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Shamash Sun-Cat and the Rise of the Masculine – a Time For Building and Beginning Again

As spring wanes, the mane of Shamash Sun-Cat has grown back to its full splendour after his battle with the Black Horse of Winter and, with it, its rays of light and heat bring life and vigour back to the world in the way of summer. While spring may have brought us new growth, the things we have planted have not yet bloomed or come into fruition. But now is the time for the work to begin. Summer is almost upon us and the hard labour of reaping and harvesting is on the horizon. It is the time of the Sun-Cat, and the celebration of all things male and solar.

Shamash Sun-CatWatermarked

In Grimalkin society Shamash Sun-Cat rules the Day while his mate Inghira Moon-Cat rules the Night. Shamash is the embodiment of health, strength, vitality, virility and the essence of life itself and, even as his mate rules the darkness, his presence can still be felt as his warm rays still heat the world below and reflect upon the surface of the moons. Shamash is the life-giver and the regenerator and he, and all things male, are celebrated on Midsummer’s Day, or Adrach, in the Grimalkin Calendar. At Midwinter, the roles are reversed and all things female are celebrated.

Grimalkins celebrate the male deity that is Shamash, not only as a life-giving force, but as a representation of the male energy. The male Grimalkin is a creature that knows his role in the fabric of the clowder, and in the Cosmic Order. He fulfils many roles, not only as protector and builder of the place we call home, but as the maintainer and grower and creator of things. Just as the female creates things of use for different purposes, so the male creates things of purpose that keep the clowder and all its functions going. If the female Grimalkin is the soul of the clowder, the male Grimalkin is most definitely the heart. For there is no real separation between the sexes; while one gravitates towards one particular field, so does the other. But both male and female work together as a team to keep the clowder functioning as a well-oiled machine and a safe and comfortable home for all.

But to day is the day of the male. We need our male-folk. They are the very foundation stones upon which we build our society. Their unfailing dedication to their work and tasks make them invaluable, irreplaceable and much valued individuals in our world. Their brightness, vitality and creativity beams out of them with everything they do, whether they tend to the sick or elderly in the clowder hospital, or are thatching the roof of a new tavern. Their energy is infectious and inspires others to take up tasks they would not have necessarily considered before, galvanising others with their leadership and get-up-and-go. These Grimalkins are like solar flares or hot days in the Moon of Hazel, blazing, cheerful, garrulous and free with their laughter and mirth. For the more reserved of the male-folk, there are those who are passive and kind, warm and glowing like late summer afternoons by the sea. They are thoughtful and generous with their time and knowledge. Such male Grimalkins have their whiskers in a book or journal and will always seek to assist others in need. The studious and bookish Grimalkin is a good friend in times of crisis.

All of the male-folk embody the spirit of Shamash in one way or another. Midsummer not only celebrates the day of the male-folk – fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews, male friends or spouses – but also is a time to begin new projects. It is an assertive and productive time when all things and all tools are available to one, and the long summer ahead provides one with the light and the resources to begin in new endeavours, or journeys. Spring is a time of new beginnings, yes, but summer is the time when folk are at their busiest, and when most opportunities arise to partake in things one has never done before. Shamash Sun-Cat gives us the energy and the courage to take a leap of faith into the unknown and see where it takes us, all the while his sun-ray mane lighting the way.

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It is important we start new things, or pick up the threads of what we did before if we do not want to stagnate. Our personal growth and our happiness, to a degree, depend on our ability to adapt and learn new things, or to hone our skills, or perfect old ones. The male Grimalkin is always learning, always striving to add another string to his bow. This makes his a great asset to those around him, and because of his light, his skills and his creativity, he is in need, and in demand. The fact that his skills are in demand are a testament to his talents and ingenuity for he has worked on those skills alone. He has no-one to thank but himself. That is a noble calling and any Grimalkin who has honed his skills, made them his own and set himself on his way in the world should be a proud creature indeed. The world requires more of the industrious and enterprising Grimalkin.

But those skills and those talents are rare and to be valued. Such time and effort has gone into the making of the enterprising Grimalkin. The creativity in his paws must be given room to act freely and without hindrance. Good, solid, things can be made with those paws. And good, solid foundations can be found if the Grimalkin values himself and his talents as much as those around him do. If he gives his heart and soul as much attention as he does his skills, then a fortress he will build out of himself. And it will be good, and right and just.

The poem by the celebrated Bard Eriffin Aengus illustrates the rise of the masculine thus:

Wake up, wake up, O my brother,

for you have slept too long in the darkness.

