DPWOTY Week 3: An Essay on the Autumnal Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox occurs near to September 21st each year and marks the day in which the time shared between the light of day and the dark of night stand in equal balance. Known in some Neopagan groups as Mabon, it is a time to recognize efforts made throughout the year and to give thanks on what one has harvested through those efforts. It is also a time to reflect on missteps taken and consider how to do your planting, literally and figuratively, when winter passes once again.

In my Gaulish Hearth Culture there does not seem to be a particularly notable feast or celebration associated with this season apart from Diocomrextio or Tiocobrextio depending on your interpretation. This event, suggested to additionally take place at other times of the year, is focused on the righting of wrongdoings and renewing old or breached contracts. Evidence on the Roman calendar suggests working with several different gods throughout this time of year with Jupiter (Taranis in the Gaulish pantheon) coming up regularly. As he is commonly associated with the wheel and the sun I find this particularly fitting, as one might give thanks to him for the warmth given throughout the growing season.

I have been with my Grove at this time for a little over a year and as such have had the pleasure of celebrating this high day with them twice. Raven’s Cry often honors different pantheons throughout the wheel of the year but since I have known them we have celebrated it in a Welsh fashion, as Alban Elfed “The Light of the Water”. In this rite we would give thanks to both Beli Mawr and Llyr, of the houses of Light and Dark respectively, and give thanks for what we have harvested in addition to asking Llyr for support in His time of darkness and cold.

It is for both my Grove and for myself personally a time that is much looked forward to. In the part of the country in which we live the summer season (and a good portion of the fall season) is quite hot. While we do love the bright sun of the Southwest, the turning of the season promises cooler breezes and beloved most of all – rain. It is also a time of strong reflection after the busy summer season. It is a time to slow down and look back and see what worked and didn’t work. For me I find it a time of rest where I can reap the effort and time spent through an incredibly taxing summer work season and begin planning things for the coming year. With Samhain and the end of the Pagan calendar coming fast and the American Christmas season coming shortly thereafter it is a good reminder to take a breath and contemplate as the bookends of the year fast approach.

While my involvement in agriculture is nonexistent I still observe the harvest themes fiscally as the summer is one of my busiest times work-wise, so it fits nicely into my personal life rhythm. I also very much enjoy the increase in cool breezes and the rain, rare as it is, is one of my favorite elements of the dark half of the year. While storage for winter is not a specific need for our climate there is some preparation to be made for winter. Financial planning for potential family visits or end of year gift giving is smart, as is preparing the home for potential invasion by pests as the weather cools. It is also, of course, the time of year to dig out hats and scarves!

Should I have the pleasure of passing down any traditions from this time of year I would emphasize strongly the elements of harvesting, reflection, planning, and honoring the forces of balance as that balance shifts. With modern lives as busy and complex as they are having a definite season to put on the brakes, reap what has been sown, acknowledge successes and failures, and plan for next year is a valuable thing to have. Seeing and communicating with the spirits of light and darkness and acknowledging their role and relationship to one another, to the Earth Mother, and those who are nourished by Her, is just as important. I feel these are the key things to take note of for the Autumnal Equinox and a strong foundation for growing further practice around this high day.

All in all this is my favorite time of the year. Even in a completely non-spiritual context I feel that there is a calm and a comfort in the air to this season unlike any other. While in the past I rarely looked forward to this time particularly it always hit me once it was upon me how much I loved autumn. Now that I have an active pagan practice at home it comes with a handy holiday attached, allowing me to better acknowledge and embrace the magic that comes with the turning of the leaves.

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Some Words

I don’t really have articulate words to share right now. Everyone has seen the news and I don’t really have anything to say on the matter that isn’t already being said.

I want to assure for those who use this blog as a means of keeping in touch or working along with me: I am continuing my work, I am doing my studies. I have been communicating closely with those great powers whom I share space with and I have been taking and recording Omens.

I’ve not posted much of my work here lately as a lot of what I’ve been learning has been deeply personal and, at this time, doesn’t feel appropriate to share with a larger audience.

If you happen to look this way for guidance and support however, I will offer you some words.

Be kind to one another. It is normal to be angry and be scared but I employed you, please, do not thrash and gore blindly. In our connected modern times it is so, so easy to get washed up in a sea of blindfolds and whipping tusks. It’s a mob mentality that swings this way and that and, I fear, more and more it is being manipulated by people to advance agendas or worse: eliminate them.

