The snowstorm had settled down somewhat during the day, leaving a blanket of crunchy white snow draped over the countryside. The High Priestess stood at her kitchen window holding a warm mug of steaming hot tea in her weathered hands. Those hands had seen hard work and toils far beyond her young motherhood years.
As she stood in the dimness of her kitchen, the smell of beeswax and candle oils filled her senses and warmed her heart with joy. In just two days would be Imbolc, the festival of lights representing the increase in the light after the Winter Solstice. The candles that were drying from the racks in her back room would be used in not only the coven’s group ritual but also her personal one as well. Imbolc was also the time of the year when life was coming back to the natural world, with plants starting to peak their heads above ground and animals getting ready for the coming births of their young.
Herne and Sebastian were settled down in front of the fire, curled up into little balls of fluffy fur. Pine scent wafted through the house, carried on the breezes from the fireplace. The crackling in the fireplace occasionally made the cats stir, and the High Priestess settled in her chair with a warm blanket and her cup of tea. On the table beside her was her notepad, with the rough outline for the ritual written in her careful, flowing script.
A light rapping at her door stirred her from her thoughts….who would be out on a cold night such as this? Alighting from her chair, Herne and Sebastian quickly took their customary places beside her as she went to answer the door.
Flicking on the porch light, she peeked through the peephole to see a coven member, Bridget, with her two small children. She quickly opened the door and ushered them in, placing their jackets in the hall closet. Curiosity shone on her face, but she kept her greeting polite and general.
Bridget made quiet grievances for her late night visit, shifting her sleeping babe in her arms. She explained that the power had gone out at her house because of the snow, and she felt she had no one else to turn to. Bridget was a new coven member, unsure of where she stood in the circle of close knit friends…more like a family than any she had ever known.
The High Priestess led Bridget and her kids to her spare room, which doubled as her office. It had a homey feel to it, with dried flowers, candles and handmade bedding handed down through three generations of her family. Pictures lined the walls, some in modern frames, some in antique wooden one. It felt so comfortable here, so inviting. Lost in her own reverie, Bridget hadn’t noticed that the High Priestess had left the room and returned with a long, flannel nightshirt and some slippers. These little comforts were enough to send Bridget into tears. Never had someone been so nice to her or her children.
Bridget had been nervous about joining the small coven, afraid to let other people into her life for fear of getting hurt. The High Priestess told her to stay as long as she wanted, for she welcomed family no matter what the need.
After a long, restful night’s sleep, the High Priestess woke to the muted sounds of children laughing in her kitchen. Curious as to what was amiss, the High Priestess donned her robe and went into the main part of the house.
A breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and bacon greeted her senses and brought moisture to her lips at the thought of dining on a feast like this; she usually ate a quick bowl of cereal.
After they ate, the women and children piled into Bridget’s van and carefully made their way to her house to see what had happened with the power. Upon their arrival, Bridget was in tears. The ice had ripped the power lines from her house, causing the power to go out the previous night. But more astonishing was who was at her house without her knowledge.
The coven members had arrived en mass and had taken up places outside like they were supposed to be there. Looking over at the High Priestess in amazement, she noticed tears in the older woman’s eyes as well. Unknown to Bridget, the High Priestess had called two of the coven members who had called more of them.
“Families stick together.” was all the High Priestess said to Bridget.
While the adults worked to repair the damages from the ice storm, the kids played outside making snowmen and snow fairies. Afterward, everyone piled into the small home, and Bridget felt so thankful and warm with the pleasant turn their lives had taken.
Hot chocolate was passed around, and a loaf of pumpkin bread was cut up and offered as thanks for all of the hard work and support they had provided her. Never could she payback all the kindness and generosity she had received the last couple of days.
As they took their mugs of hot chocolate, the High Priestess stepped forward with a lighter and lit a candle on Bridget’s mantle. She said an impromptu blessing to the Goddess Brigid for the house and her occupants, and for all of the coven members and their families. She thanked Brigid for all of her love and generosity that she had bestowed on the coven…and for keeping watch over her children.
The sun was shining like a bright, blazing ball of fire in the sky, warming the Earth below. As the friends stood inside finishing their drinks and planning the next day’s activities, the Earth was awakening outside with the coming signs of Spring.