The actual Autumn Equinox felt more like Summer’s last gasp. The leaves were changing, but the heat was intense for September in Upstate NY. It makes me glad that my grove decided to celebrate a week later. Yesterday was perfect. The air was finally cool; the wind had a bite. The sun shined through flocks of happy clouds. It was the perfect day to stand around a bonfire surrounded by standing stones.
Before ritual, my daughter had seen me working on offerings throughout the week. I embroidered a token and an ornament. I decorated a stone. She saw me go into a liquor store to get Brighid’s favorite. She decided she wanted to make offerings, too. Without any prompting, she started to draw pictures for Brighid and the Nature Spirits. It was so precious. She even wanted to roll them up and tie them with pretty yarn. It made my chest swell with pride to see her so interested in giving back to say thank you for all our blessings. My husband and I even saw her singing along to some of our chants during ritual.
My friend Cassandra lead the rite. She did a remarkable job, as always. I’m so proud of her. She recently completed her Dedicant Path, and now I have a study buddy for the Initiate Program!
Our ritual honored the Earth Mother and gave thanks for the harvest. Our magical working was to send healing wherever it was needed, and to keep that light with us so that we could remember ways to help. With everything happening in the world, I feel like I went to a dark place with my ritual parts. We called to various Indo-European Earth Mothers. I called to Gaia and Macha – both goddesses who were mistreated by others, be they other gods/Titans, or kings and other men. Gaia was in an abusive relationship. Macha was betrayed and forced to hurt herself while pregnant, resulting in a curse on all the men of Ulster. I spoke of outwitting oppressors, and escaping victim-hood. I spoke of the Earth as the ultimate mistress, who will always have the last laugh if we mistreat her. When I called to the Gods, I felt compelled to talk about how we strive to emulate their better qualities rather than their failings, much as children should do with their own parents. Clearly, the news is getting to me, but I always see ritual as an important time to reflect on the lore, how it relates to what is happening in the now, and how it all translates to our Druidism.
I see the darkness, but I also see my daughter’s growing involvement. Like a little candle herself, she gives me strength and hope.