Frost but no fire as yet. One of the Norse world-creators is very definitely with us but not the other. The world outside is covered in a sugaring of frost, delicate, ethereal. I think I shall be glad when the fire comes … but it won’t be quite yet.

There are snowdrops budding outside the front door but not daring to come out in flower yet. Will they come for tomorrow, for Brighid’s day? I’ll bring 3 buds in later to celebrate her – snowdrops are Brighid’s flower.

We call her Fraide here in the Welsh Marches, in the Brythonic tongue, but we still know her three faces – Maiden, Mother, Crone. This is the time the maiden comes to the well and asks the crone for a drink. The crone tries to stop her but the maiden wins out … so spring is born again out of winter.

I wonder if she does herald the change, this year, from the ice of winter into the fire of spring? we’ll see what the weather brings next week. We’ve had a good, hard winter enabling lots of work and change to happen within the Earth. It’s been a wake-up call to us humans too, the planet is much larger, stronger, older and more experienced than we. And she’s a wise Mother, not wrapping us in cotton wool but helping us experience hardship, making us re-learn to choose.

I watched Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, in a treasury committee last night, it was good. One thing that stood out for me was when he said we had to make a cultural change, go away from the idea that there should be no risk, stop believeing that if we made a bad choice we would be bailed out. Yes, Mr King, yes indeed.

This is something the shaman knows – there is no life without risk. Modern western culture tries so hard to eliminate all risk, to make sure “bad things” can never happen, never again! During the snow, there were people actually asking how we could stop bad winters happening! Unbelieveably childish.

Life isn’t like that. Risk, pain, hardship are vital to growth – they are part of change. This hard winter has been part of the planet’s way of telling us this, that our bay-ways of no pain, no risk, “happily ever after” are unreal, impossible and even bad for us. Fraide/Brighid, the foster-mother, will give us experiences to help us grow … and these won’t always be “love-n-light”. One of her faces is the Blacksmith, the forger of metal. The Blacksmith will forge us into stregnth even if we are kicking and screaming all the way *g*. All hail the Lady of Spring.