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All-Day Eating-and-Singing on the Grounds

We have this thing we do in the South.  It's called Homecoming but what it really is is a chance for reprobates and prodigals to return to the church of their wasted youth and to be welcomed home.  There is always a huge spread--fried chicken and homemade cakes and eleventy kinds of deviled eggs and potato salad.

The preacher prays over the food and at the drop of a hat. Gardeners and farmers head out to the churchyard and clean up weeds around the old headstones.  There is singing and working and gossiping and visiting and tea so sweet it makes your teeth ache.

Towards the end of the afternoon--it almost always takes place on Sunday afternoon in September or October--someone will make a big pot of fresh coffee in the familiar church kitchen and folks will sit and drink the strong brew.  There will be more singing and praying, and stories about the Ones Who Lie in the Yard.

O, law, remember that time that Mz Maxwell was canning piccalilly and the whole canner exploded?  Took the edge of the fireplace out and scared the cat so bad hit never did come back.

I was thinking about Walt Coleman the other day and the way he'd whistle right up to the church door but never would whistle inside the Lord's house. Remember that? Lord-a-mercy.

I haven't been to one of these in many years.  There isn't a church that was ever mine and September and October are pretty darned busy in my Pagan world.  But as the Mother Grove Goddess Temple's clergy team was considering the shape of the Autumnal Equinox public ritual, I remembered those old homecomings.  I've been wondering how many of those returnees stayed in their old home church and how many were simply there to appease an elderly parent.

We decided we'd celebrate the Equinox old-school and have a big feast and sing and dance and remember the harvest. We'll meet in a local park and invite all those Beltane/Samhain Pagans to join us as the harvest fills us and the Winter begins to loom.

The world is a fraught place right now. So much to grieve, to mourn, such an effort to contemplate change in the face of our lack of agency in most of the situations that trouble us so deeply. We know it's time to deepen our daily practice, to ground in the dear Earth, to reach out to our community and our family--whether birth or chosen.

Time to come together and eat casseroles and good pie and drink sweet tea. Time to tell the old stories and tend the graves and regroup as the year lengthens towards Samhain.

Time to head home.

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