been negligent about this blog, been of course too busy with life, jobs, garden(much neglected), family (somewhat neglected), and more work. but also life has been in much flux. I guess that is what the omens have been saying all along.
Our dear grove member Elizabeth has been on her own whirlwind life adventure- house hunting, buying, selling at a mad dash pace- which is great for her and her family though sad for us and our grove. This equinox will be the last with her as a NYS resident. How the years have flown. I cannot say enough about our gratitude for the worship together, for her gentle words, shared food, kind spirit and focus. We would not be a grove if we had not met her. We trust she will return and we will field trip to her, but we know it won’t be as often together honoring our Kindred and marking time.
Perhaps this oncoming season is always a time of tears and joy. Of mixed blessings and wistfulness.
This past Lughnasa we met a recently relocated ADF member, who happened to be the only other person for ritual. Many try to come, but all our lives are so full and so distant. We do our best to gather to honor the Gods, Gods who give meaning to life.
Heather doesn’t drive and her mom drove her out here to the boonies. We all live in the same county but with back woods roads and up the mountain, it is always a hike to get here. We had made food and had cleaned the house, as always for the Kindred and always just a bit more especially when people who have not been here before are expected. Our house is eclectic and artsy with uneven floors and things everywhere. We did not know this new person’s needs, and we set up to be good hosts. Bryan often talks about the hosting, hosting of other worldly guests. Hosting as sacrifice.
Our summer of too much work and growing up started with the equinox, our anniversary, RVGA’s barn dance, and a much needed staycation which was overcrowded with plans. But Bryan got to visit Isaac and we did have one day of nothing. And then the time from Solstice to Lughnasa was the summer. Camp and work and the farm tour and parties and plans and friends and visits =whirlwind.
Lack of rain, almost a drought, the stream became a quiet trickle and the hauling of 5 gallon buckets of water became a daily exercise. Looking towards the thunderstorms that usually come with Lughnasa, but there was no rain.
And Elizabeth was out of town and Susan too and everyone else was busy. So a small gathering under grey but not rainy skies. A good way to meet and make magic.
Talk and talk and talk- this holiday of boasts and bests and stories. We always tell the Lugh stories, the battles, the lore. And it’s the same with folk, we gather and share our histories, making things alive with the telling and retelling.
Lugh and Balor and Sacred Cows and Tlaitu and the first tomatoes and harvests. We wait all year for tomatoes. Hula hoops and contests and water and wine.
It seems so long ago that flowers were abundantly in bloom and we ate all our meals outside and thought about swimming, days endlessly stretching before us.
But Lugh reminds us of endings, of wrapping things up and we know autumn is coming. Sigh.
So before everything Bryan and I were sitting and talking about ritual and our grove and suddenly an eagle flew low and overhead, circling several times before flying high, riding the thermal drafts. An omen, a starter, a directional movement letting us know that it was time to begin. We then made a small fire in the close by the house fire pit before anyone showed up because we thought it might rain, as it always does on Lughnasa. Hudson taught us to get sticks that make a loud snapping sound for our tinder and he taught us a native song to gather wood by. He lit our fire and became our fire maker, our new fire maestro- perhaps young to replace Elizabeth, but also able and wise. It sprinkled as our fire caught blaze and we were set. He tended it well, until we were ready for ritual and with his handmade coal carrier he took a live log and led us to the 5 circle fire pit to light our ritual fire.
Broken eggshells ringed the circle, hot dogs for the outsiders, peppercorns for the Earth Mother, the last of our homemade cyser and bundles of grasses and flowers for our kindred. Our sacrifice of all kinds of things,the fragrant or spicy smoke quietly offering gratitude. The wail of the hawk, the silence of the grey skies, the simple fire, boy cuddled next to me these are my memories of our ritual. There was an absence without Elizabeth and a new blessed presence with Heather. Her mother arrived as we blessed our waters, mint water and we concluded with peaceful thanks. our omens were full of portent, thinking about our whole grove, the oil spill, our jobs and focus, our direction.
from the Ancestors: Kenaz a torch or a wound or a sore, pine- a resinous element, a shaper or a lighter, a transformer
from the Spirits of Nature & Place: Thuruz, thorn or boundaries, protection & defense
from the Gods & Goddesses:Othala or Odul, sacred enclosure, again rather protective
for the season: Hagal, hail or disruption, change
and we found a forgotten rune- having lain hidden by the fire until now- Uruz, the primordial ox- a growing living dynamic of strength
So thinking of all that, we gently walked back to the house, carrying our empty bowls, and wished Heather safe home, and had a simple family dinner.