Spring comes early in Southern California. The first rains of Winter bring a greening of the grass and make flowers bloom as early as February. My own back patio is starting to look alive again: my hardy lavender is starting to bloom, the nasturtiums that died off in the heat of the summer are back in force, and oxalis is everywhere.
Seeing all this fresh growth inspires me to throw off my winter mood, and this is a simple ritual I do to bring Spring into my life and give thanks.
I start by picking some of that new growth. lavendar flowers, the big round leaves of the nasturtium, the shamrock shaped leaves and dainty yellow flowers of the oxalis. I add to that herbs from my kitchen garden - basil and it’s flowers, mint, lemon balm, etc. As I harvest these things, I give thanks to the plants for parts that I take.
I arrange the cuttings into little vases, each for a particular deity in my pantheon. For instance, Scathac, my patron, is known as both a healer and a warrior/martial artist. She gets healing herbs like mint and lemon balm as well as the shamrocks that I hope will remind her of her native Scotland and Ireland. Lord Ganesha is a Hindu deity that I respect as the “remover of obstacles.” He reminds us that life is sweet, so I make his arrangement as fun as possible, with sprays of lavender, sweet mint, and red flowers. In India, red flowers are a common offering to Ganesha.
Obviously, my garden is limited, and so might yours be at this time of year, so I go with what I have, and what feels right. I don’t fret that the Gods might be upset that I don’t have a particular flower or plant that they are associated with, or that my choices are humble, because I know that these offerings come from my heart.
As I make each arrangement, I offer sincere thanks for the hope, strength, and blessings the Lords and Ladies have given me through the winter. To Scathac, who owned her own Fortress on the Isle of Skye, I offer thanks for protecting me, seeing me through my own battles, and helping me to keep my own home, or ‘fortress.’ I give thanks to Lord Ganesha for smoothing my way as much as possible through certain problems, and for the sweet moments I have had over the winter, and so on. Once I have finished an arrangement, I place it with a little bow and a word of thanks on the altar of the corresponding deity.
Once I am done, my house has lots of little vases that bring Springtime joy, and my heart is full of thanks and hope for the new Spring.