Throw off the shackles of your past

and break the prison bars of your despair.

Wake up, my brother,

and feel the touch of sunlight on your skin.

Throw open the window of your soul and let fly

your spirit into the great beyond.

Wake up, my brother,

and shed not another tear for what has gone before,

or for maidens loved and lost,

for your life is just beginning.

Wake up, my brother,

for the battle cries of long fought wars

are slowly receding from your memory.

Step into the light; that will be your victory.

Wake up, my brother,

and feel the solid and bountiful earth beneath your feet.

Take up your bow and hunt the sacred boar

and pursue the faerie hind that holds the secrets of your heart.

Wake up, my brother,

and know the mysteries of life and death.

For all that you are and all you will become,

and you shall become a god.

Eriffinn Aengus of the Golden Branch

 

The male Grimalkin is an essential part of the Whole, the All. We cannot function without them. We must recognise and honour the Divine in them as they recognise and honour the Divine in us. The world is too much out of balance right now. One is set against the other and that cannot be. We must work as a team. They are as much a part of us as we are a part of them. Let us see them as Sun-Cats, and our Brothers in Light.

Yours By Star and Stone

Imeldra Moonpaw.

 

The Deepening Darkness and the Time of Letting Go

  Greetings, my human friends. It has been a while since I posted a blog but one has been busy and a little frazzled. The old bones are not working as they should and I needed rest after what has been a tumultuous year. But, my dearest friends, the time is coming for us to gather together at Deepening Darkness to feast, to celebrate, and to reflect on all we have done this year. And to reflect on those we have loved and lost.

  Yes, my friends, it has been a year of loss as a dear friend passed peacefully over to the Otherworld in the Summer after a short illness. The Great Mother saw his suffering and took him gently into Her arms and took him home to join the rest of those waiting for us in the Summerlands. I see him in dreams sometimes, healthy and whole, the way he was before old age, sickness and death took him. While I do feel sad he cannot be with us for our Mordrach celebrations, I know he is celebrating with our loved ones beyond the Veil, happy and pain-free. So, Leo, me old friend, we shall raise a tankard or two for you this year. You are dearly missed.

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  And so, as we reflect on all we have done throughout the year, we also look back on the things we could, or maybe should have done. Mordrach is a time of reflection, but also a time of regret; we regret not spending enough time studying, or tending to our everyday tasks, or spending time with friends or family. We may regret harsh words spoken, or words not spoken at all. That ache in the heart not acted upon, or that phrase on the tip of the tongue left unspoken that could have made all the difference in the world to someone without even realising it. The fear of the unknown or how others may react to our declarations of support, love and affection binding us like vines that constrict and then strangle even the strongest of oaks, causing it to whither and die in sorrow and contrition. It is easier to seek forgiveness than permission, but to look back on the things you wish you had done but didn’t can cause one great pain. And it is at the time of Deepening Darkness we have such a long time to reflect on that. A long time indeed.

  The Time of Deepest Darkness is also a time of letting go. As the Black Horse of Winter vanquishes Shamash Sun-Cat, he lets go of his magnificent mane of gold. Light leaves the world and we are left in darkness to contemplate our fate and what is to come. For some, letting go is a much-needed relief – holding on to what does not serve you only causes great harm and suffering to your soul, and to unburden yourself is an act of healing and self-discovery. But for some, letting go is painful. The things we love sometimes need to be let go of if they no longer serve us, or do not wish to stay. It is not for us to hold on to  them for they are not ours to keep; you cannot keep a wild bird in a cage for it is against nature and an act of unkindness. No matter how much you love something, or someone, when they no longer wish to be part of your world, you have to let them go. The seasons turn and life continues, indifferent to the suffering of mortals. We can, but hope, to find a way to regain our strength as Shamash does in spring as his mane of gold grows back to its original magnificence and brings light back to the world.

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As the Old Grimalkin saying goes “it is easier to hold on the the one you hate than to let go of the one you love.”

 

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  But for all we have to let things go, we never stop loving them, be they things or memories or individuals. Sometimes the greatest act of love is to release someone from the binds we may have placed upon them, to free them from the obligation that they need to stay, to be around you out of a sense of guilt or duty. But always try and speak the truth of your heart before doing so because letting someone go before you have spoken your truth can be a burden your soul will have to bear for all your earthly days. Live not with sorrow and regret as I have done. Speak your truth and be not afraid. Follow not the path of one who was too afraid and too proud to do so. Yes, even I can falter and fall by the wayside.

