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Posts Tagged ‘wheel of the year’

So, after years of dithering and dabbling, I’ve decided to begin.

I guess it’s not so much a ‘beginning’ since I’ve been one-toe-in for over a year now so…I guess I’m saying, I’m committing.

I think I’m going to commit from Yule to Yule, a full year, of daily practice of some kind. I’m not going to label it or try to shape it.

I’ve recently had some success in my life in areas of life-long self-sabotage. I finished NaNoWriMo and damn near completed the novel (!!). Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, I did it. The fall garden is doing well. I’m doing great things for my body, consistently and lovingly, which is such a change from the violent relationship of the past.

It’s kind of like house cleaning. Now that I have certain things in order I want to commit to a year–I think–of spiritual practice. How does this look? I’m not sure. Will it be scheduled? Eeeeh. I’ve tried to schedule such things before and it doesn’t happen for me. But is that part of the work? Committing to a schedule? I’m not sure. I’m going to take the next three weeks to consider, plan and pray…and we’ll see.

I’m excited. This feels right in a very deep place.

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Jack-O-Lantern, standing (sitting?) sentinel for the night

Colcannon, beer and trick-or-treater goodies.

Tarot reading. It was confusing. It'll take some time to decipher.

Remembering the beloved dead and promising that I'd tell their stories

A prayer and dedication for myself, as well.

Cakes (pumpkin muffins) and ale (Harvest Moon) for myself, and an offering of thanks and remembrance

Is Halloween creepy because we make it so in our minds? Is it our culture, our psychology? I don’t know. But something about the first drop in temperature and rustling leaves makes you feel like something other is nearby, right at hand. Almost palpable.

Yesterday was like that for me. I don’t know if it was a real intuition or just cultural expectation, but the whole day felt a little…? I don’t even know the word. I could say “full”, because the air felt full of…what? I could say “breezy” because it was that, for sure, but there was also a different kind of wind, one that crawled up your neck and rested behind your ears, just on that spot that at once tickles and feels good.

Last night after we shut down our candy operation I went outside on our patio for a short prayer ritual. It took a bit of concentrating to get in the right frame of mind. Once there the night absorbed me for a while. I prayed and read the Tarot–a confusing reading–and I remembered my relatives. I sat in silence for a while, contemplating the…deity, I suppose?…that has been calling to me. Wanting it to be and wanting it not to be at the same time.

Anyway, so as I was engaged in this silent meditation–and the next thing happened in about ten seconds–I heard something. A rustle. My mind registered it. Then I heard two steps on the dry grass (I shit you not!).

Then? Then I freaked the fuck out and ran inside. My husband gave me a headlamp (hah) and sent me back outside to finish what I was doing. He’s a good man.

Anyway.

So the cakes and ale portion was moved up on the list and I settled into a more comfortable rapport with the deity I was praying to. The evening finished out beautifully. I came inside completely energized and refreshed, but it was the best kind of energy–grounded, contented.

When I have time I’ll talk more about some different spiritual things that have been moving around here. The lead up to Samhain was very important, but as I’ve dedicated myself to National Novel Writing Month I feel like I should honor that engagement.

This whole entry seems so somber! Really. I wish there was video of me freaking out at the possum/spook incident. Any other night I would have…what? What would I have done? Who knows. It sounded like footfalls, and it was probably a racoon coming to eat the pumpkin muffins I set out.

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Misty Mabon Morning (...I love a good alliteration...)

Autumn, as noted many times on this blog, is my favorite time of year. Perhaps because it makes me take notice more as I try to feel every cool breeze and see every turning leaf. These small signs are precious to me, and they begin as early as mid-August, though you really have to look for them. The first rainstorm where the breeze slides cool and silky over your skin. The first hard drop of autumn rain as opposed to the big wet splats of summer.

And, of course, the Pumpkin Spice Latté at Starbucks, right?

I spent this Autumn Equinox/Mabon mostly inside with Claire, but we went on a walk and I made soup and enjoyed it with some hard cider. I had planned to do a ritual outside but weather, then mosquitoes, prevented that.

The day started misty, the light having a certain diffused, liminal quality that makes you feel like everything you see is somehow on a different plane than you are. The mist burned off (and so did the cool breeze) by the time Claire and I made it out for our morning walk. Instead we walked in hot, humid, soupy heat with the occasional lavender raincloud offering shade as it raced to gather with others for an afternoon storm.

Fields of wildflowers have given way to tall, golden grass

We walk in a park not too far from our house. It’s a nice place where the city has made a little marshland trail. Birds love it and in the summer I’d see Blue Herons, cranes, sparrows and wrens happily munching on minnows and assorted bugs. As Claire and I strolled through Wednesday morning the skies were quiet, save for the flitting of the occasional dragonfly.

