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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in harvest

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Ancestors and Integration

I learned something fascinating this weekend.  I learned that as women, when we are in our mother's womb, we already have all the ovum (eggs) that we will release during our fertile years. So, to put that into context, when my mother was in my grandmother's womb, I was also there, partly, as one of the eggs that would be fertilised by my father.  This link only occurs in women, and it just blew my mind.  I was in my grandmother's womb.

Our lines of ancestry can be glorious and transformational journeys of discovery. Not only in a historical sense, exploring records and genealogy, but also connecting spiritually with our ancestors.  As the darkness creeps in and the days get shorter, in the cooling air with the harvest being taken in the fields all around me, my thoughts turn to my ancestors and to the self, releasing into the approaching autumn and finding great comfort and joy in the letting go.

In order to release that sense of self, however, we must first come to know our self.  Exploring who we are, where we came from, what makes us "us" is key to this work.  Understanding circumstances, experiences, lines of ancestry can enrich our lives and help us to uncover depths of our own soul that may have previously escaped our notice.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
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.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
30 Days of Frey: Sacrifice

noun

An act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure: they offer sacrifices to the spirits the ancient laws of animal sacrifice

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Harvest-Time

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.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Thanksgiving - Minoan Style

Thursday is the holiday of Thanksgiving where I live in the U.S. As these things go, it’s a relatively modern one, instituted in the nineteenth century to help bring the nation back together after the Civil War (and please, let’s set aside the horrid historical revisionism about the Pilgrims and the native North American nations for the moment – I’m aware that many people choose not to celebrate Thanksgiving because of this issue). But the concepts on which Thanksgiving is founded are ancient. Essentially, it is the American harvest festival. And some of us find sacredness in that fact.

Across the world and throughout time, virtually every agrarian society instituted some sort of religious festival to celebrate the completion of the harvest. In many cases, these celebrations included the honoring of the Ancestors, both those recently deceased and those long gone. The Minoans were no different from any other ancient culture in this regard.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Goat-Man of the Hindu Kush

The Kalasha are the last remaining pagans of the Hindu Kush. Numbering about 4000, in three adjoining valleys in northwest Pakistan, they are known for their proud polytheism, the freedom (and beauty) of their women, and their wine-drinking.

The Kalasha are a transhumant society. In the spring, the young men take the herds of sheep and goats up to the high mountain pastures, where they spend the entire summer and autumn. In late October, they return, just in time for the Prun, the three-day harvest festival that marks the end of the growing season, the return of the flocks, and the first drinking of the New Wine, led by a mysterious figure called the Budálak, the Goat-Man.

The Budálak wears horns and goat-skins, and on the third and final night of the festival, as drums throb around the bonfires and wine flows freely, the women garland him and he joins their wild dance. He is the embodiment of the purity, fertility, and rampant maleness of the high mountains, the realm of the peri (“fairies”), and his role is to transmit this fruitfulness to the entire community.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
On eating a pear - a harvest prayer

It is harvest season and my Mabon altar features the bounty of my farmbox. Piles of fruit and vegetables arranged carefully around ritual tools with a sunflower bouquet in the center. I sit back to admire how beautifully balanced the altar looks - for about 10 minutes. That’s when my cats discover the changed altar and promptly invent a game of apple soccer, sweet potato rugby, and squash - played with real squash. The apple is round enough to roll gently, the scratches on the sweet potato don’t bother me, and the squash has thick skin so I let them have at it. But when my precious pomegranate gets unceremoniously dumped off the altar, bruising and bleeding red on my bedsheet, I draw the line and stage a rescue mission amidst sharp teeth and claws.

 

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