day.  It's a fun little extra and I hope it helps introduce readers to Roxi before the release of my novel.  Feel free to look at a full summary of "Follow Me: Tattered Veils" here.  And feel free to pick up a copy of my book at Amazon.

Roxi wakes up an hour before dawn to prepare her shrines.  The coffee table holds her ceremonial tools including a pomegranate and a stone to honor Persephone.  Roxi lights a small fresh votive and picks up the pomegranate.  Deep breathe in and Roxi closes her eyes and feels the fruit’s thick skin.  It’s firm, free of the mushy bruises that mark so many others.  Red-pink skin feels smooth and subtle under Roxi’s fingers, there’s something rich and compelling with its color and texture.  Roxi imagines goddess Persephone cradling a fruit just like this.  Deep within Hades, what did this deep color mean to her?  Deep red like blood and a living fruit like those her mother Demeter tended—did it remind Persphone of the life on the surface Hades stole her from?  Did she think the servant boy offering it to her, handed her comfort?  The Pomegranate is so large, Roxi needs both hands to hold it and she wonders if Persphone’s perspective mirrored her own.      

Roxi cuts into its skin to reveal the white waxy flesh hiding below the surface.  Blood and bone have such strong grave connotations Roxi wonders how Persephone missed them.  

But then, blood and bone also connect us to life, to this material world.  Perhaps Persephone has spent so much time with immaterial spirits she was relieved to know something of the physical world again.

 It takes care to peel away the skin, protecting the fragile seeds like foam egg crates do precious cargo, but Roxi plucks the seeds out whole and undamaged.  She admires the transparent ruby shine each seed holds.  Its own little world.  Which ones would grow and which would rot?  Infinite possibilities at this phase.  

The red pill.  No going back from here.

Half of the seeds go onto a metal leaf offering plate with a handful of almonds.  Roxi keeps the other half in a wooden bowl in front of her.  

“For you, my  kindred, let’s travel together.  We knew darkness and limbo.  Sat in the spirit realm, in a state beyond time and touch.  But now it’s time to ascend: to know rebirth.  Even as we eat the fruit of death, let’s celebrate it richness.  It has a bright surprising tang on our tongue.  Instead of looking at shadows, let’s see the natural cycle as it is, and death is a necessary step to all life. The wheel with turn and with it, we will have to face our end.  But today is for new beginnings.  I offer almonds to celebrate our freedom, maybe enjoy the warm sun on our faces and cooling rain that will run through our hair,” Roxi prays.  

She eats her meal cross legged on the floor.  The room is dark, lit only by a single votive candle.  Roxi feels the energy build alone with the small light.  She imagines herself next to Persephone in Hades, shrouded in darkness and fog, the votive mimics the sun slipping over the horizon.  It guides her through a jagged path to the surface.  Roxi like Persephone, waits for the sun to rise and lead her back to the mortal realm.

Outside, Roxi hears the loud songs of returning songbirds.  For the moment she tries to keep her mind focused on the dark and the pomegranate seeds.  These are her last moments living in quiet reflection.  In only minutes now, she will change.  Her life restarts and instead of tarot readings and long nights reflecting on the past year, Roxi will turn her face to the sun, taking action, and filling her life with all her favorite activities.  The very prospect thrills Roxi and sends rushing bolts of energy through her.  She might need to time to process her life and plan, but she is not by nature one for self reflection.  If she had her way, Roxi would leap full force from project to project and never look back at the destruction and chaos she leaves strewn behind her.

Roxi rises and head to her fridge.  She’s kept a wreathe of fresh narcissus and lilies for the occasion.  Roxi adorns Persephone’s statue with the wreathe.  

“Welcome back to the light and the world of the living.  Let these flowers, at their height of vitality inspire you to new heights of exploration and joy,” Roxi says.  

