Friday, February 22, 2013

Designing a Garden

Silent Moon - How can we find silent time to restore and regenerate our enthusiasm for our lives/work/relationships? ~ CAYA's Full MoonQuestions.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~ Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard's Egg

Love which planted a glorious garden redolent with precious herbs and noble flowers--roses and lilies--which breathed forth a wondrous fragrance… ~ Hildegard of Bingen letter to the Monk Guibert, 1176

It’s getting close to spring.  I can see the days getting longer.  The sun is above the trees when I drive home after work.  I’m anxious for that change in the rain smell.  I’ve been getting e-mails daily from all the seed catalogues enticing me with 2 for 1 deals.  And, I paid my fee for my community garden plot.

Last night my Gurney’s Seed Catalogue came in the mail.  I flipped through it relining on the couch.  The cover shows three bright photos: Ka-Bluey Blueberries, Big Beef Tomatoes and Biggie Sweet Chilies.  I’m pulled into the size and redness of that tomato.  My mouth waters as I imagine its July sun sweetness – right off the vine - sliced between a baguette with fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, salt and fresh cracked pepper.  My finger itches to press its seeds into the dirt.

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) is considered to be a master gardener and herbalist. Her two treatises on medicine and natural history were widely read even today and probably have influenced modern pharmacology.  In her Causae et Curae, she catalogue over 47 known diseases during her time period (i.e., cause, symptom and treatment).  The treaty also provided lists of 300 medicinal plants and their use in treatment. 

The abbey Hildegard was prioress would have followed the Benedictine tradition by being self-sufficient. There would have been a vegetable/kitchen garden, farm fields, orchard, and physic garden.  Her medieval kitchen garden would have included: turnips, parsnips, onions, leeks, various legumes, mint, basil, wormwood, borage, mugwort, nettle and melons.  Whereas the physic garden would have traditionally grown sage, rue, aloe, rosemary, southernwood, poppy, mint and pennyroyal, parsley, gladioli and marigolds.

Hildegard was also a woman ahead of her time.  She adopted a way of eating that was based on color.  She believed and wrote about how foods offered specific viriditas associated with their colors.  She encouraged eating a multi-colored food diet as a way to promote well-being - mentally, physically and spiritually.  Today her “diet” for healthy living is better known as the Rainbow Diet, the Chakra Diet or My Plate 

Hildegard held the emerald colored foods above all.  Today we know that these dark green leafy vegetables are the powerhouse of the vegetable.  They are rich in minerals (i.e., iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium) and the B vitamins.  It is written the fennel was her favorite green colored food.  The herb is known to help with digestion and improve sight.  Eaten it tastes a little like anise.
"... Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: 'Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind's eternal creation' (Faust, II). And that is the self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate self-deceptions." ~ C. G. Jung
BEMS @ 2013
My class on Hildegard also includes learning to draw mandalas.  Up front, I’m not an experienced mandala drawer and consider at the most an amateur mandala coloring in the lines person.  

What I’ve learn so far is that some people consider mandala is like a garden temple or sacred space.   In many traditions it is used as a tool where one can use for meditation or trance.   It can assist the meditator on their journey for inward towards their sacred center for healing and commune with the Divine one.

Each day I focus on one of Hildegard’s writings and let my creative side take over. 

During my silent times of coloring, cutting and pasting, I’ve been inspired to move away from the boxy 9”x9” squares in my community garden to circles and fluid lines.  My research landed me on sites discussing mandala and keyhole garden structures.  These kitchen garden structures are non-linear and fluid.  They are considered more ecological and kinder to the soil.  Additionally, the design is said to be more pleasing to the eye - meditative. I can picture the rectangle I'm renting to look more like a mitochondria - the powerhouse organelle of our cells who's DNA is from our mothers.   

My mind contemplates the possibilities and my finger itches to press seeds into soil.

