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Posts Tagged ‘Autumn 2011’

The wheel of the year has turned and, once again, we find ourselves entering the dark half of the year with Samhain.  Our ancestors walk the Earth once more now that the veil is thin.  The Cailleach is awake and covers the land with her frosty shroud.  The Morrigan flies overhead looking out for the sick and weak to pick off.  The Pooka claims the last of the year’s berries on the vine.  Winter is here.

How does this Druid mark the occasion?

On Saturday, Weretoad and I went to Muin Mound to celebrate.  It was a magical celebration held in the main nemeton.  We hardly see it outside of Samhain.  It’s usually too buggy or caked with snow to get to.  We lit torches and stood in a grove of trees filled with glowing jack-o-lanterns to honor our ancestors.

This year’s jack-o-lanterns carved from pumpkins and turnips.  Weretoad’s are on the left and mine on the right.  Many in my grove talked about waning to carve turnips as is traditional, but worried it would be too difficult.  Hubby and I have been doing it for four or five years now and it’s actually quite easy.  Perhaps a workshop is in order for next year?
Of course we have candy for any trick-or-treaters.  It’s so much fun to see the wee ones in their costumes.
I did a *ton* of baking.  Vegan veggie pot pie for pot luck at the grove.  It was delicious!  Of course, we gave a slice to the ancestors.
I also made some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with the goop from our jack-o-lanterns.  Some of these were given to the ancestors as well.

I worked on an offering for The Morrigan.  This was placed on the fire.  It looked quite gruesome as it burned but seemed a very fitting as a gift to Lady Death.
Offerings for the ancestors at our family altar.  If you look close, you can see the swirl of incense smoke…

 

Delicious baked pumpkin seeds, freshly made green juice (I’m calling it Witch’s Brew), and my newly arrived “Oak Leaves” – complete with articles for Yule!  I’m already excited. :D
I hope your Samhain is enjoyable and that you have a blessed new year!  Before bed, I’m going to do some divination.  It is a good time for it!

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The Morrigan is to be honored at Samhain as she is the Goddess of death.  What’s more, when An Dagda slept with her on a Samhain night, she, a Goddess of sovereignty and battle, looked to the Tuatha de Dannan with favor and brought them victory in war.  Samhain is her time, thus the reason for my posting this song – “The Morrigan” by Omnia.

 

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I couldn’t resist posting “This is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”  It’s a great reminder of the fun (and even the necessity) to feel a little scared from time to time.  Samhain is a good holiday to reflect on our fears, especially those associated with death and the denizens of the Otherworlds.  While there are some who should be avoided and respectfully distanced, most are just part of life.  Spirits of death and decay are really just psychopomps to another state of being.  Samhain, while a somber occasion to remember our departed loved ones, is an excellent time to celebrate life and take solace in the humbling fact that we’re all going to die – we might as well have some fun while we can!

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This one is a bit corny sounding (something about the rock sound…) but I like it around this time of year.

“Samhain” by Inkubus Sukkubus

“Death has come for the summertime and to take the leaves of spring!”

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Tonight I give you “All Souls Night” by the ever wonderful Loreena McKennitt.  This song really gets me in the mood for Samhain…

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“Witches Brew” by Omnia.  This makes me want to dance  under the moon…

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I know I’m starting a few days late, but oh well!  As we move closer to one of my favorite holidays, I can’t help but partake in some seasonal music.  Here’s “Samhain Eve” by Damh the Bard.

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Around the Garden

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii growing in my rosemary pot.  My research says they won’t harm

me or the plant.  I’m a little concerned about the spores getting on my herbs, but I guess that’s

why we wash things, right?  They’re also supposed to indicate healthy soil.

More lavender flowers.  Most of my herbs are inside now.  It’s nice to have some

flowers in my home!

This toad was tolerant enough to let me take his photo tonight.  He was taking a stroll

on the sidewalk.  He was as big as my hand!  This photo doesn’t do his size any justice!

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From High Day Celebrations

I apologize right now if this post rambles.  I’ve got a lot on my mind, I guess!