She lights a lavender pillar candle near the statue.  She dips her fingers in a bowl of fresh olive oil.  Roxi anoints the statue’s forehead and lips.  She feels energy swirl and tingle around her.  Roxi visualizes the power filling her and helping her “grow” roots down to the earth below.  The energy settles around her statue of Persephone and Roxi knows the goddess accepts her offering and will remain close to her for another spring.  She smiles despite how serious the moment should be.  Knowing she’s connected with the young goddess and renewed their standing contract, brings too much pleasure for her hold it all in, even if there’s also a weight of obligation that comes from working with any deity.  Enshrined in energy and the “proof” of her own faith, Roxi feels the world re-awaken around her.  She opens her arms in welcome as she envisions crocuses budding and robins foraging on her lawn.

“Demeter greets you in joy and love.  With you comes her kindness.  She softens and warms the soil so your bare feet make walk the earth in comfort.  Return to the land and grow in light and love,”   Roxi prays.  

This is the last day this statue will reside in her center table.  Tomorrow Roxi will break down the little shrine and the Persephone statue will return to its top corner in her hutch in the study.  Another deity will take over Roxi’s central worship.  She’s still uncertain what will call her next. 

Roxi walks back toward her kitchen, to the sun room, and out her sliding door to the outside.  It’s too cold for Roxi to be barefoot in short sleeves, yoga pants, and a pastel wrap, but her traditions require it.  She shivers as her feet numb from the chill of the cement.  One deep breathe in and another out.  Roxi refuses to shiver, if she starts, she’ll never stop.  Her hands have to be steady for the rest of her ritual work. 

Candles cover the outdoor seating area.  Roxi’s pots with narcissus and crocuses are out and exposed to the chill air. She’s been growing in the study, so no matter the weather, they’d be ready for her Imbolc ritual.  Budding but not in bloom, Roxi wants them to linger in early growth until the Spring Equinox.  Some of them will flower early but Roxi’s picked a bulb plant that blooms 2-5 weeks after it buds, so she imagines some of them will flower just in time to greet spring.  It brings her a bubble of pride to see all her planning come together for her holidays.  Life on earth may have happened by a divine cosmic accident, but that’s all the more reason to celebrate the natural ebb and flow.  Isn’t it miraculous there’s any life to celebrate, let alone such a vibrant one?  And humans, so removed from natural cycles, need to plan more than most creatures if they want to return to that nature.  Roxi’s made the effort.

On her third breathe in, Roxi turns to the east.  Her fence is too tall for her see the sunrise, so she has to imagine the rising sun.  She pictures a flat endless horizon where the flaming sun peaks over the dead brown grass.  She pictures in her mind’s eye how this is the beginning.  The earth is still in slumber with all the green in deep hibernation.  The days are too short and the weather is still harsh, but the sun is rising and dawn is coming earlier and earlier.  The golden warmth is chasing the chill of winter.  The grass may feel frail and contain an almost uniform dead brown coloration but deep searching will show strands of green fighting through to the light.  The gray clouds shouldn’t be discounted as a depressing veil, instead Roxi must consider the hydrating rain that falls from those heavy clouds.  Soon enough the rain will end and Roxi can dance below azure skies.  Alabama is a lush wild green with vines that weave and snake through each other competing for attention, space, and resources.  Roxi feels the power of this time marching to the forefront and pulling her along in its wake. This sunrise is like the very beginning of a tide coming in.  

Roxi walks around her patio lighting every candle and outdoor torch.  It floods the area with light, mimicking the light the sun will soon raise across the land.  Roxi takes blessed water and sprinkles it over each narcissus and crocus.  She moves one arm to form a pentacle blessing over each pot.   

While this is a greeting of the sun and Catha, a sun goddess would be a natural choice for this celebration, Roxi shies from her.  She is pledged to Artemis, a Goddess of the moon and hunting, leaves her wary of celebrating the daylight too strongly.  Instead, Roxi calls on Menfra, a goddess of dawn, dusk, craft, and industry to celebrate the coming dawn and her a period of her life meant to focus on refining her skills and talents.  

“Menfra, welcome this world and bring your warmth earlier each morning while you bear the darkness later in the evening.  Bless us with plentiful materials to inspire great personal and natural growth.  You lead us to light and to our passions.  May you illuminate a rich and meaningful path for me in this new year,” Roxi prays.   