Over the past few days a blackbird has sat on our bird bath watching the house. It got to the point where I started looking up myth and symbolism of the blackbird because I’d see if everyday, on the bath, watching the house. Since Mabon, however, the blackbird has gone. I remember on Wednesday noticing that there seemed to be hundreds of blackbirds roosting in the oak trees, caw-ing as they do, but since…since I’ve only heard the passing call and seen none.

Mushrooms sprouted after our extremely wet weather.

Recently the weather has been so wet. First a tropical storm rolled in and now just persistent moisture. The air is full of water, weather cool or hot, and is by turns pleasant (cool) and awful (hot). This weekend our first cool fronts will pass by and the temperatures will drop into the eighties, accompanied by dry air. Dry air signals the beginning of autumnal temperatures in Texas and will be a blessed relief from this summer’s persistent humidity.

After our walk Claire and I mostly stayed inside. Several afternoon and evening showers dumped rain on us and by the time Jonathan got home I had begun to cook dinner. We ate a vegetable, barley and chicken soup and drank hard cider. After dinner I went outside to enjoy dusk. The lavender rain clouds were gilded gold by the setting sun and made for a beautiful twilight.

Acorns are all over the ground from the ubiquitous oak trees

Dusk on Mabon

All in all, a pleasant and quiet holiday.

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Last night Claire went down for a nap and Jonathan and I took a few minutes to clean up. At the time I was annoyed and irritated (just those vague feelings that usually accompany a lack of sleep or something you’re neglecting in your life). As I mopped I thought about what was irritating me.

I realized that before Claire, as I mopped I would think about cleaning out negative energies and thoughts, “throwing away” bad behaviors and making my home a more hospitable place. I thought about those things with ANY chore, because I hate chores and it made them feel more tolerable. Over time I actually began liking to do housework.

Last night, I mopped with a singular intention: finish before she wakes up. Midway through I realized that I wasn’t doing a good job, I was just becoming more upset and…well, if I’m just going to end angrier than I began, what’s the point?

So, I slowed down. I began to “mop up” those thoughts. When I finished I felt good. I felt like a small piece of myself had been restored.

If that’s all the spiritual work I have time for these days, then that’s fine. I have to accept that.

In other news, I’m excited for Mabon. I didn’t have the energy to give Lughnasadh more than a passing thought, but with corn and pumpkins growing in the back and I’m sowing beets, carrots, lettuces, parsnips and turnips today…Yes, harvests are in full swing and autumn is coming.

More thoughts on motherhood and spiritual walks later—I’ve been thinking a lot about pursuing a divergent (from my family) spiritual path and what that means for Claire. Lots of conflicting thoughts. Any comments or advice to consider would be greatly appreciated!

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Yes, that is the title of a Bones episode. But it fits!

As in, the garden has ended:

The Empty-For-Now Garden

Last weekend my parents came to help us out before the baby. Mom and I spent some time pulling up all of the spent vines and all of the buggified vines. It was sad, in a way, but also left me with a great feeling of accomplishment. I had finished a garden season, from preparing to planting to harvesting to giving the vines back to the earth in the form of the compost bin.

But even as that part of the garden ended, yesterday Jonathan planted corn and pumpkins for the fall. In six weeks, after Claire, the kitchen garden will start again with spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, leeks, lettuce, carrots…It’s not that far away.

However, the more present beginning on my mind is having a baby.

I like the idea of having a Lughnasadh baby. Claire and I have been on a journey together since Samhain, followed through a dark winter into Imbolc, and with Beltane and the Summer Solstice I really began to accept motherhood and the changes that would follow. It just seems so perfect that I’d have her around harvest and that we’d become more acquainted as the sun waned again towards Mabon and Samhain.

Anyway. There’s not much to say besides that. I’m definitely in a period of waiting. I’ve been full term for two weeks now and have another three to go before any sort of drastic measure might be taken. I’ve had “signs” but “signs” don’t mean much, so I’m just here waiting.

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Happy Summer Solstice/Midsummer/Litha, everyone!

I intended to wake up this morning to watch the sun rise. Instead, I woke instead at 7:38, precisely 10 minutes after the official solstice time in my time zone.

Alas. Such is the value of sleep to a 8-month pregnant woman.

So today I have been taking photos during my errands of things that seem ‘solstice-y’ to me and making notes in “that journal”–the one that’s not my main one, but I don’t know what to call it yet.

Hope you enjoy.

Solstice Breakfast: biscuits and honey, watermelon and blueberries, eaten while observing the early-morning garden

Some lily in our yard. I love the vibrant orange color.

Solstice tomato: our tomato plants are doing well and beginning to blush in earnest.

Cucumber blossom. I mainly took this picture for the lovely spiral...creeper thing.

Sunflowers at the Natural Gardener

Another sunflower at the Natural Gardener

I added lemon verbena into my iced tea this afternoon. It smells like the sun.

Getting ready for our own harvest ;): cloth diapers and accoutrements.

