I know we traditionally associate Beltane with sexuality, but autumn is a lively time of year for many life forms. There are nuts dropping all over the place, the deer will be rutting soon, and the fungi are waving their genitals.
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Autumn is my favorite season. As the Autumnal Equinox/Mabon/Alban Elfed approaches, I’m thinking of how this season has always carried a sense of magic and spirit… of descent into the sacred secrets of time… a place of reckoning, with a wise power that can see you as you go, while all the foliate cover falls away… a place where truth can’t hide. Truth is powerful and healing and terrible and cleansing and undeniable, and this is the cathartic season where you feast on it, and it feasts on you.
I spent a bit of time in my garden yesterday, and one emotion overwhelmed me more than any other: despair, and yearning.
Well, that’s a bit dramatic. But I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking about the Wheel and how it relates to my practice, and the seasons too, and this season is definitely my least favourite. For me, the seasons are intrinsically connected to my practice, which is indeed earth-centred and intimately connected with the land. Working with, and not against, the land can be a challenge at times. Especially when the seasons turn harsh and the spiritual struggles that accompany, particularly the sense of ‘waiting’ can be the bane of the more impatient amongst us!
Americans still haven't celebrated our secular harvest holiday yet (Thanksgiving)-- which marks the unofficial change from autumn to winter, even if the official shift falls on the Solstice. So I think it's still appropriate to honor Freyr, especially at lower latitudes.
Today, heading to school, I caught a glimpse of the most heart-stopping sky: it was a sea of roiling clouds, a dark cantata of a dozen shades of grey, spewing forth streams of silver reminding me, as I shivered in the chill air, surrounded by the riotous crimsons and golds of leaves in their death throws, that the time of the Wild Hunt is upon us.
With November comes the cold, the first promise of winter. With November comes Odin, for to many of us who venerate Him, this is His month, and with Odin comes the Wild Hunt. With November also comes Veterans Day and hard on the heels of the ancestor festivals of late October, it's a good reminder to take a moment to honor our military dead....
As I sit here, writing this, the rain taps at the window, the wind howling down the street, carrying with it the scent of winter and the first of the autumn leaves. The sky is fast moving and furious – low dark grey clouds set amidst a backdrop of pure white/grey. The central heating has been turned on. The apples are juicy on the trees. The starlings are flocking together. Welcome, Autumn.
My favourite season – as you may have guessed. From bright, sunny days where the sun shows the last of its strength, to watery, wind-filled days like these, it is a season of change like no other. Quick, altogether too quickly, it is over, at least the Fall is, when the leaves change and drop to the ground. After that, it seems Winter is here – only allowing Autumn a brief time of grace to shine in her beauty before all is blanketed under the dreamy cold slumber of Winter....
(photo of Burdock plant by Christian Fischer)
It is early October as I write this. Farm stands and store shelves are groaning with local produce; glowing pumpkins of all sizes and colors, varieties of apples, apple cider and pies, jams and jellies made from local fruits and berries, broccoli, garlic, fennel and grapes, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, beets, cauliflower, chard, celery, kale, leeks and lettuce, mushrooms of all kinds, onions, parsley and pears, potatoes, peas and turnips. Local fruits and vegetables displayed in rows like rough jewels to be taken home to be cut, refined and processed....