Our altar shares many similarities to a Christian Harvest Festival display. It literally groans with
food, grains, nuts, fruit and berries. There is always a
fresh baked loaf, along with sprays of golden Autumn leaves, and we
tend to tuck in enthusiastically literally as soon as the circle is
closed. Reports from this ceremony tend to be somewhat
muffled, due to the many full mouths. The altar is also scattered
with ornaments which reflect the light of the many candles carefully
placed amid the bounty.
For me, the Autumnal is a
contradictory ceremony in many ways. It is, on the one hand, a
joyous and noisy triumphal celebration of bounty and growth; but
it is also a sad goodbye to warmth and light. I am sharply
aware that there may well be trials ahead…..but my skin is still warmed
by a sun at its zenith.
We move now into a period of
reflectiveness and mystery. The ceremonies ahead until,
again, we reach the brightness of Lights, have a certain echoing and
distant quality. They are “serious”…though the Winter Solstice
does have a particular glitter that comes as a welcome nod to light in
the darkest days.
Also bittersweet here is the fact that both
the God and the Goddess are close by our sides. We walk
with them, one on either side, into the most demanding time of the
year. And with Their blessing we shall emerge, joyous, with
the snowdrops. [More...]
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