Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My own Mabon

Some times, you need to fly solo. I love people, and I love sharing high days and rituals with lots of people. I love a drum circle around a fire with dancers of all kinds. This time however I chose to keep it simple. There were a number of factors that went into my decision to celebrate the fall equinox alone. First of all now that nursing school has started, I am very busy, and I do not have as much free time as I usually do. Secondly my pagan community just put a lot of effort into a pagan pride day and asking them to then put on a public ritual would have been too much. Thirdly, I just wanted to.

I kept it as simple as I could. The setting was my back yard. A place that has seen two years worth of rituals now; the Nemeton is well established. I used no table or alter. I placed a white alter cloth upon the ground near the fire and well. I brought out oil, incense and ale for my offerings. A silver chalice of pure water. I wore only my old comfy blue jeans and no shirt. Over my shoulder hung my self-made crane bag. In it were the silver stag symbol I use to silver the well, a lighter to start the fire, and my Ogham for divination. In my right hand my staff.

I began the ritual declaring my presence and my intention. The words were not prescripted as I have often done before. These came straight from my heart. I ran through the core order of ritual, a format that I know very well now having practiced it dozens of times. All of it spoken, just between me the gods, the spirits, and the ancestors. I gave my offerings, and asked for a sign of their acceptance and blessing. The ancestors gave me Beith. The spirits gave me Tienne. And the gods offered me Nin. I took these for a good omen and blessing. I asked for the blessing and drank them in to the deepest part of my soul. I spent some time just sitting at the fire contemplating the omen and the blessings and my life in general. I am not sure how long I was there, but the fire started to die down. I thanked the kindred, and closed the right. As I walked back in to the house I felt at peace.

I would not want to do every high day solo. No, I miss my friends and fellow pagans too much to do that. I love the high days with lots of food and laughter. With people to help me do rituals and do them big!...but every once in a while, just once in a while, I need to do one alone.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What is Mabon?

Autumn equinox also known as Mabon or Alban Elfed, is the time of the harvest. In the welsh druid tradition it is associated with the sun setting into the “ocean” that surrounds the world. It is placed on the western side of the wheel of the year and is associated with the setting sun, the coming of old age, and the reaping the fruits, grains, and nuts of the year. Alban Elfed to me is very much about taking up the rewards of the hard work. The reaping of the harvest that was lovingly planted, the enjoying of the labors of spring and summer. Perhaps it’s the Americana in me, but I also think that at this festival it’s important to show thanks to the holy kindred for all the blessings they have given throughout the year.

There are many reaping rituals from the old world that relate to this holiday. Most of them have to do with either the first cutting of the corn or the last. I can relate to this having grown up on a very agricultural community that had seasons very near to those in the British Isles. Now that I live much farther south in a totally different ecology, I find that these old associations of the last of the harvest don’t ring as true. Here the growing season is very long and the final harvest is still a long ways off. That’s why agricultural products are still California’s largest export.

One harvest that is the same in all the northern hemisphere though is the harvesting of wild game, the hunt. I think many modern pagans forget the importance that the hunt was to bolster the food stores of the ancients. The rituals surrounding the hunt have found to be some of the oldest known rituals in the world. As a hunter this time of year it’s important to give thanks to the nature spirits that we hunt. A gift for a gift—the heart of the Ghosti* relationship after all, they give their lives so that we may live, in turn it is only right that we give them something . I honor them with offerings, before the hunt, and I honor them by telling their stories after the hunt. Most importantly I honor them by donating money to groups like the Rocky mountain elk foundation and Ducks unlimited. I believe these organizations do more to preserve the ecology than any other organizations.

So there you have it. Mabon is a special feast of thanks and offering. It really makes real the idea of the Ghost* relationship. It is a time to reap the efforts of our hard work and a time to give thanks to the holy kindred for all they give us…as a gift calls for a gift.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Meditation journal #14 the garden

Today I pulled out the Ogham for Gort. This few is interpreted as a garden or farmers field. It signals growth and happiness through hard work. How fitting for me at this time. I am working hard in the nursing program and growing from it. The program is really challenging me, something school doesn't do to me often. What's more, I am really enjoying the program. I am very much working and toiling away to grow and though I am enjoying the journey I know joy awaits me at the end of the "season" as well. I also asked myself where do I go when I need to be in a "safe" place? Not hard, I go to my alter. Here is where I feel safe and find communion with the powers of the world.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Central Vally Pagan Pride

This weekend I had the oppertunity to set up a both at the Central Vally Pagan Pride day celebration. The booth was for my local Pagan meetup, and we took the opertunity to do a rafle and raise some money for our group to pay for our public rituals that we do. I have been to four different Pagan Pride day celebrations, and this year was by far the best one yet. It was fun, well organized and ran increadiblly smooth. All of our meetup members who went had a good time. I even got to accidentaly group one of my blog readers! no really it was an accident. =)
The meetup was honored with the task of doing the closing ceremony for the day. I can't say enough how proud I am of every one that participated in that. It came off beautifully. After the ritual but before I had stepped away from the alter, I woman came to my wife and I and asked us to bless some items for her. I was deeply honored, and touched, and did my very best to move as much energy as possible into said items.

Nursing school as been keeping me very busy of late. I am doing well, and really enjoying it. I know it's going to be a great profession for me. I am still meditating 4 or more times a week with daily devotionals.

I have not noticed any negative back lash from my last working. I am planning to move ahead then with the next part and create a fetish with which to give offerings to the mighty dead.

Also coming up quickly will be the first handfasting that I am presiding over. It will happen near the middle of Oct. After that will be Samhain! Pieces are falling in place for a full on all day festival!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meeting the Ancestors

First I want to start saying sorry for the long period of silence here on my blog. I have started my nursing school training and wow, the amount of work and time required is more then any course I have yet done. Thank you all for your patience and understanding. I think it's safe to assume that my posts will not be as frequent as they once were. Despite the work load however, I am still doing my meditations and magical work, which brings me to the main point of this post.

Two days past I held audience with the dead. I did the working as instructed by Ian Corrigan's book of summoning. The rite ran smoothly with no interruptions. I used the suggested offerings of bread, ale, and honey. I believe the working was a success. I got the impression of the ancestors about my fire in my inner vision. When I asked if my offerings were accepted I pulled the ogham few of Nuin. A few of weaving and communication. I took this as a good sign. That I and the dead are interwoven and they are willing to communicate with me and form a connection. Thus I asked their blessing upon the waters. Some of this water was drunk and some was used to create a skull fetish that now rests on my alter and will be a physical anchor for them to receive my offerings on a daily basis, and in return, I hope they will teach me and bless me with the wisdom of their years of experience. One disappointment I had was I had been hoping to get a sense of my father's mother being present. I never really knew her, she lived far away and died from lung cancer when I was only about six. Perhaps in time if she is still in the realm of the dead she will make an appearance.