  I hope all who read my blog find peace and happiness at this uncertain time. I am sorry it wasn’t full of Yuletide cheer but, like all things, happiness comes with a measure of sorrow and there are times when we have to experience that sad times to appreciate the good ones.

Healing Blessings to you all,

Your Friend

Imeldra.

Winter – Time of Deepening Darkness and the Black Horse of Winter – excerpts from the Winter Almanac (coming soon in 2018)

For many, winter is a testing period, especially for those who are old or infirm. Winter, the Time of Deepest Darkness, the time when the world sleeps, is also a time of healing and regeneration in preparation for the rigours of the coming of spring. During the Deepest Darkness, Grimalkins retreat into the safety of the clowders and settlements, to roaring hearths and hot meals. At Deepest Darkness, when Shamash’s supremacy is diminished by the Black Horse of Winter, the power of the Sun-Cat is not completely weakened by the loss of his magnificent mane of sun-rays. In these most shadowy of days, we are not forsaken but even the mighty Sun-Cat must rest and regain his strength. For now, The Black Horse of Winter and Inghira Moon-Cat rule these long nights and starry skies.

winter-solstice

  Winter is a productive time even though the earth seems to be sleeping. While the ground is covered in a deep quilt of snow, seeds are germinating below the earth and, like the seeds, Grimalkins are busy making do and mending. While the hard work of harvesting and gathering is at an end, the more creative pursuits of making Yule/Mordrach gifts and decorations begins.

  Hibernation and retreating into the safety of the clowders and settlements is not just practical and life-saving, it is also a symbolic act – all must return to the earth, the body of the Great Mother, once a year, for regeneration and rebirth. We may lament the passing of the warm, heady days of summer but we rejoice that the toil of the past two seasons is over and we can finally enjoy the fruits of our labours.  Winter is the final act in the great opera of the year, a time when we gather together with family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances and strangers and reaffirm our bonds of kinship with one another and express our gratitude for all that we have.

winter

 

Shamash Sun-Cat and the Black Horse of Winter

Every year, at Oliach (autumn equinox), a great battle begins between two forces of nature. The astronomical observance of the autumn equinox last for three days and, on the first day of Oliach, Shamash Sun-Cat begin his epic battle with the Black Horse of Winter. This battle lasts until the final day of Oliach when the Sun-Cat is defeated and overcome by the Black Horse. During the battle, the Black Horse tears out the Sun-Cat’s mane and so his power wanes. As his mane is destroyed, the power of the suns wane until they almost disappear from sight at the midwinter solstice, at Mordrach. It is during this time the Black Horse reigns, bringing the snows and ice to the world. Shamash, his mane now gone, retreats into the belly of the earth until it starts to regrow. On the third day of the midwinter solstice, the first golden hair appears on his forehead and this heralds the return of the suns. Now his strength begins to return. But it will be an arduous process and the winter is long; he must rest and regenerate so he can fight her once more and bring light back to the world once more.

black horse of winter

  While the black horse of Winter may maim, defeat and banish Shamash Sun-Cat to the bowels of the earth, she is not an evil creature. She is an aspect of nature and creation like Shamash or Inghira. While many lament her coming, she serves an important purpose; she brings the winter, the dark, feminine half of the year when the earth must rest otherwise it will wither and die. Too much warm, masculine energy depletes and exhausts. There must be a balance of the masculine and feminine and the battle of Shamash and the Black Horse represents this. It is the balance of life. The earth and its creatures must rest. The Black Horse may seem harsh, but she is just and wise.

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  The Black Horse also represents the Great Mother Goddess in Her Crone aspect – deep, powerful, strong, introspective. She goes paw-in-hoof with Inghira Moon-Cat, the bringer of sleep, dreams, and healing through darkness. The Black Horse also brings these things but on a larger and longer scale, of days, months, years and aeons, rather than the minutes and hours by which we live by. The continual cycle of wakefulness and hibernation the earth must endure ensures it and its creatures regenerate and renew endlessly over many ages. This has been the task of the Black Horse and Shamash Since the Creation in the First Days of the New Dawn.

  She is not a force to be feared even though she may bring death to many. But after the winter solstice, her power begins to fade. Shamash’s mane begins to grow and the world is preparing for the re-emergence of the light. At Falia, the vernal equinox, Shamash returns to the world and defeats the Black Horse of Winter and drives her back to the high north where she will stay until Oliach. As Shamash’s mane grows the suns become warmer and climb higher in the sky until, at Adrach, the summer solstice, it is fully grown and he, and the suns, are at full power.

Shamash

 

https://www.grimalhamepress.co.uk/dance-of-the-fire-cat