Dumb suppers for many days, since the first hard cold winds began to blow, since the Wyrrd was everywhere and we felt the need to feed passing spirits. And yet the night before ritual, we didn’t, and what we left out that night wasn’t.
Now a few weeks later there are no longer any leaves, and we are snow-covered. We are living our tasks and our days and looking forward and staying present at the same time.
the sun rises later and dark comes instantly now. weird weather takes us from snow to 70° and back to snow and cold.
Notes from just after ritual with rants from now in italics,
in no particular order:
for weeks feeding the spirits
beef bones & bunny crackers
bread & fruit & gin
not every night this past week nor even the night before
watching the ritual of feeding and consuming feeling the active process of reciprocity as devotional humanity
scheduling and lists
the owl like a coyote the night before
peregrine falcon outside my window that afternoon
and now in these last weeks we have seen multiple owls and eagles flying right in front of our driving selves many hawks just staring large crows alone in the tops of trees
so things lined up and timing went well, we were to have a full house in what became the first snow. Coming home from a day a week of juggling work and life and easily set up baking pies and such pre-thanksgiving like, past Halloween’s overload a thoughtful Samhain, lovingly brought into this world like a baby. Bryan as always crafts fire altars while I am out, sculptural sacrifice sometimes seen and sometimes unseen. who and what is our sacrifice for? Cleaning and shopping and cooking and filling baskets. When it all flows simply we realize we are participant in and not necessarily master of ceremonies.
quicker than we thought the darkness came and the moon rose full and alive freeing herself from the trees’ branches echoing the candles we tried in vain to keep alight.
while standing out taking pictures it felt like it was snowing which in fact it was. the magic was palpable
waiting for who would arrive, setting candles in the dark at the 5 circle fire large enough for everyone but so far away in the dark of Samhain we decided to stay close to home at the fire we had lit for light for warmth for spirit
sacrifice assembled as folks arrive
first she comes beautiful and smiling with her new man, who lived in the artist studio building Bryan & I met in; then lovely folks we had never met except virtually through the Druid Organization we are all members of; then more Druids- a whole family with charming toddlers and their friend; and then another whole family who are friends with our family.
Wholeness and Holy and Family and Friends gathered inside with snacks and trucks and each other while I go back and forth tending the fire outside, supporting the company inside. I sat down on the floor to listen to pre-rit and the little boy comes over and climbs in my lap and looks up at me and smiles and says ”Are you happy?” oh yes, immensely happy.
one brought a shiny pomegranate and wore a fine cloak
and played a large wooden flute
which was like from an other world.
others shared dried flowers and silent prayers.
small children offering vibrant roses as sacrifice
older children taking great pictures
and huddling near their moms.
acrid smell of burning bread, crackers, garlic
and the sage, lavender
and sweet burnt sugar
emptying my pockets of petals and seeds and prayers
grateful for and letting go of
old medicine scripts
may we never need you again
Fires came back to flame with a puff or a flare
I am a good fire tender, I will one day come to own that
hovering over the flame is like being in it
the smoke is like my breath and fills my tears.
the whole sweetgrass bundle as final sacrifice
3 things about this ritual from my kid the next day:
it seemed faster (lots of folks in the dark especially kids make for to-the-point ritual) the little kids were sort of distracting (well, yeah, that is the beauty and challenge of family) the Rune ring instead of real Runes was different (Bryan used a ring for Rune casting recently gotten at ComicCon)
We had to remember the omens because we couldn’t take a picture OSMU-OSMU-OSMU from the Ancestors:Odul –Sacred Enclosure, what we keep safe from the Spirits of Nature & Place:Sowleu-the Sun its journey and its motion from the Gods & Goddesses:Manaz or the Self for the Season:Uruz -the Primordial Ox, the Aurochs, the super strength within things
we had our snow-tinged water from our colorful shot glasses children sharing with their adults.
much later, while we were feasting, the large fire circle with its intricate and entwined branches and stalks and sticks went up in flames from one candle that did not go out. It burned full and completely and it must have been large. Bryan saw the very end of the sacrifice.
And in the morning the remaining reeds were strewn like runes we could not read.
Sometimes rituals and gatherings are so full in the moment, in the being, that writing is hard. And yet without the writing, the telling and retelling of the stories we forget.
learning painting tips, painting a vision from a year ago raptors overhead in the warming sun after a grey cold day when we could sense winter approaching
most folks occupied many at the Climate March representing in person what we held sacred here alone just us the 2 of us.Is is so dry here that even a cloudburst last night is invisible. Except for the wind.
