Dangerous Compassions

imbolc ritual

imbolc ritual

Hello, how are you doing?  You know, it was really time to bury the hair.  We did an imbolc ritual in the yard.

Imbolc is my favorite holiday.  I love the stirring of the baby lamb in the sheep parent.  I used to think spring was ridiculous–so dramatic and without nuance.  Flower riot!  Everyone loves spring.  It felt too out-energy, to me.  That’s the time of year I go most crazy.  I much preferred the inward turning of fall and the dark of winter.  That is my true self.

Now I love spring, and I need to get ready for it.  Imbolc ritual is a great way to prepare for spring.  I am not pregnant with baby lambs or otherwise.

But life stirs in me in another way.  The generative feelings are there, and change.  I need change badly.

imbolc ritual

I used to keep a binder of all my rituals, the notes for them.  Now I do ritual so often, it’s just a part of life.  And that binder is not with us–it’s with almost everything we own, in the Bay Area in storage.

The imbolc ritual was planned to be simple, and it turned out simple, with one complexifying surprise, canine in nature.

The materials included a paper from when Ming and I were moving  It was a packing list of what to remember on the final day.  It was painful to carry this paper around because things did not go as planned.  I felt shame and intense frustration about how we didn’t follow through how I’d wanted to.

So this paper symbolized for me a lot of intention and energy that didn’t get realized.  The paper hurt me.  So it made sense–this paper was to let go of, and try to move some of the energy by burning it in ritual.

It’s not a ritual until you burn something, as they say.  So I was happy to.


Other materials were our hair, which we had carried over several state lines as we traveled underhoused.  My dear aunt cut our hair, which was momentous because my mom had cut our hair.  It was my first haircut since my mom’s death, and my first haircut from someone other than my mom since I was a little child.

Burying the hair is something I’d been looking forward to as deciding that yes, we live here.  It was a way to tell ourselves and the world that this is our home and we intend to stay.

Another material was a few petals from some flowers that a housemate gave the house.  The flowers lifted my mood and helped me feel safe in a significant way, at a hard time of crossroads.

Another material was some rosemary which is an herb sacred to me for protection.  I took the rosemary from a wreath I made that was a gift to the house at Christmastime.  And I took rosemary from another place also which would take a long time to explain so will remain a mystery.

Another material was a small piece of an art that I had destroyed two weeks previous, in an effort to move some energy.  Again, I will explain no more of that.  But that energy needs to return to the earth for sure.


It was simple to enlarge the hole we found.  I had water too, a glass of water from this house.  I ripped the paper from the move into strips and burned it in the hole with a long-nosed lighter.  It burned much faster than I expected, and I was grateful.

imbolc ritual

Then I put some water in the hole, and the flower petals.  I added the hair, and more water.  I added the rosemary.  Then the tiny bit of destroyed art.  Also I flicked house water on me and on Ming.

“I wish Bunny was here,” I said.  Felt nice to invoke him–I imagined him, snug in bed.

Oh yeah–half the snakeskin that was central to the ritual we did for my birthday last year.  So much I need to shed.  Snakes are in my dreams.  I ripped the snakeskin and added it to the hole.

I sang a little at the beginning.  The whole rest of the time I was praying aloud about home, praying gratitude, thanking Mother God for a place to rest and be ourselves.  It was good to proclaim to each other and the world: we are done searching for home now.  We are really landed.

It’s scary and vulnerable, but it’s good.  Here we are, intending to be here for some years.

complexifying surprise

We had started to put dirt and leaves in the hole, when the puppy arrived.  A neighbor was walking their dog.  The dog is named Doug and is four months old.

“Oh!  I’ve seen that pup before!” I told the dog walker.

Doug was sniffing, wiggling with joy, and curiously darting around on his leash.

“Yeah!  My partner told me he’d met some neighbors.  Doug wants to say hello to you!” the dog walker said.

“He’s made of energy!” I said.  I don’t know what kind of dog Doug is but brown with black maybe, and very small.  Maybe a chihuahua?

“It’s so nice that you’re gardening!’ the neighbor said.

Doug investigated the ritual scene, sniffing, wiggling, and being curious about me and Ming.  Doug bit the trowel and looked at us.  By then Ming and I had mostly buried everything, but it was still strange to have the doggie energy added to the work we had just done.

life wins

Yes, life is possible.  Baby animals happen.  Energy is blessing and animating everything.  Life wins.

Once Ming and I felt good that the hole was mostly well filled up, I stood.  Ming theorized that Doug’s name is really Dug.

“Dig dug,” I said.

We hugged and shared a moment of eye contact.  Ming returned the trowel to its tool manger.  We went back inside our house.


This imbolc ritual is one ritual of many.  Our first full day here, we planted cactus seeds from Bartlett in two locations.  Who knows if they will grow.

Life is ritual, in a way.  I have peed here hundreds of times by now.  I’ve dreamed countless dreams in this bed in this bedroom.

Are the dreams collecting on the ceiling, mingled with Ming’s?  Home is a thousand things.  It’s good to be here.  I hope I’ll do a good job being a love creature and using my gifts.  But I can only control so much.

Life is chaotic, and this is all a collaboration, thank goodness.  I’m responsible only for a piece of it.

imbolc ritual

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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