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Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.
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....
In her beautiful book Celtic Devotional, Caitlin Matthews suggests a Lunar Meditation on the scent of flowers, one I thought perfect for the new season Litha has brought us. All around us flowers are blooming, delighting the eye and perfuming the air with fragrance. What better analogy for summer, and life, really, than the scent of a flower?
Is there anything that compares? Yes, I suppose so: fresh peaches, the scent of a baby's hair. But flowers have a scent unrivalled by anything else. Sweet, but strong, faint but carrying....
I have been long away from the SageWoman Blogs; having started a new job in January, I am still adjusting to the change in my rhythms and tasks. After four months I still find myself floundering, not quite sure how to fit everything into the twenty-four hours we have every day, and things I find pleasure and solace in, such as all of my writing projects, have been pushed aside so I might focus on work projects and caring for my family. I realize I am not alone in this situation: parents and caregivers all over the world face this same struggle every day, and we all of us end up feeling some sort of guilt over the choices we make.
I am not going to spend this post wondering how to balance everything, or how to avoid feeling the unwarranted yet unavoidable guilt that comes from being a working parent/caregiver. Instead, as today is Beltane eve, I am going to think about what Beltane brings to us, and the joy Beltane trails in its wake. For who doesn't love Beltane? Samhain, Beltane's sister holy day, is dark, mysterious, and magical, but Beltane is altogether different: flowery, glittery, all light and laughter. It is a sabbat of bonfires and music, dancing and faerie-lore. Today I have a rare day off (and I still will be going into work for a meeting later today) and on waking the day felt altogether different, just knowing that I (mostly) had a free day. Generally I wake up in a pleasant mood, as I truly enjoy the work I am now doing, but today I woke happy, not just in a good mood. I am still happy, despite a grumpy getting-sick five year old and the fact that twice now my computer has nearly lost the unsaved drafts of this post. (I am now saving it every two sentences, btw)...
The world outside is covered with softly drifting snow, nearly two feet deep in places. There is a hush in the air, roads empty, storefronts dark. Lady Winter has us in Her icy grip, and it feels as though She will continue to hold us for ages to come. And yet, I saw a robin yesterday.
As I drove around attending last minute birthday/Super Bowl party tasks, I caught sight of a small brown form flitting over a snow-covered cornfield. My heart leapt as I spied that plump gentleman's crimson waistcoat, so bright against the gray February sky. What joy to see that feathered harbinger of Spring, and on Imbolc eve, no less. It seemed an auspicious omen....
'Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies, and walk on them, and find rest for your soul.' 1001 Meditations (pg. 13) by Mike George
The Crone is the guardian of the crossroads, and this is Her time. As we journey through our lives we come to many crossroads; we have so many choices, so many roads not taken. How do we choose? How do we know we've made the right choice?...
I have news