So we had thoughts about a big fire, or even a small fire in the woods but the land so waterless and us still needing to be able to sit and be comfortable we decided on the small close to the house fire pit and at first light only small branches in a metal bowl at the top of the trunk of an old xmas tree still holding up the sun chimes and serving as our sacred tree at this site. We placed or poured or tossed all our sacrifice into the not-yet-lit center and with patience and effort transferred the flame from the small contained embers to the short-lived intense blaze consuming it all.Let this fire be a good fire, Let it carry our prayers.
Just peaceful being here, being present remembering to take pictures not thinking about others only the others the Kindred the birds the bees the folks marching the Earth Mother each other. Sometimes and especially lately it has been hard. We are not yet done crying, at least I am not.
But this circle of seasons, so strange in its passing of time is so very grounding. Literally. Soon the ground will be covered with leaves, then snow. And then buds and vole tracks. Equinoxes are busy. This moment in time, almost imperceptible, and yet absolute. It is different now, afterward.
Cutting up the sassafras leaves and branches for the fire, putting out gathered sacrifice, staying on the time schedule almost as a means of remembering. We ask out loud a lot these days ”What day is it? What time is it?” and then soon afterward again ”What day is it? What time is it?” We have been rebalancing in all these changes- Earth changes life changes family changes health changes
Earth changes life changes family changes health changes. (add punctuation as needed)
It was a beautiful ritual, so lost in the meditation on and with the Earth, I came to the directions from far away it seemed.
Redirecting our energies with the orientation of this planet, bunny crackers, orange like fall, in handfuls like bunny poop in each direction. Not a trace of them the next morning.
The East of vision like the eagle or the hawk and rising each new day to that light and the South of our environmental lessons and our family of 400,000 peacefully gathered together due south of us and the West of our neighbors and the sun setting exactly on center and the North of the coming Winter and the White Buffalo and good healing for ourselves and our families and our Earth Mother. And the up and the down and the center.
Moth-full tortilla flour gifted with love to the Earth, falling in dust and clumps, she supports us all.
dark pink rose for Mananan, surrounding us with its scent and also fermented cider with intoxicating apple smell, then a white rose for Goddess Bridget and more cider in a circle with gratitude. Our outsiders offering towards the woods with kindness Bryan brought peach scraps, rotted parts and pits from our first harvest & processing of this year. He returned with the container filled with fresh whole fruit. Like a magic trick. Balancing and rebalancing.
dried flowers for the Ancestors-all our ancestors, those humans who were, our family, friends and family especially those recently passed, our teachers, our inspiration, artists from the last century, scientists and writers, farmers and actors, people who struggled and lived and loved and died.
garlic stalks from the last of last year’s harvest for the Spirits of Nature and Place-rocks and hummingbirds and crows and blue jays and bees and cats and wind and clouds and sun and all the water and waterways and animals and bugs and grass and flowers and seed heads and fruit and mold and rot and compost and so much more on this amazing planet.
dried Thuja branch trimmings for the Gods & Goddesses, the shining ones and the eventual match for our fire.
lighting the fire as final sacrifice and also tossing in the three corns-chips, crumbs & meal for the season.
Circles of offerings of circles letting go of old and no longer needed circles grateful for healing circles prayers for helpful new circles grapevine wreath from last year sweetgrass wreath from last season small wreath from my pocket
so gentle and focused just the two of us.
reaching into the endless bag of divination (it’s bigger on the inside) finding all or enough of the runes
from the Ancestors: Jera or harvest or a year
from the Spirits of Nature & Place: Berkanu or birch or beginnings
from the Gods & Goddesses: Kenaz or the torch or the shaping & crafting
for the Season: Fehu or fee. We get the same or some of the same omens a lot, we are being told to listen listen to what we know
hallowing the waters and a bit of mint flowers in the leftover smoldering smoke. 2 large glasses and a bit extra Bryan drinks his down continuously and slowly and I drink mine in several long sips with long breaths in between.
Oh thank you everyone, finish the cider all.
We sit and we hug We walk into the nemeton to see the sun set through the entrance due West from due East We talk about this life, this season, the dry stream, our growing son, changing times, the Earth Mother