Recipe for rainbow eating – inspired by Martha Stewart and BonAppetit

Blood Orange, Beet, and Fennel Viriditas Salad

2 medium 1 red and 1 yellow beets, tops trimmed and roasted and peeled and sliced
3 blood oranges, peel, pith cut off and sliced into segments  (Make sure you catch the juice)
1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
Small container of greens
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 small container of feta crumbled

Into salad bowl, greens then beets, fennel, orange, onions.  Mix orange juice, olive oil, and vinegar together and dress the salad.  Add feta cheese and serve.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Viriditas Fish Fry Friday - Lenten Journey 2013

Practice hospitality.  Romans 12: 13

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.  Hebrews 13:2

Opus Verbi viriditas / The work of the Word is greenness ~ Hildegard of Bingen

My family and I went to our first fish fry of the Lenten season at 18151222* here in Columbus.  It was a chilly evening and snow was beginning to fall when we pulled into a relatively full parking lot.  After paying the three friendly women at the door, we walked into their new dining hall.  I felt like I had “Non Catholic” stamped on my forehead.  Reality, I didn’t get that warm and cozy feeling like I’m used to when I visit other churches’ functions or that I’ve experienced here before.  I kept looking around for the church lady or church guy who notices that we’re not part of the “regulars” and swoops in for a big hello; glad you could join us; and you should come to worship with us on Sunday.  Instead, I felt like I was at any other restaurants in Columbus on a Friday night.

There were lots of choices at this fish fry: salad or coleslaw, fish or pizza, bake potato, rice pilaf or fries.  The serving size was healthy.  I had the coleslaw, fish and bake potato.  The fresh perch tasted wonderful.  It was lightly breaded, fried and very tender on the inside.  The coleslaw, I couldn’t get what the secret ingredient was – fresh onion and?  The “and” didn’t work for me.  We talked to the family across from us.  The coleslaw wasn’t working for them either.  T had the rice pilaf and he said it was very good.  Z told me the steak fries were “steak fries” and added “awkward sounds come from the tartar squirt bottle.”  He demonstrated. 

Homemade desserts - Yum.  This really says it all.  There is nothing like going to a church function and getting a tasty goodie made from someone’s oven.  I had a classic Lemon Bundt Cake.  Each bite was filled with a sunny lemony goodness.  The cake was light and moist inside a crunchy exterior.  Both T and Z said they picked well too.


“Hosts need to feel at home in their own houses, creating free and fearless places for unexpected visitors.  Hospitality is the ability to pay attention to guests (concentration) and create an empty space where the guests can find their own souls (community).  For Nouwen this is real healing ministry because it takes away the illusion that wholeness can simply be given by one to another.  It does not remove the loneliness and pain of the other but invites them to recognize their loneliness on a level where it can be shared.” ~  Michael Ford, Wounded Prophet


The family across from us left and a woman in a turquoise fish T-shirt began cleaning the table.  She was very nice and friendly.  She was what I’d expected coming into this spiritual setting.  Wiping down the table, she began telling us the history of this 50 year fish fry.  She pointed to two little girls playing behind us.  “It was started by their great grandfathers.”  Apparently, they were fishing up at Lake Erie and came up with the idea.  She knew that it was fresh perch, soaked in milk and breaded with secret ingredients.  She told us about when the fish fry was down in the church basement.  It was cozy and a little cramp.  We told her we’d eaten here before in the basement.  I remember the spirit present there   in that intimate space that drew people together.

I began to wonder if the newness of this space influenced the “guest like” vs. “home like” feeling.  Hildegard draws us to look greenness; perhaps in this space, the spirit is a tender shoot just poking up above the ground.  The gardeners may not be used to this space and maybe a little intimidated by its vastness.   It just needs some water and care to get that feeling going here. 


During my Lenten journey, I’m called to look at guest like places.  I speak of my emotions and ideas that I’ve hidden behind doors refusing to weed, water and nurture.  These have become dried places that aren’t hospitable to me or anyone.  It’s Lent and I’m once again called to drag out the gardening hoe to mix in compose with that drought like soil.  My Lenten journey also calls me to begin to dismantle how I distance myself from others or how I make them feel excluded from the table filled with all the fixings.  It encourages the “Viriditas” spirit of welcome within me by looking into the eyes and hospitality of a stranger.  Lent calls me to green up spaces in my life as John O’Donohue says “smiles like flowers on the altar of the heart.”

* Note: In keeping with Hildegard's greening - I've created a code for the church.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mary Beard takes on Mirror Mirror on the Wall Spell

If you don't know who Mary Beard is - she is a Cambridge academic who can tell you anything you want to know about those Ancient Romans. 

