Yesterday was an absolutely perfect Vermont winter day, with fresh sticky snow and lots of sunshine, perfect for building snow sculptures, roasting hotdogs over a fire, and gathering with friends safely. It was a true blessing as you cannot ask or truly even predict whether you will get such conditions, which means your gatherings either need to be spontaneous or willing to work with what you get. As my apprentices are many we must rely on our ability to be flexible and work with what we get as scheduling is important. That being said we do have a good relationship with the elements and land spirits.
This winter I have spent more time outside than I have since I was a kid. The 'Serial Community Builder' in me (my friend Emily actually gifted me with a silver spoon with the words 'Salicrow Serial Community Builder' on it) needs people, and more so I need to support people, so I made sure my land was ready for doing so. After building stone temples last summer the Wyrd Weavers (my apprentices) and I turned our work to building a second and third fire pit on my property. The one getting the most use is the one right off the driveway. We cut and carried wood out of the forest, utilizing the dead and downed trees we had to clear away making paths. We gathered kindling and bits to make our fire building easier, and we reclaimed a piece of old sheet metal roofing from when I recently had my roof redone to place over our fire when we were not using it, making it far easier to clean it out anytime we want to use it (I highly recommend this).
We gathered to build snow sculptures as part of the Winter Carnival I am hosting on my private Facebook group 'Wisdom Keepers'. I have been running the private online community since the beginning of the pandemic, starting it as a way to support those who are always supporting others; hence the name Wisdom Keepers. In every community, there is always someone who people go to before going to the doctor, lawyer, etc., that person is the 'wise-one' of their tribe or family. I knew I couldn't support everyone who would need it, and felt the best thing I could do was support those who were supporting others. When I began the group I thought it would be only for a short time, as a way of getting through the sacred seclusion we were forced into during lock-down, but over time it became obvious that this group was here to stay.
Here's a link to Wisdom Keepers if your interested in joining-
In the beginning, it was really me doing videos 7 days a week. Over time it has changed, I now only do videos 3 days a week, but we have a marketplace once a week, group manifestation and magical recipe sharing, and much more, including online parties and events. On February 27th the Wisdom Keepers will have our Winter Carnival gathering on Zoom where we will pick our Winter Fairy Queen, and have storytelling, poem, and a song competition. Meanwhile, over the last few weeks, we have been doing what folk does when getting ready for carnival, we have been building snow sculptures and winter altars. People in the group are encouraged to build them in their own backyard and submit pictures for judgment on Carnival night. This is why the Wyrd Weavers were gathered in my yard building snow sculptures.
Ok, so here we are finally at the point in my blog where I can talk about the magic that went into the crafting of our snow sculptures. First and foremost I would like to say it was a completely intuitive affair. We did not talk about what we were building or bringing as offerings until the night before, and then we only talked about bringing supplies, food coloring, and altar bits. At that point, one of the apprentices mentioned how it would be cool to make a snow serpent over Nagini the stone snake that resides in my yard. But that was it...that being said we had all the best ingredients to make the magic we intended.
The fire was started early by those working with the element of fire (my apprentices are divided into four elements with responsibility for tending to any needs involving that element in the work we do). Creating a sacred fire requires intention, offerings, and patience. As you are not only asking the fire to create warmth but to hold space for your sacred working. The apprentices of Fire did so by speaking to the fire as they patiently built it, starting small and building to its heat with every herb, twig, and a bit of kindling they offered until it was roaring with warmth and logs. Tending the fire was also part of their job, and soon they were conspiring about building a dragon!
I spent the most time watching the dragon being constructed as a recent injury to my Achilles tendon kept me from traipsing over snow banks, in fact, it kept me from doing much of anything except watching and talking. Right off my driveway where the snowplow had left a mound, the dragon was born! Close to the fire, it is also the one the kiddos chose to help out with. Once it started coming into being we started thinking about what we had brought for ingredients to decorate the beasty. Soon twigs and orange peels were being crafted into fire, and turmeric and chili powder were being sprinkled over its body for color and power. Both of the spices used to adorn the Dragon seemed to hold the power of the dragon within them. Perfect!
Turmeric-is is known as the golden spice of life, connected to the sun, fertility, abundance, and good health.
Chili Pepper- is known for its protective powers and is often seen as a way of warding off ill will.
Meanwhile, over the snowbank in a yard far away, the other Weavers were crafting a snow serpent on top of the stone serpent 'Nagini' we erected this summer. I know they must have been feeling the energy when doing so, as a lot of magic has been crafted ontop of that earth temple since its creation. Carving and digging, walking the spiral in snowshoes, they pulled the snake from its slumber.
Upon its back, they crafted spines of ice and coated them with the most delicious of Elderberry Syrup crafted with care and magic by one of our Wyrd guests. As well as incorporating old ritual offerings dug up when carving out the snake. Iced roses from my headdress at Willoughby lake.
Elderberry-is associated with death, birth, and creation. It is a sacred tree to fairies and known for its healing properties.
When I made my way up to the top of the snowbank and looked at their beautiful creation, and back over my shoulder to the dragon near the fire, I realized that we had crafted both a dragon and a serpent which are the representation of the Earth's Ley-lines. Dragons being a name used to identify the Earth's magnetic lines and Serpent's representing the Earth's water lines. Not only had our offerings been appropriate but we had intuitively birthed the Earth's energetic lines in the snow!
Back at the fire, there were hotdogs being roasted, herbs and resins being fed to the fire, laughter, and stories.
Along with the dragon and serpent, two of the apprentices spent their time building a snow altar (also near the fire), a place we can use throughout the winter at our fires to leave offerings, light candles, and ignite our prayers.
It was a good day, my heart is full, and I am looking to my next sit around the fire!