Musings:

It’s been interesting to pregnant along with the Wheel of the Year. I’ve seen a lot of images of heavily pregnant women for Litha and it’s…well, it’s encouraging. Being heavily pregnant has been difficult. It’s easier to focus on the pain-in-the-ass parts of pregnancy (which are many and hard to ignore) instead of enjoying the body’s capabilities.

As I look out at my garden I’m reminded that this is a time when ‘Nature’ is doing an extraordinary amount of work as well. The resources even a small garden like mine takes (and the garden only provides 50%, maybe, of our spring-summer produce) are astounding. The soil, the fertilizer, the water, the time, the materials—and we’re not even doing it well. We’re bumping along in our first season.

Today has reminded me to be grateful for the work the (literal) earth does for me, for my family. It reminds me to be grateful for my body, which through its stretch marks and contractions, pains and indignities, is preparing for an amazing event.

Driving around to all of my various errands I also thought about what summer meant to me as a kid. How days spread out, endless in possibility, hot and boring, and to quote an Iron & Wine song summer held “our endless numbered days”. School would start back…eventually…but there was a liminal quality to summer, a caught-in-between-ness. My summers were filled with sno-cones in unnatural colors (split pina colada and margarita, flat top, double cream), the beach, books (books, books, books), trips to the library, sleeping in and the Beach Boys.

Now that the demarcation of school has passed, summer, especially July and August and September, is more of an annoyance. The time of year when the you can never get cool, when energy bills rise to extreme levels, ice tea is consumed by the gallon, your car is a hellacious oven of doom.

But today…the beginning of summer…also marks, ironically, the beginning of its end. The days grow shorter now as we edge towards Lughnasadh, and then Mabon and then Samhain. In Central Texas Lughnasadh is the last of our harvest, when we set our gardens and fields to rest throughout the relentless eat of August and the beginning of September. On the holiday of Mabon we’ll start again, planting cool-season crops to bring us through the winter months.

So really…it’s not that far away. Time won’t stop. The garden will die–in only a few weeks. The baby will come—only a few weeks after that. Then it will be time to start anew.

Enjoy your longest day everyone! Thanks for sticking with this wandering post 🙂

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Ah, the house is quiet.  A weekend of visitors and comings and goings and finally there is peace. I took a short nap, ate some leftover cake and I’m now contemplating a trip to my local used book store for some inspirational reading.

A few months ago I mentioned several books I had bought and several paths I intended to read. I finished Drawing Down the Moon and most of the introductory exercises in Paganism: An Introduction to Earth Centered Religions by the Higginbothams. I enjoyed both.

However, concerted spiritual practice slipped away from me in the months of March and April. I don’t know why—it was one of those life things, I suppose, just happens. It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t aware of…things? what label is really appropriate?….but just that I didn’t act on them.

This week, however, something changed. You know what it was? The seasons. When the seasons shift I can feel it in my very marrow, and it snaps my attention back to where it should be. Like nature, or some entity, or some awareness, is shaking me.

And finally I pay attention.

This week summer arrived in Central Texas. My first awareness: on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the air became so hot, so heavy, so pregnant (hah!), if you will, that it just had to rain. So for half an hour each afternoon sheets and sheets of rain poured down. Thunder clapped in the distance. Afterwards the sun came out, and the early evening air became perfumed with the smells of rain, grass and dirt. On my evening walk it it seemed like I could smell every flower, every petal. The combination of twilight and mist made my walk like a journey through a watercolor.

Second awareness: yesterday I ate watermelon and grilled corn. I picked my first red tomato earlier this week. I have jalapenos dangling off their stalk. A tiny bell pepper is nestled among other bell pepper buds. My tomato vines are so heavy with fruit that they keep toppling their cages. Eggplants hang off their bush like little purple Christmas ornaments.  I even have a baby cantaloupe I couldn’t be more proud of.

Third awareness: It. Is. Hot. The past few days it has been hot and muggy, but today the air has changed. Central Texas is moving from early summer (late April through early June) into summer-summer. Hot, dry, still. No breeze, no movement. Life becomes somewhat paralyzed under the sun.

So, again, I am shaken, and I am grateful for it. I view it as a continuation, another chance and a (not so) gentle reminder that life cycles. Life continues. And when my eyes are on my naval and my gaze is too concerned with the petty to pay attention and engage in the important (small or large) I miss out.

It seems like this is a common cycle in my life. Any reader can see this in my blog: the flurry of activity and posting and then the silence for a few weeks or months. I can’t explain it. I’m not sure I should explain it: none of what I read, or learn, or do in the flurry of activity is ever lost. I am a composter by nature, meaning, I gather lots of material in a short time and then I sit. Occasionally I stir it. But mostly I just sit and…compost.

So far, I don’t have much humus. I’m still raw ingredients, greens and browns, apple cores and egg shells. Hopefully though…hopefully one day I’ll be humus à la moi.

And…that’s all I have for now. Is it summer where you are? What does that mean for you?

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