When she made an unpopular comment about immigration and the British social service systems; the Mirror Mirror Spells were unleased onto her blog. 

Check out the article in the NY Times today (2/16/2013).

In Britain, an Authority on the Past Stares Down a Nasty Modern Storm
JANUARY was a busy month for Mary Beard, a Cambridge academic who is the closest thing, if it exists, to a celebrity classics professor.  In just a few weeks, Ms. Beard, who has helped popularize the study of antiquity through television and a lively blog, “A Don’s Life,” turned 58; finished a draft of her book on Roman laughter; became an officer of the Order of the British Empire; and attended the funeral of a lifelong friend and editor, Peter Carson.

Turner, Lark. In Britain, an Authority on the Past Stares Down a Nasty Modern Storm. The New York Times. 15 Feb. 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2013.

Friday, February 15, 2013

CCWWW 2013 Lenten Walk

Illumination from the Liber Scivias
showing Hildegard receiving a vision
and dictating to her scribe and secretary
The Origin of Fire - Music and Visions of Hildegard of Bingen sung by Anonymous 4

Today a closed portal has been opened ~ Hildegard of Bingen

“I am the fiery life of the essence of God; I am the flame above the beauty in the fields; I shine in the waters; I burn in the sun, the moon, and the stars.  And with the airy wind, I quicken all things vitally by an unseen, all-sustaining life.  For the air is alive in the verdure and the flowers; the waters flow as if they lived; the sun too lives in its light; and when the moon wanes it is rekindled by the light of the sun, as if it lived anew: Even the stars glisten in their light as if alive.” ~ Hildegard of Bingen, translated by Barbara Newman, Sister of Wisdom (69-70).

This past January I was exploring walking mediations and stumbled upon a Lenten on-line retreat.  The invitation had two key words for me: artists and Hildegard of Bingen.    If people aren’t familiar with this woman, she lived during the 11th Century.  She was a German Christian mystic, herbalist, feminist, writer, composer, philosopher, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath.  Hildegard had moxie.  She would be someone to aspire to be.

In 2012, Hildegard was given sainthood.  Somehow this doesn’t sit right – after all these years?  It feels like one of Christ’s stories about the rich giving from their richness, in this case it has to do with power.  I feel like Hildegard’s nod to formalized sainthood is a way to divert my attention away from the real issues: the treatment of the American Catholic nuns, the child sexual abuse by clergy… 

I see my Lenten journey this year becoming an extended Imbolic over the course of 40 days.  My Lent is about opening doors that have been blocked by clutter.  It's a time to not be distracted away from the real issues  - the glittery stuff that comes from modern living.  This is what blocks the entrances to my heart.  Lent to me isn't about depriving.  No, it is about being silent, observing and listening.  It is a time to examine my heart to identify where I’m blocked and out of balance with love and humility.  Lent is about opening the  doors to closed portals.  Airing things out and getting ready.  Lent is hard mindful work. 

One of my favorite books growing up was A Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett.  In the story we learn that the walled rose garden was locked following the death of Mary’s Aunt.  The key was buried.  Like many in the household, people are hurt, angry or grieving.  Mary’s healing adventure begins when she sets her intent on finding the key.  Her journey reveals the things that block her heart from love and friendship.  Mary isn't afraid of hard work. 

When I think of that garden door, I also think of the Hebrew letter found on the Empress Card.  The door shaped card allows me to peer in.  I find the pregnant Empress sitting in a golden wheat meadow with a lush forest behind her.  People have told me this card represents both the subconscious and the creative.  She holds the seeds for inventiveness.  For me, anyone who has a creative imagination is able to magically enter another world - think about stepping over the threshold of a book.  It’s a door that can provide you with fresh opportunities, a clean slate or perhaps allows you a new way on how to do something.  Her kind face welcomes me in.       

This Lent I plan on pulling away some boxes, push away the cobwebs so that I may insert the tarnished key into this forgotten door.  It's the one that has been blocked with many excuses.  She sits behind it calling me.