Blessed Autumn to everyone in the northern hemisphere!  I hope you’re enjoying the changing leaves, apple cider, and other signs of the season as much as I am.  Despite my busy schedule and doctor’s rest orders, I’m not about to miss a high day!  I decided to do a solitary ritual at home using my seasonal/family altar in the living room.  It’s not used as often for rituals but I’m thinking of doing any high day rites at home in this area.  My main altar is more personal whereas the work I do at the family altar is meant to impact the whole home.  Perhaps I’ll change my altar setup down the road, but this works for now.  It’s in a great area if I ever have Pagan company!

I decorated my altar with a swag of faux leaves from my wedding (Autumn is extra special to me because of those memories) and goodies from people I know, local farmers, and my own patio.  I also included a fabric pumpkin I made last year.  Unfortunately, I took this photo after I already put away some of my ritual equipment, but you get the gist.

I do a lot of solitary rituals, actually.  In fact, a majority of my Druidic life is spent on my own.  I usually join my grovies for high days, which is generally eight times a year.  I did miss celebrating with Muin Mound tonight.  A friend posted about liking ADF but feeling hypocritical driving long distances to worship the Earth Mother.  I sympathize with that sort of thinking entirely, but I’ve never let it stop me from going…  It does make me feel guilty when I stop and think about it (and I’ve thought a lot about it ever since I started going to Muin Mound), but for the time being I see no way around it.  I want the physical community, I don’t have the time or energy to develop it in the North Country (right now), but I have to drive a ways to get there.  We only meet a handful of days out of the year, and I’ve already taken many strides towards a more sustainable life.  Not that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do more…  I just don’t want to guilt myself out of doing something that is genuinely meaningful to me or downplay the efforts I have made.  On the other hand, her comment made me once more consider starting a grove…  It would be nice not having to drive so far.  Perhaps when grad school is over, I will consider it.

For now, the new season’s omens are clear – I need to do my best to stay afloat of my current challenges and accept my limitations.  Sometimes it’s difficult to just stop, stay home, and recuperate when your friends are doing fun things and you want to be there with them.  However, it’s Autumn.  The world around us is slowing down.  I need to do the same…  I’m afraid that means becoming a stronger person and saying “no,” even when I really don’t want to…

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I’m back from my sister’s lovely wedding and back to feeling out of sorts.  This is just not my year with regards to health, is it?  In addition to a cold or allergies, I’ve been experiencing some stomach discomfort. Before heading to the wedding, I was lucky enough to get an appointment with my doctor who thinks the cause is due to the medications I was taking after my oral surgery.  Oh hurray!  The wisdom teeth fun continues.  (It’s been over a month and I still can’t feel my lower right lip or chin.  I guess you can’t go into any surgery, no matter how minor, and expect to come out of it like before.)  I have to do some tests to make sure it isn’t anything worse, and in the meantime my diet’s been restricted and I’ve been instructed to rest as much as possible…  Difficult to do, but necessary.  Unfortunately, I’ve felt compelled to rescind my RSVP for my grove’s Autumn Equinox ritual and a folk-only camping trip at the end of the month.  My schedule is so hectic right now thanks to grad classes.  I feel that I barely have enough time to do homework.  I’m stressed and uncomfortable…  The last thing I need is to rush off after weekend classes all the way to Syracuse or the Adirondacks before having to rush back for another week of work and night classes!  I’m sad about it, but I have to prioritize my health and college this month.

In the meantime, I can focus a bit more on my Nine Moons work while I’m relaxing at home.  The last quarter starts this week and I’ll be using it to catch up on the previous week’s ritual, some journaling, and reading.    I’ll also celebrate the turn of the seasons in my own little way.  I brought a few potted herbs in since the temperature is dropping dramatically.  The hag of winter is waking up and shaking the icy dust from her blankets.  Last night I witnessed frosted fields.  The farmers are starting to mew their cornfields.  Tonight I heard some Canada geese heading south for the winter…

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