and stagnant bog,
Come one, come all!
Gather ’round and hear the Mabon call.
Gods shout and rejoice,
to see the Witches raise up their voice,
Seasons change and wind,
to help us Pagans keep in mind,
The Wheel of the Year turns and turns,
Like the Bonfire that passionately burns.
The Path winds us together and brings us home,
to the sacred Earth, deep in Her loam,
Step closer, embrace for long,
and join in the harvest song.
Sizzling Summer heat has came and went,
A season has passed, our ambitions spent.
Travel inward, seek to find,
The treasures that lay buried deep within the mind!
Hail the Mabon spirit that dwells in the Wild Pagan heart,
Merry do we meet, Merry do we part! – Shining Quill
Welcome fellow Pagans to the wonder that is the harvest season, Mabon! As I snuggle into my favorite hoodie and don my walking boots, I am humbled at the sight of the coming transition. It begins with the subtle change in the way the wind blows and the crispness that leaves my head swimming in visions of candlelit rituals and the celebration of closeness that the cold weather heralds. This is surely a blessed time when we all come together and revel in the bounty of what we planted through our deeds and actions.
The sabbats are more than just holidays that I revel in and share with my Tribe. The sabbats are experiences, marker stones along the Path in my mental journey that reflect what I have sewn in my dreams and what I have pulled from the fertile fields of my community. I look back on a year of learning and understanding and for a moment, I am able to experience all of these moments as one and see the bigger lesson that has unfolded.
This season, I have been setting up an altar for my thanks to the universe. I reflect upon all of the people and experiences that have enriched my life as I set up the tiny table that will serve as sacred space in my kitchen for the season. Even the darkest memories of the last year are cherished because they lead to revelations and realizations of the self that could not be attained any other way. I think sometimes I get lost in the feeling of the moment rather than the education of the entire picture. That’s a pretty normal thing to happen especially when I know I can feel overwhelmed by all life has to throw at me.
As I begin to place pumpkin candles around a statue of the Harvest Goddesses Hestia and Demeter,I rouse myself from this sudden expression of depression. Letting it have a choke-hold on my progress isn’t what the journey of Paganism is about for me. I can look back on every single challenge that has occurred in my life and I can see a theme. The beauty of having time to reflect and take in the harvest gives the unique perspective to see the bigger impact that battling life affords. I think we’re all struggling with some kind of battle and while some of folks chose not to share, it doesn’t mean that there is any one person who has all the answers and is never given hardship by which to test themselves.
Like the simple altar I construct, my mind is a reflection of the physical objects that are before me. Candles to represent the passion that burns within, Goddesses to represent the fertility of mind and imagination, acorns to symbolize the countless walks in the woods and times of reflection that have come with the passing of age. The gentle blessings I whisper and weave into the altar as I work are sharp contrast to the flood of traumatic episodes and failures of the past. As a Pagan, it’s my job to transmute this tempest into a destructive force into a raw strength and will to become more and to evolve into something better.
I’ve long been the kind of person to learn my lessons “the hard way,” as my mother used to put it. She was right about that observation. For a long time, I blamed other people for where I was in life. It was always someone else at fault and I felt that I was trapped by the whims of others. I kept waiting for the savior to come, I kept waiting for the right person who I saw inside of me to be on the outside. They never did and I was left broken and feeling helpless for most of my life. It took time, a lot of self-honesty and personal reflection to understand how I had gotten to this place and what I could make from the truth that I had discovered along my Path.
I’m a devotee of a Dark Goddess as many of you who read this blog know. As a Priestess of Kali, I understand that those struggles through Tartarus and back give a unique perspective on the human condition. I didn’t come out perfect knowing everything and that’s a realization that broke a dam in my mind that caused me to reevaluate every experience from the earliest memory going forward. The failures I had with others only stood to show me where I was in my lessons and where my friends were in their battles. Once I wrapped my mind around the idea that even some one I could consider a role-model or hero could fall on their ass and get back up, much of that animosity that I had felt by the people who “betrayed me” melted away like butter in a cast-iron pan.I felt compassion for myself and how I had stumbled along and saw that same reflection in those that I share my life with and treasure.
Compassion is the lesson of the season along with the humility to admit my arrogance and ignorance in past events. While I was not always consciously aware of exactly WHAT I was doing wrong, I can now look back and understand how these experiences connected together to create the person who is writing this passage right now. Humility opens up the door of the next chapter. I have been nothing short of blessed and honored to experience the events at Deeply Rooted Church. I have seen strength in the face of adversity, actions following Oaths, need for community, caring that went beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and finally a purpose within my Tribe. I have seen the Gods through the faces of my friends and I cherish every single interaction with those fellows. My experiences went beyond Deeply Rooted into the broader community of Paganism and even people I didn’t see eye-to-eye with I have gleaned insight into myself and what I need to work on for myself.
That’s what I see for Paganism. Even though I know any group of people is going to cause a certain level of drama, I still see that these interactions are far more beneficial than they are harmful. I’ve been stomping mad at people and have seen fire explode in my mind’s eye, yet I have been able to take a deep breath and collect myself to see beyond the whims of the present and into the needs of the future. I’ve found that the only thing that matters is working together to create the kind of world that Paganism can grow and thrive. Beyond Paganism, human beings need to grow food with each other, we need to eat it together, and we need to be together to warm the coldness in our hearts that sometimes settles there by life’s disappointments. We need to celebrate the Earth or Gods that we cherish and thank Them for nourishing us so we can have these little dramas and self-revelations.
I guess when I came to Paganism 19 years ago I expected instant enlightenment. Obviously that’s neither true or even realistic for myself. I felt consciousness was going to be a process of white light and golden sparkles. It’s an ugly, breath-stealing experience that left me broken on the inside yet it was the drive to understand the depth of this sorrow that lead me to have the will to work myself out of it. Enlightenment for me has been a messy processes. I’ve been tempered from a life time of hardship and pain and I look forward to the next step. Hurt and difficulty is still going to be a part of the game yet I can use the wisdom that I’ve blessed to learn from others around me and experience for myself to guide others along their Path no matter where they are on the way. I don’t seek to be above people and shout from a mountain top of who I am and what I believe. That doesn’t resonate with understanding others and honoring their struggles. I want to wade through the swamp and battle alongside my fellow Pagans and show them what’s worked for me to inspire them to find what works for them.
This is the second harvest of Mabon, a time of gratitude for all that has transpired. As I prepare for the coming of the long winter, I have restored inspiration for what will come beyond that time of inward self-reflection. For this time, my aim is meditating on service and how I can assist others in their focuses. I’ll be muse, I’ll be the friend, I’ll fight horn and hoof for those I hold in reverence, my Tribe of Paganism.