Downward Facing Dog – Youtube Yoga Practice

When the breathe wanders the mind is unsteady.  But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life.  Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. ~ Hatha Yoga Pradipika

I would like for people to realize that yoga is not about touching your toes. ~ Gary Kraftsow

Yoga has a sly, clever way of short-circuiting the mental patterns that cause anxiety. ~ Baxter Bell, quoted in "Worry Thwarts," Yoga Journal, March 2006

The first time I heard “Rest in Downward Facing Dog,” I turned towards my friend (the one who talked me into coming to this free yoga class) and smirked.  It was a “Now I heard everything” smirk while holding back a big belly laugh that would ultimately cause me to land on my head in this position.  Looking around, I could tell everyone in this class was very serious resting in their inverted “V” poses.  This only made me want to giggle more.  How could you be serious in this pose – bum pushed up into the air while you are looking at your feet?  And, rest?  Hello - my arms were killing me.

Yet, Yoga and energy work has somehow managed to weave in and out of my life since that 1988 class. 


Adho Mukha Svanasana (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)adho = downward, mukha = face, svana = dog

•Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
•Energizes the body
•Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
•Strengthens the arms and legs
•Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
•Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
•Helps prevent osteoporosis
•Improves digestion
•Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
•Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

As I’ve spoken before, our bodies are made up of energy that vibrates (science speak – partical energy theory). Many people are familiar with chakras, but there are also many more energy layers that make up our bodies.  Even our physical form that you can touch is an energetic body (science speak - its molecules move around at low energy.)  These individual energy layers don’t work in solo by themselves.  They’re interconnected and working in concert together.

If you injure your physical body, the others will be affected.  When I broke my ankle, I found it so easy to get caught up in healing the physical.  For example, I went to the emergency room and got a cast, had to navigate stairs and doorways for 8 weeks, taking a bath with a garbage bag was.... – I didn't even consider the other layers in my treatment plan.   

The same can be said about negative thoughts, emotions or habits.  We may stop or change them, but energetically speaking they’ve been imprinted on the body.  They are in our muscle memories.  Again, each energy body needs to also be healed in order for the habit to be permanent. 

Bodywork like Yoga is a great way to integrate healing throughout the energy levels.  I think of Yoga or Qigong working like oatmeal does for the digestive system.  The poses or movements unclogs and scrubs out the places where energy is stuck.

Why is this important?

Magical living is about working with energy.  If I have stuck places like stress pain in my neck and shoulder it makes it hard to concentrate on what I’m trying to manifest.  I become so focus on the pain that my energy is diverted between two places – what I'm trying to create and that “pain.”  My craftiness becomes not so perfect: the lemon happiness cookies burn or taste odd, the healing candle for a friend becomes more about me and I have to rip out many rows of stitches. 


There is no excuse for not doing bodywork.  Thanks to modern techology you can do Yoga or Qigong at your home via Youtube.  Start off with something gentle like Hatha Yoga.  There  is no Olympic medals in this practice.  Turn off the competition - yoga is about being present in the moment without judgement.  It is accepting where your temple body is at each day.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Cycles, Composting and Creativity

Landscape with Snow (Paysage enneigé), by Vincent Van Gogh
late February 1888. Oil on canvas, 15 1/16 x 18 3/16 inches
(38.2 x 46.2 cm).  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,
Thannhauser Collection, Gift, Hilde Thannhauser 84.3239
Silent Moon - How can we find silent time to restore and regenerate our enthusiasm for our lives/work/relationships? ~
CAYA's Full Moon Questions.

“Only to a magician is the world forever fluid, infinitely mutable and eternally new.  Only he knows the secret of change, only he knows truly that all things are crouched in eagerness to become something else, and it is from this universal tension that he draws his power.” ~ Peter Beagle

“In nature the life-death-rebirth cycle is clear as we watch flash fires ignited by lightning level the prairies.  It may appear that all life is gone, lost to the ravages of flame and smoke, but within days, tiny green shoots begin to poke above the surface of the soil.  Mother Earth has cleared the land for new life.  Even in my garden I sense the seasons and the cycle of life-death-life.  Perennials planted in my yard years ago go through their seasonal life span: a new green shoot, a blooming tulip, soon gone, but the bulb below the soil holds all the necessary ingredients for repeating the cycle again next spring.” ~ Kathleen A. Brehony, Awakening at Midlife

Ohio Story:
A guy is nursing his beer at a downtown Cleveland bar.  For over twenty minutes he’s been studying the pictures that decorate the place: Cy Young, Doris Day, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Bob Hope, Jessie Owens, Orville and Wilbert Wright, Toni Morrison, Thomas Edison, Bernadine Healy, Erma Bombeck, Rita Dove…  He leans over and asks the bartender.  “What’s with Ohio?”

