Friday, September 21, 2012

Nin, the Ash

 I'm attempting to embark on a study of the Ogham to have a more historical-feeling divination tool within ritual.  Unfortunately, having my tarot cards nearby imparts an entirely different feel than I'd like to have for my Druid work.  Each day I'll be picking an Ogham at random to study, and then setting it aside so I'll have a smaller pile to choose from the next day.

Today I chose Nin, the Ash.  In Erynn Rowan Laurie's book Ogam, Weaving Word Wisdom she states that this symbol is also associated with the nettle and a weaving loom, which was often constructed from ash wood.  This symbol primarily represents connections, both physical and metaphysical.  When we work to make connections with those in our community, or become closer with those we don't know as well, we are doing the work of this Ogham.  In John Matthews' Green Man Tree Oracle, which focuses more on the trees of the Ogham, we learn that the ash tree is incredibly sturdy; and manages to survive winds that may fell other trees with its deep roots.  Thus, we see that the strength of a person depends just as much on the unseen as what we can see.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Perfect Fall Day

It's beautiful outside today - a lovely 60 degrees with a clear blue sky as far as the eye can see.  The eggplants are all ready for harvesting, and the tomatoes are beginning to ripen - the branches are hanging down almost to the ground, covered with fruit!  It's the time of year for long walks, raking leaves, and finishing up all the yardwork summer left undone.  Mabon is right around the corner!  It's September 22nd this year, so we'll have a nice open Saturday for celebrations.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quiet now, as we gather to conjure the rain down..

Autumn has come to the prairie, and with it we're finally getting a bit of rain!  There was a beautiful storm last night that hung over the area through the evening, and gave us more than 1 1/2 inches.  I must admit that autumn has never been my favorite season, and I have a difficult time appreciating it.  I don't like the cold, and I love to be outside, so the end of summer is always sad for me.

And so my spirituality now naturally turns away from the wild gods of tree and stream, and focuses more on hearth and home; just as my family's outside activities are also driven indoors.  I've been re-exploring my love for tarot cards this past month or so, and thankfully it has given me a creative outlet to stave off the seasonal mood dip that's so common this time of year.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Preparing for Mabon

The nights are becoming a bit longer, the days a bit shorter.  Here on the prairie, we've been watching the canadian geese and many other birds pass us by on their way south.  My extremely late-planted garden is finally yielding a harvest, and even some of the trees are yellowing a bit.  There's no denying it: Fall is upon us.

Maybe it's because fall is not my favorite season - I have trouble seeing the good in cold weather, and no matter how hot it's been I miss summer already!  Maybe it's because this is my first year really gardening and providing part of my own subsistence.  Whatever it is, I have a really hard time distinguishing between the holidays of Lughnasadh and Mabon.  Sure, Lughnasadh is the bread feast while Mabon is more about fruits and veggies, but to me it's never been enough of a difference to really set the two holidays apart.  So this Mabon will be my attempt to really appreciate the holiday in a way that is separate and distinct from the first of the Harvest holidays.

First of all, and most importantly, this year my feast will have fruits and veggies from my own garden.  There's nothing better than homegrown tomatoes, and I plan to make good use of them.  Homemade veggie pizza is on the menu, and hopefully my bell peppers will start fruiting in time to be included!  All this feasting is very similar to Lughnasadh, and honestly if I'd have gotten my plants in the ground earlier, they'd probably be ready for a first harvest closer to the first of August than September.

I recently was reminded of the liminal between-ness of the equinoxes, and I'm hoping to really recognize that this year.  Samhain is traditionally the feast of the ancestors, spoken of as the festival where the veil between our world and theirs is the thinnest; but perhaps Mabon can be thought of as sort of the twilight before Samhain's full darkness.  The light thins and comes through only in slanting rays, as all the colors mix together and the world goes in to a soft-focus of sorts.  Whereas Samhain is for the ancestors, and Lughnasadh seems uniquely fitted to celebrating the nature spirits, perhaps Mabon is the perfect holiday for really getting in touch with the gods and goddesses.  In my tradition, before the sun or moon were placed in the sky light came from another source, one that never really rose or set but instead faded in and out between silver and gold.  The world was bathed in the same half-light that I imagine Mabon represents.  So for me, I want to establish this holiday as reminiscent of that same time, when the gods and goddesses walked under the trees and helped to shape the world.