SHE Belly Laughs . . . .
What bleeds and yet is not wounded?
What is fed upon and yet is not devoured?
What carries a room that all leave
but none can enter?
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Sometimes we encounter challenging situations or obstacles and we want to give them meaning or significance. Take my current situation. My family has struggled on and off since February dealing with septic and pluming issues without an obvious cause. While we think we're finally honing in on the source and remedying each obstacle as we come to it, it's created a great deal of stress for everyone in my household.
As a water-worshiping witch, I wanted to apply meaning to this event. I wanted there to be a supernatural or metaphysical reason behind this unpleasantness. Even more so because of my close ties with water and earth. But after a lot of avoidance of the matter, and a steep depressive chasm for a few days, I came to realize through calming meditation and talks with my guides that this is just one of those awful, mundane bits of life that have no more significance than the house is old and the septic system was poorly built or maintained by previous owners....
- Contemplate and open yourself up to the four major elements. Spend a week noticing and communing with water, and then earth, and then fire and then air. Find these elements both externally and internally and notice how they change your day to day life experience.
- Research the Goddess, learn about her herstory, learn about Goddess worship, research the different Goddesses, buy the Goddess deck by Doreen Virtue and begin to pull a card a day and find that Goddess in your 24 hours.
- Spend time in nature, a lot of time. Observe mother nature, observe her in her quiet times, in her wild times, in her bareness and in her lushness. Begin to notice her wherever you go and commune with her, say hi to the trees that you walk under, stroke the bushes that you pass, wink at the flowers that preen. Interact with the vibrational life that is animating the nature that surrounds you.
- Have a baby! An actual baby, or a fur baby, or a creative baby, or a surrogate baby. Birth something, it can be an actual birth (though you will probably find more reasons to choose to bring a life into the world beyond learning about the Divine Feminine) or it can be the birth of a project, a creation, a plant, a pet, anything that you bring forth and are then in a position to nurture and care for as it grows and develops. This time of your life will put you in the position of acting as the Great Goddess acts in your life, as you guide and love your 'baby' you will have brief moments to understand the Divine Love that is constantly pouring forth to you from Her.
- Pray to Her, ask for Her to reveal Herself to you.
- Meditate, on an image of Her, a concept, a feeling, or simply become open and wait for Her to reveal Her presence to you.
- Lastly, remember that you are feminine just by virtue of being you.
In Ireland we have already had a chilly intimation of autumn. Last weekend was spent at a Bards By the Hearth event, since the weather was too abysmal for going out, even to walk John's lovely Tree Labyrinth. But being so close to Lammas, and since it was a Bring and Share event, I made my standard soda bread. It is technically a Northern Irish 'wheaten' loaf, except I make it with spelt. Like so many in Ireland, if I can't get organic wheat flour or buy an artisan loaf in a Farmer's Market, my gut pleads with me to stick with spelt. Even one of the owner's of Ireland's big bread companies has just announced that he is gluten intolerant.
But I digress from Lunasa. You need to celebrate the harvest and baking bread is the best way I know. It seems cheating if you resort to the bread machine, which I often do during busy weeks to make sure that I have a decent loaf in the house. Baking yeast bread can be tricky and takes time and patience to get the knack. But Irish soda bread is a sinch. Our ancestors made it on an open fire. Indeed, a Belcoo woman still goes up to her ancestral cottage to make her 'fadge' (as thy call it in Fermanagh) on the open hearth, just as women down the centuries have done. It tastes better according to Margaret.
Every day at this time of year, either morning or evening, I do some gardening, keeping back the riotous growth that excels in this season. If I didn't, many plants would simply take over the garden, crowding out some other favourite plants. Though these crowders may be near the end of their cycle, in their death they will still smother those that have great potential, as their time is arriving. It's a hard time of year to keep on top of things, as the sun is so hot in our south-facing garden, and time is limited to mornings and evenings when we won't burn to a crisp or keel over from heat exhaustion. Jack in the Green is running riot, uncaring, reaching for the sun, drinking in the rain.
Yet if I want my irises and lilies to survive, I must release them from the choking hold of ground creepers/covers that threatens their existence. I must carefully weed out and try to keep under control those plants whose vigorous growth would otherwise overwhelm others. In this, I feel a kinship to my ancestors, not only my recent ancestors whose work with plants runs in my blood, but also ancestors of this land who depended upon agriculture to survive. Both physically and metaphorically, this is the ideal time to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Even as I hear the tractors and combine harvesters rumbling in the fields on the other side of the street, so too do I look both within and without to see what needs harvesting, and if the harvest has been good. Getting out in the garden brings it all home, showing that if you take on the responsibility of growing things, of nourishing them, then you must do your job well in order for your harvest to be good. Walking out in the fields after supper, running my hands over the tops of the wheat and barley that grow around here, I make my prayers for the harvest to go well, for the people to be nourished and for the land to be treated well. The time nears for when we give back in great gratitude as Lammas, Lughnasadh, Harvest-Time arrives.
It is twilight in the woods, neither dark nor bright, but that liminal time where moment by moment, vision shifts. I am once again at California Witchcamp in the Mendocino Woodlands, surrounded by Reclaiming Witches of all genders and generations. It is the second night of camp and we gather in a clearing to begin our evening ritual work. I have agreed to hold the role of Anchor at this ritual. Being Anchor means I will not participate as an individual, but instead will stand at the edge of the circle in a meditative state and deeply witness the energy patterns and flow being created and worked by the group. I will witness and notice and see, but not move or direct or channel the energy myself. At times, like a tent peg, I may help keep the energetic wall in which the work is being done secure, but my role is to witness and help hold stable the container for the work.
As the ritual begins, I place a thin scarf over my face, denoting my role, and I ground myself deeply into this place, this piece of Earth. I feel my energetic roots go deep and touch the energetic roots of the Redwoods ringing the clearing. I let my roots entwine with theirs, they have been anchoring this space for centuries, witnessing the comings and goings of generations of animals like us. I feel the deep ancient connection with Earth and Redwoods holding me as I hold the edge of this night’s Circle which is being cast by one of the priestesses with the help of the whole group. Connecting to Earth time, to Redwood time, helps me see a wider band of human time and space....