The bartender shrugs and tops off another order.

“How does Ohio get all these famous people?  You know 8 presidents and 25 astronauts...”

The bartender nods.  “Four months.”

“Come again?”

“We Ohioans are blessed with four months.”

“I don’t think I’m following you.”

“Ohio winters.  That gray, snow and cold that people from other states complain about, well it has an opposite effect for us Ohioans.  We are taught at an early age that the best time to fertilize dreams is during an Ohio winter.  It makes you contemplate.  You know – chew on it and compost the stuff that doesn’t work.”


"To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Turn! Turn! Turn! by The Byrds


I love Ohio winters.  The cold temperatures that bite your cheeks, icy sidewalks and the gray sky days?  Not so much.  What I like is the stillness of the time.  I find this seasonal period always inviting me to rest, be silent and to listen.  It calls me to gather unfinished projects or those that are broken and to decide to: fix them, finish them or unravel them.  Spiritually, I know it’s a way for making room for something new.

I see winter as the ebbing part of an endless cycle. It reminds me of the ocean’s tide gently pulling back before the next surge forward.  Winter is the nighttime when dreams percolate as you sleep and all you have to do is choose one star to follow the next morning.  To exhale is winter.  The air rushes out of my nose and I can feel my shoulders relax for a bit or enough to catch my breath and focus my thoughts.    

As a gardener, I value this part of the seasonal cycle.  I’m hoping this year’s frigid temperatures will decrease the bug population.  (2012 bean patch was continually munched down and my salad mix had Alpine lacey holes).  I’m hoping it will create a big sugar rush in the Maple trees so that that the cost of a gallon of syrup will go down. (2012 too warm of a winter).
My compost bin also likes the winter.  The freezing and thawing (1/29/2013 60F and 2/1/2013 16F) helps break down the vegie matter into this primordial black stuff that T spreads into our garden.  The unwanted egg shells, used teabags, cabbage core and the moldy lentil soup that was forgotten in the frig all magically turns (science speak - decomposes) into this green silky film.  It then mixes with the other earthy smelling brown matter in the bin.  By October, the end product is this ultimate fertilizer for next year’s garden.


“The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows. When we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors is home. Nothing can separate us from the vigor and vibrancy of this inheritance. In contrast to our frenetic, saturated lives, the earth offers a calming stillness. Movement and growth in nature takes its time. The patience of nature enjoys the ease of trust and hope. There is something in our clay nature that needs to continually experience this ancient, outer ease of the world. It helps us remember who we are and why we are here.” ~ John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace


Many of my poems, knitting projects and short stories have come from the scraps transformed in my creative compost bin.  The yule scarf that I’m working on for a friend has evolved out of an intended sweater I was knitting 25 years ago.  Every time I’ve looked at the beautiful red yarn and unfinished sweater in my basement, I immediately thought of the bad memories attached to it (i.e., old abusive boyfriend, laughing ex-friends (1980s) who thought knitting was an old lady activity, family members who believed I couldn’t finish anything I started).  This past January’s full moon I decided I needed to let go of those memories and tossed them onto my creative compost pile.  Immediately, I felt a winter – a stillness, a soft place with clean snow, and the ocean’s tide pulling back.  As January's moon let go of her fullness, I found a new and lighter place in my psyche.  The red yarn was free to become something new. 

Cable Scarf @ BEMS

Knitting Activity
Spirit Stitch’s Irish Fisherman Cable Scarf or Cindy’s wish for a fruitful day at the sea.

