Living the Wheel: Seasonal Musings of the Pagan Year

Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.

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Sources of Comfort

   It is the season of Lughnasadh: the final bright blaze of summer, ripe with bounty. The early morning mist rising over the river is just touched with the barest whisper of frosts to come. Autumn is approaching, imperceptive, yet inevitable. Even this early, as the first day of the season has only just passed us by, I am thinking ahead. Not planning, but daydreaming, anticipating the comforts of home, hearth and family that only this season seems to bring. Autumn is the season of comfort: Spring gives us freshness and hope, Summer joy and play; Winter is a time of introspection and rest. But Autumn? Autumn is harvests and canning, baking and freezing. Autumn is abundance and comfort.

   What exactly is comfort? A dictionary will tell us that comfort is "a state of ease and contentment." This stark analysis hardly conveys the true essence of comfort. Comfort is a feeling, a scent, a sound, a flavor. It is knowing your family has food and shelter; it is your children's arms around you welcoming you home from work. It is the scent of your spouse's coffee brewing first thing in the morning: you may not drink the vile stuff, but he does, and that rich, bitter scent means he's there with you, probably fixing your morning tea as he fixes his coffee.

   Comfort is the spicy-sweet tang of the barbecue chicken your older son made for dinner so you wouldn't have to cook when you got home from work; it is the joining of hands around the dinner table, candles lit and prayers of thanksgiving said for the harvest's bounty.

   Comfort is your youngest child, all legs and arms and enormous blue eyes, collapsing in a sweetly sticky heap in your lap after a hard day's play, snuggling close and drifting off to sleep. It is waking in the middle of the night with your spouse's arm around you and a gently purring cat curled against your stomach.

   Comfort can be found in so many places: a conversation with a close friend, in the sweeping instrumentals of your favorite composer, in the pages of your favorite books, the ones you've read so often you nearly know the passages by heart. Comfort is found in the yellow pansies in your window box, just like the ones your grandmother loved so. Comfort bubbles up in the joy you feel on seeing a rainbow arching over your town on a summer afternoon. It is found in the goodwill and cheer of those you pass on the street: in their smiles you see the hope for humanity.

   Perhaps comfort, or a lack of, is the foundation for so much of the world's strife. When we lack basic comfort we lack security. When we are lacking in security we fear. And fear breeds misunderstanding and conflict. 

   Providing comfort to those less fortunate than ourselves is a daunting task; we cannot save the world no matter how much we may wish to. Instead, do what you can. My new workplace is participating in a 'Fill the Belly Bus' food drive, and I donated cans of beans and tomatoes with chilies, the makings of a simple but filling chili. Someone will go to sleep knowing their children have full tummies. As the Autumn season progresses clothing drives will begin. Do you need to do a big fall cleaning? Set gently-used clothing aside and give someone the comfort of a warm sweater or a skirt and shoes they can wear to a much-anticipated job interview. Also, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America collects donations each month. Even if you are unable to offer material goods or volunteer time, you can offer comfort in a genuine smile and a 'Good Morning' to a stranger you pass on the street. Never underestimate the power of a warm smile. And finally, always, always give thanks for the comfort in your life, whether home, family, job, pets, friends, all of these or only one. However few comforts in your life, there may be someone who has less than you.

   May the blessings of the season brighten your lives with comfort and abundance.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of America:

Fill the Belly Bus:

Dress for Success:

Make a Wish Foundation:

American Red Cross:

Meals on Wheels:

Local Food Banks:

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I am a writer and poet living in western Massachusetts. I have a degree in English Lit, with a focus on the nineteenth century, and am working toward a degree in Women's Studies as well. My work has previously appeared in The Pagan Activist, The Pagan Review, GrannyMoon's Morning Feast, and The Montague Reporter. I am currently working on a series of children's books, a novel trilogy, and a poetry manuscript (I simply can't do one thing at a time!). I also have several random fantasy-based short story projects that I attack once in a while.   I am a Dianic Pagan and practice Kitchen Wicca, and am also a Reiki Master. For a glimpse into my own little corner of reality, you can stop in and visit me at Ellie.


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