So if you are hurt, if you are angry, if you have words that are important to say right now, that is good. Don’t discount them. Apply them considerately. And I don’t mean use them only in nice, pleasant ways. Use them in ways that you are certain will be effective. Even if it’s little work.

Keep doing good work. Make offerings, give ritual, be with your family, hold others close.

Brief Thoughts Following The Autumn Equinox

Goodness. What to say about this weekend? The start of the Autumn season has brought before my eyes the full scope of all that I have grown, harvested, and even spoiled.

My path goes ever onward. Where I once stumbled in the dark with ne’er a torch in hand, a flame I now carry. Where my path was fully unseen now shows matted grass, footprints, and signs along the way. I’m even starting to find small settlements, kind travelers, and creatures with tales to tell!

It’s almost like I’m figuring this stuff out. Go figure!

Continue reading “Brief Thoughts Following The Autumn Equinox”

Never Alone

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Tonight was one of those peculiar, unforgettable nights.

I had a pretty rough afternoon emotionally. I found myself overly stressed and overwhelmed with negative stimulus and thus barely managed to get through the bare minimum errands I needed to do.

Faced still with pressure to study anything/everything for DP work and this weekend’s ritual I kinda fried a little bit, not to mention feeling some intense pain in my leg to boot. Things were going kind of rough. I got home, had a bit of a lie down, and did a tiny bit of reading. Continue reading “Never Alone”

Things Are Starting To Come Together…

So my Grove pulls me to organize and lead our Autumnal Equinox ritual.

I get very nervous.

Time passes.

My nerves begin to settle as the planning meeting draws near.

I have a sudden encounter with Epona.

This thing with Epona starts to become a Really Big Deal.

I discover through deeper research that the Autumn Equinox was known to be associated with Epona.

Well my mind is blown. Time for bed.

In The Colorless Car, Out In Fields of Fête

Last night I had a peculiar dream.

I found myself in a small two door car. It was early morning or late afternoon, dark and raining outside. I was preparing to sleep. I slept in this car regularly and it was home to me. It felt very cozy even though I well acknowledged how unusual and awkward it was. I was also aware of the danger, being as exposed as I was.

The car was shades of grey and black, all color especially washed out by the pitter patter of ash gray rain. The only colors that jumped out were the yellow lights on the dash and the red lights on the door locks. I folded back a seat and put my head down.

I next found myself at some sort of outdoor festival. There were many tables and booths set up all over large rolling green hills. A pair of young women approached me and told me they wanted to “see the artist draw”. I was hesitant at first, turning my attention to research on my phone instead (it was Wikipedia if I properly recall) but eventually I agreed and started to plan out what I would put to paper. Instead of staying around the two women just turned and walked away. I watched them, puzzled, and they just vanished into the air at about 30 feet away or so. Just faded away.

So I closed my sketchbook, which I now realized was lined and rather full, and made my way to the stands and booths to perhaps buy a new sketchbook. There were many lovely stalls all with rustic handmade books but I never did make a purchase.

And that was the entirety of it as I can remember.

Let’s Talk A Little About That Eclipse

The “Great American Eclipse” occurred today. Some areas were able to experience a total eclipse of Moon passing over Sun and experienced the full marvel of such a rare event. Some areas like mine saw a far less drastic celestial shift. Still though, it was truly a rare event and the first of it’s kind for many.

I thought about writing something eclipsey all day since it occured, since the world around us turned a strange shade and, for a moment in time, the entire nation was transfixed on living magic. I initially thought to piece something together alluding to how love can eclipse hate or something like that, particularly considering some of the horrific recent events in America. I had serious reservations, however. While it is effortless for me to attribute love and care to our Moon I have a difficult time carelessly associating hatred and bigotry with He who is Sun. So no, that wouldn’t work for me at all.

So let’s discuss how an eclipse can lead one to rediscover magic around them. If asked to define what a magical work might be I would likely attempt to describe it as taking a moment of wild rarity: coincidence or happenstance or a flash of this or that, and knowing better how to guide it to you. Each and every time I commune with the Gods in my Inner Grove, or feel their touch in a moment of prayer or meditation, I feel that magic. I actually feel the energy in my skin and bones and blood and hair. It’s the feeling of a good twist in a film, or seeing something unbelievably beautiful. It’s a fleeting moment. It’s a fleeting moment I feel every time.

When I take omens at the altar, I too experience sensations that would otherwise feel random and fleeting. I feel sparks of inspiration. I feel calm and grounded. I fly or I fall as if in a dream. I see pieces and then a picture. This, too, is magic. This, too is that rare feeling.

