Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 29

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 29

“The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power…The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing…”

–Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX

Have you ever noticed the relationship between children and the soil? Watch how happily they are touching the dirt. The children play in it and eat it. If you are stressed, go to a spot on the Earth, sit down, put your fingers in the dirt, dig in it. Wash your hands in the soil. When you touch it, notice what it does to your hands. Our bodies love to touch the Earth. Sometimes we get too busy and forget these simple things. Maybe you’ll even want to plant a garden or flowers. These things are mentally healthy.

Great Spirit, today, let me touch the Earth so the Earth can touch me.

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Calendar of the Sun for February 7th

Calendar of the Sun

 
Ancestor Day

Color: Black and grey
Element: Earth
Altar: Spread a black cloth, and lay it with photographs, paintings, and other depictions of our ancestors. Add also symbols of their old tools, and statues of ancestral deities, a bowl of seeds for the future garden, pots of soil, a pitcher of water, and many candles of black and white and grey.
Offerings: Things they would have liked to eat, drink, smoke, or smell. Tend a cemetery and clean up the graves.
Daily Meal: Food from an earlier era, using authentic recipes.

Invocation to the Ancestors

Our ancestors got up at dawn,
Slaved in the dirt,
Sweated in the sun,
Chilled in the cold,
Numbed in the snow,
Scattering each seed with a prayer:
Pray that there be enough,
That no one starve this winter.
Pray that no bird nor beast
Steal the food I have struggled for.
And most of all,
Pray that each seed I save
Of this harvest
Shall next year
Bring forth a hundred more.
We live today
Because they worked
Because they sowed
Because they harvested
Because they prayed.

Chant:
Those who came before
We are your children
Those who came before
We honor your names

(Each person takes seeds from the bowl and plants them in the pots of soil, speaking the name of one of their ancestors as they do so, as in: “In honor of _______.” The pots are watered, and the candles put out one by one.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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The Witches Magick for Dec. 17th – Faeryland Thyme Magick

Faeryland Thyme Magick

After dark, go outdoors and look straight at the new moon. Then go indoors and put on some upbeat Celtic music.

You will need a green candle, a bowl filled with soil, a pinch of dried thyme, a pinch of dried nutmeg, five small stones from nature and a half cup warm milk with three teaspoons of honey mixed in.

Draw a sacred circle. Now draw a second circle of forest-green light on top of the first circle. Light the candle, dedicating it to the elves and faeries.

Put the bowl of soil in the center of the altar. Cover the top of the soil with the pinches of thyme and nutmeg. As you do this, say three times:

Faery spice, blessings thrice.
 

Position the stones in a star, pentacle pattern around the bowl. Now take a few deep breaths to center your awareness. Imagine descending a long natural rock stairway into the earth. At the end of the stairs is a circular doorway. Now open your eyes for a few moments and take the cup of milk from the altar. Pour the milk and honey over the earth and thyme in the bowl as you say:

To the woods and wild land,
With a faery band in hand.
Mind and spirit, now set free,
Open the faery door, so mote it be!
 

Once again, close your eyes and see the circular doorway in your mind’s eye. See and sense yourself opening the door and stepping into the magickal world of the faeries. Allow the candle to safely burn down. Let the music continue playing as you drift to sleep. If you dream of the elves and faeries, your wishes will all come true.

In the morning pull up the circle, and take the earth and stones, putting them in a sunwise circle around a plant while whistling or humming a little tune. When you are done, be sure to thank the faeries.