She picks a hammer decorated in lavender and cream colored ribbons along with a large iron ceremonial nail arranged on a nearby table for her.  Roxi walks through her garden and to her fence.  In the back most eastern corner is a fence post with a new nail added in each year.  

“With this act, may I nail in a year full of vibrant new challenges, joy and growth.  May my fortune be filled with deep experiences and rich in meaning.  Let my path be clear and continue to take me where my gods wish me to go,” Roxi beseeches.  She places the nail on the post and hammers it in.  She pictures a silver sparkling waif-like hand or Nortia, the Goddess of fortune, holding the nail with her.  Instead of holding the hammer in her other hand, Nortia holds a shimmering multicolored long cloth.  Below Nortia’s hold it flows on as far Roxi’s eye can see and it squirms and struggles.  Its colors, shape, and size shift in a way that makes Roxi dizzy.  Where Nortia holds this fabric, the bright colors remain steady, and it is as stationary as a rock.  She shows no effort in holding down fate, even though the riotous colors splayed beyond her reach fluctuate in such extremes Roxi can barely make out any element from one moment to moment.  With Nortia’s help, Roxi knows her nail will hammer in her own fate for this year.  

When Roxi is done with her work, she sends a silent thanks to Nortia.  The natural light is strong now so Roxi bids a silent farewell to Menfra.    Dawn is past, and it’s time to move on.  

Roxi moves to her kitchen and a small shrine on her high top against the wall.  Against the wall is a traditional picture of Columbia in her American flag gown and a star studded Phrygian cap.  Below is a small flag on a stand, an incense holder and several local rocks and seed pods.  Roxi lights a new large pillar candle below the painting.  She takes a fresh incense stick scented in fresh orange blossom, almonds, and ginger.  It invites the senses into the coming spring while grounding the smell with earthy textures meant to remind Roxi that spring is coming but that she is still transitioning in from the cold still winter.  

She walks through every boundary and area of the house with the lit incense.  She breathes the scent as it blesses every small nook and space in her home.  Roxi can feel her home’s blessing and protections revive under its touch.  In Spring Equinox Roxi will strengthen and reset her home’s protections and welcome, but feeling its soft glow still strong and ready makes her feel safe in her home and her life.

The rest of Roxi’s day is dedicated to blessing areas of her garden and pruning the beds.  She’ll pull weeds and cut back what’s over grown, mixing action with prayer.  It’s not enough to believe, right action above right thought. 

Roxi will be dirty and hungry come mid-afternoon.  She’ll shower, using an orange ginger body scrub.  Finally warm again after long hours in the cold February air.  She’ll hum “The Mummer’s dance” as she steeps tea and begins baking bread. The candles will have burnt out, but Roxi’s purpose will burn bright within her.  As promised, Roxi’s house will be full of industry as she transitions from a period of reflection to action.  

The bread, first of this year, will go to those less fortunate.  Roxi donates it to a local shelter, but she’ll save a few loaves for herself and another for her gods.  Next week she will head to Big Spring Park where she can honor her local land god in their chosen place.

It may make her a bad follower of Artemis, but this is Roxi’s favorite time of year.  She loves stepping out of long dark nights into a fresh dawn.  There’s so much promise in these early days, and the nights are long enough to still surround her future in dark mystery that keeps Roxi curious and pushing for more.  

The potential is always more interesting than the reality, but it’s nice to live in hope.


Still undecided on whether to purchase my book?  Check out what it shares with these popular shows, movies and books:  Lost Girl, American Gods, and The O.A..

Need something more personal?  Check out some childhood stories and how I inter grated those element of my life into my novel: Remember the Magic of Santa?, Closet Monsters: Gone too Far?, and Garden Gnomes and other Evils.

Looking for more posts about the writing and publishing process?  Check out more posts on my novel publication process: Going Through Copy Edits, 1st Daft vs 2nd Draft, Goal Planning: Getting Through the First Draft, My Character Looks Nothing Like My MC, Cover Art: Turth in Advertising, and Post Book Launch: Reflections.  

MY BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON!!!  Please go look at "Follow Me: Tattered Veils" and see if it might be a story that interests you.

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  1. That's an interesting insight into Roxi, and a neat way to promote your novel. I like the idea.