Let’s not even talk about high day rituals and the symphony of sensations that erupt from there. When one person has the fleeting, sure. When forty have the fleeting sparks, whoa.

So that eclipse, right? It was a pretty big deal. Vendors were capitalizing on the craze, people were packing up cars and driving to other states to witness the full majesty of the event, people were going on and on about it on social media. It warmed my heart to see so many people around me legitimately psyched about such a rare celestial occurrence. And you know what? That’s magic. Even if you didn’t cook up a spell or plan a ritual or specifically send a prayer or song or kind word to She and He as They touched for that rare moment in so many years, even if you did none of that you got to experience true magic of life, of the earth, of the stars.

I urge you. If you acknowledged that moment of magic, hold it dear inside you. Find a way to expand on it or celebrate it going forward. Moments of true magic and hope and joy are not always in abundance and even if you feel truly overfull of blessings it would be so very kind of you to guard that glittering seed of magic and plant it somewhere so that others may prosper.

And if by chance you may have not noticed that fleeting spark, not felt that telltale shiver of great power, of that rare moment, perhaps look back and remember the moment while it is still fresh. Go back in your mind’s eye and see if you can find it, now that you’re looking for it. Magic has a funny way of poking holes in time.

Go. Seek magic. Do good. Love and honor life. This I ask of you.

 

Adder, Horse, and Wren Indeed

Well this morning brought a surprise. Through inspiration and vision I found myself to have come across Epona, Goddess of Horses, the great Mother of Gaul, protector of animal companions. Our meeting was sudden (at least to me) and brief but She has been well on my mind all day since. Her hooves beat gently in the back of my mind, the very thought of Her sending those telltale shivers through my body.

It breathes new context into last night’s omens. A change, a bolt from the sky, and Horse of course.

It is beyond thrilling to know a new friend has crossed my path. I hope I can make Her visit worthwhile.

A Return To The Altar, A Return To A Dialogue, A Return To The Dedicant Path

It has been too long.

I found myself drawn to my altar, now smaller in size than it once was, calling to The Kindreds initially out of personal obligation, a desire to return to a regular routine. Unsurprisingly this little sit with the dishes, stones, sticks and lights snowballed into a dialogue. I find myself once again embarking on the Dedicant Path. My calling echoing once again, the sound of it pounding against excuses and the strangeness that is Life As It Happens.

So I felt a need to draw omens. The Oracle hummed at me. I took the deck and held it against my breast. It had grown cold where it sat. I wanted it to be warm again. I turned it and shuffled it and rubbed it and smelled it until I knew there were words to be said and turned cards.

For some funny reason in my head I ended up drawing for Ancestors, then Shining Ones, then Nature Spirits. But that’s what happened. The Honored Dead brought to me the Adder. The Gods brought to me Wren, reversed. The spirits of Earth brought me Horse, reversed.

The message was pretty clear. I was experiencing a transformation. My journey was not going smoothly. My wit and my bond to the Gods was lacking, being wasted.

The first omen is pleasant to hear, I suppose. I have a difficult relationship with change. Perhaps how I see myself changing is experiencing a change. I would happily molt away that old skin. The second omen is something that, on the surface level, I want to say “Yeah, no shit.” but the creatures of the land see and hear far more than I could ever hope. I suppose it would behoove me to keep my ears open extra wide for the foreseeable future, lest I tumble into a ravine.

The Wren however… I mean, I get it. I haven’t sat at the altar earnestly in a very long time. I haven’t updated the journal since, like, March. And to a less patient Mother Bear my third crack at the DP would probably be an eye-roll. It’s also very, very easy to convince myself that some of the people in my life with whom I share my spiritual journey are little more than disappointed and irritated with me. I very well understand that there is waste.

So I dared to ask a follow up, directly to Dea Artio herself: What can I do to remedy that? How can I find the Wren’s lightning once more? To find that electric bond between my heart and the Gods?

The answer came as runes: Naudiz and Gebo. Continue to learn, engage in reciprocity.

I am literally the worst child. I whine and sigh and dramatize at how I’m doing poorly in school and I get in response “Just keep doing your work, you doofus.”

But it doesn’t matter does it? It never feels like my work is good enough. I’ll never be as good as him or her or be as smart as them or have the insight they do.

Yes, yes. I know I know. You’re not doing it wrong. You’re good the way you are. I’ve heard it. Why is it so damn hard to just… Accept and comprehend it?