The Cleansing Time
Animal Totem : Otter
Astrological Sun sign : Aquarius
This midpoint in the winter season is when the solar influence is stirring and its electrical energy is beginning to be evident in the freshness of the air itself which is stimulating, invigorating and cleansing. It is the power that is breaking through the grip of limitations and constraints.
There are stirrings too within the Womb of Mother Earth, as the new life that is to come is moving into manifestation but hidden beneath the surface.
In many ancient cultures these first stirrings of Nature were celebrated by a festival in early February. In Britain it was known as Imbolc, a Gaelic name which means ~in the belly~ implying quickening. It celebrated the return of light. It was replaced later by its Christian equivalent of Candlemass on 2nd February. Anciently, it was a festival of cleansing, of clearing the ground of dead growth, or clearing out the clutter of things that accumulated during the winter and were no longer needed. It was the origin of spring cleaning. It was the preparation time for new growth which would be springing into being soon when the dormancy of winter burst into the sudden activity of spring.
The Native Americans related such cleansing and clearing with the ceremony of the Give-Away – an occasion for giving away those things in life that one wanted to get rid of – the banishment of bad attitudes and habits, petty fears and jealousies, and ill feelings. Symbolically each was represented by a single grain or by a stick that was cast into the fire and consumed.
The Influencing wind is the North Wind with the Influencing Direction being the North.
In the northern hemisphere, the Sun does not appear in the north, going from east through south-west, and the sky appears to revolve around the North Star, so the North was regarded as the mysterious hub around which the heavens turned, and as the power of the unseen. The power of the North was the power of new life that is hidden, in rest, the power that turns water to ice, and the power of ice that breaks mighty rocks into small pebbles. The power of the North indicated the need to be silent and to listen, to get away from chatter and confusion, and hustle and bustle. So it is associated with meditation and contemplation whose essence is to rest from external activity so that one can provide opportunity for inner growth.
The Native Americans associated the North with knowledge and wisdom and with the power of the mind, and the north winds with mental activity. The totem of the north is the buffalo.
Air is the element associated with the intellect and with the power of thought, for the idea or the thought precedes manifestation or creation. Air is clear and uncluttered and is so likened to the visualisation of creative thought, and Air is unseen movement so it can be likened also to the impetus of the unmanifest becoming manifest, of that which is invisible coming into visibility.
It is through the movement of Air that we are aware of sound, of hearing, and being heard. So it is through Air that it is possible to communicate with others. Air is thus linked with communication.
Communication, ideas, mental activity, creativity – all these things will be much in evidence in the Cleansing Time.
The birth and animals totem for the Cleansing time is the otter. The otter is a member of the weasel family and is at home on both land and water. It has a thick powerful tail that is tapered to serve as a rudder in water and as a tool for use in the otters construction work. The otter has short strong legs and webbed feet which enables it to swim speedily through water. It is able to stay underwater for up to four minutes.