You will need a cable needle in addition to the regular knitting needles (I used 5 American needles)

Cast on 42 on regular knitting needles.
Knit 4 rows (8 rows total – down and back)

Row 1: Knit 8 (purl 1 knit 4) 6 times knit last 4 stitches
Row 2: Knit 8 (purl 4 knit 1) 6 times knit last 4 stitches
Row 3:  Knit 8 (purl 1 knit 4) 6 times knit last 4 stitches
Row 4: Knit 8 (purl 4 knit 1) 6 times knit last 4 stitches
Row 5: Knit 8 (Cable stitch Back the 4 purl 1) 6 times knit last 4 stitches
Row 6: Knit 8 (purl 4 knit 1) 6 times knit last 4 stitches

Repeat 1- 6 to desired length

Knit 4 rows (8 down and back) at the end of the scarf.

Note:  I crossed my cable needle behind for this scarf - this is different than the Youtube video.

Additional Reading on Composting

Dreher, Diane. Inner Gardening: Four Seasons of Cultivating the Soil and the Spirit. William Morrows. 2001.

Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down the Bones. Shambhala Press. Boston, Massachusetts. 2005.

Monday, February 4, 2013

KAL 2013 January Progress

KAL 2013 @BEMS

January's progress. Surprised at the number of blue days we had. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Imbolic: Prophesy and Initiation

Water Lillies. Claude Monet
“Oh Sisters let’s go down, let’s go down to the river to pray…..”

CAYA is focusing on the element of water this year.  As I write, it is snowing outside and the sky is gray.  Water in its crystalline form begins to cover my drive and garage roof in soft white.  I begin to wonder about the many facets this element plays in the cycle of my year.
Imbolic to me is the initial spring cleaning.  I like to take out the rugs and shake out the winter dust.  If it is a nice sunny day, I’ll open up the door; let the cool clean air in and wash the glass.  I then open the kitchen window.  (T the engineer doesn't like this because of the heating bill – I turn the other way and continue sweeping with my new fancy broom).  This initial spring cleaning always manages to refresh my spirit.  I can take a breath singing: "Halfway there till spring. Haa Haa Halfway there till spring..."

I spoke before that I can’t scry if my life depended on it.  But, I’m good at looking for signs and repeated patterns.  A still pool of water can be like a mirror.  I may not be able to see into the future with it, but the pool of water is able to reflect what it sees: the current truth.  It is able to reveal the events which I've created – good and bad.  It gives me an opportunity to self-reflect on these aspects that I may want to consider changing or go a different way.  In a sense, if I do this on Imbolic – I’m giving myself an initial spring cleaning. 
In the movie Oh Brother Where Are Thou (Homer’s Odyssey), the main characters' cookout becomes surrounded by men and women dressed in white who walk in a ghostly singing procession through the woods.  They are headed to the river to be baptized   Delmar (one of the main characters) is filled with the spirit and runs into the water to be immersed with the crowd.  He's baptized and proclaims to his friends that the Preacher told him all his “sins and transgressions are washed away” and he’s walking the straight and narrow from now on.  Delmar next invites his friends saying: “the water is fine.” 

Water has served as an initiation rite in many cultures.  It is used for cleansing out the old and making room for new beginnings.    It is seen as an initiation rite that marks the person at a point that their old way of doing something is now changed.  It is an entrance point for new beginnings.  A public announcement to let everyone know you're changed - like Delmar did. 
In the Celtic tradition, Imbolic was the time to bless the plow.  The plow was anointed with whiskey (fire water).  This served as a blessing for regeneration and renewal of the field.   It was an public celebration that winter was almost over and to get ready for new seeds to be plow in.  It also acted as an antiseptic by killing off or sacrificed any bacteria or viruses that could infect the fields.  And, I think it was a way my ancestors could get together ritually in order to sing, dance and drink a nice smokey flavored whiskey - and toast to the increase in hours of sunlight - initiation of a new planting season. 

This Imbolic I raise a shot on Imbolic to my ancestors, teachers and Motherfather Spirit.  I toast to water that helps me shows me needed areas of change.  I toast to water for  helping wash out and let go what isn't useful in my life.  I toast to water for marking a new beginning in my heart and mind.  I toast to my shovel that will dig up dirt for new seeds to grow.   

Reflective Meditation with a bowl of water:

Look into the water and ask -
What needs cleared out of your life?  What aspect of your life needs some spring cleaning?  What needs plowed under in order to initiate new seeds of growth?  How can water play a symbolic role?

Old Irish Blessing

May you get all your wishes but one,
So that you will always have something to strive for.