Calendar of the Sun for December 5th

Calendar of the Sun

5 Yulmonath

Festival of Faunus

Color: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of green set a bowl of soil, gathered earlier in the year, and many small cups of soil, the figure of a goat, a plate of cookies shaped like goats, and a cup of wine. In the large bowl set many sticks of incense, with a single stick in each cup.
Offerings: Give seeds to people with gardens.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian

Invocation to Faunus

Hail Blessed Faunus, Benefactor of the Fields!
You whose name means Favored One,
Favor us, as we stand here today!
Favor our fields, that they may yield.
Favor our gardens, that they may grow.
Favor our flocks, that they may increase.
Favor our faith, that it may grow as well.
Give us increase and abundance of all good things,
Enough to help us through times of dearth.
Give us luck, that we may find our way
Past all the obstacles that cannot be
Surmounted by skill alone.
Smile on us, Faunus, Gladsome One,
Goat-horned and goat-hooved
Like the animals you watch over,
Let those in our care not go hungry
Nor suffer the pangs of thirst.
Show us the future, Oracular One,
And we pray that it may be a future
We can all look forward to.
Hail, Faunus, Father of Bona Dea,
Son and wife of Marica the nymph,
Called Lupercus, He who wards off the Wolf,
Ward the evil from our lives
And watch over us as your flock.

(The wine is poured out as a libation. One takes the great bowl of earth and purifies the altar room with its smoke. All others take a cup and walk alone to some place in the House or the lands in order to purify that place with the smoke.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for November 10th

Calendar of the Sun

Ancestor Day

Color: Black and grey
Element: Earth
Altar: Spread a black cloth, and lay it with photographs, paintings, and other depictions of our ancestors. Add also symbols of their old tools, and statues of ancestral deities, a bowl of seeds for the future garden, pots of soil, a pitcher of water, and many candles of black and white and grey.
Offerings: Things they would have liked to eat, drink, smoke, or smell. Tend a cemetery and clean up the graves.
Daily Meal: Food from an earlier era, using authentic recipes.

Invocation to the Ancestors

Our ancestors got up at dawn,
Slaved in the dirt,
Sweated in the sun,
Chilled in the cold,
Numbed in the snow,
Scattering each seed with a prayer:
Pray that there be enough,
That no one starve this winter.
Pray that no bird nor beast
Steal the food I have struggled for.
And most of all,
Pray that each seed I save
Of this harvest
Shall next year
Bring forth a hundred more.
We live today
Because they worked
Because they sowed
Because they harvested
Because they prayed.

Chant:
Those who came before
We are your children
Those who came before
We honor your names

(Each person takes seeds from the bowl and plants them in the pots of soil, speaking the name of one of their ancestors as they do so, as in: “In honor of _______.” The pots are watered, and the candles put out one by one.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for November 9th

Calendar of the Sun

Media Autumnus

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Set out a brown cloth, an earthenware jug of water, dried stalks of yarrow in a vase, and incense of many woods. In front of the altar set a great empty barrel, an earthen pot of soil, another of the day’s vegetation garbage, a smaller one of wood ashes, and a basket of gathered dried leaves.
Offerings: Bits of hair or fingernail parings.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian.

Media Autumnus Invocation

Let us invest in the Earth
Beneath our feet
And see our returns in millenniums.
Let us say that our main crop
Is the ancient forest
Which we did not plant
And will not live to harvest.
Let us say that the leaves
Are harvested when
They have rotted into the mold.
Let us call that our profit,
And prophesy such returns.
Let us put our faith in the two inches
Of humus that will build
Under the trees every thousand years.
Let us listen to carrion.
Let us put our ears close and hear
The faint chatterings
Of the songs that are yet to come.

Chant:
Clay receives you
Earth has chosen you
Worms prepare you
Earth encloses you

(During the chant, several who have been chosen to do the work of the ritual come forward and add the garbage, the ashes, the soil, the dried leaves, the yarrow, and finally the water to the compost barrel. It is removed again to the corner until Spring.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Confessions of a Dirt Worshipper

Confessions of a Dirt Worshipper

Author:   Diotima Mantineia   
 
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It
is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a
stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as
good as dead; his eyes are closed. 
    – Albert Einstein

In the early 1980s, I was initiated into an arcane order of alchemists who refer to themselves as “soil scientists”; practitioners of a discipline called Agronomy, or the study of crops and soils.  This initiation was marked by the presentation of a Bachelor of Science degree (I requested Spinster of Science, but was turned down), and my entrance into graduate school at the University of Maryland’s Agronomy Department.

I suspect the designation of Alchemist would distress many of the good men and women who taught me the mysteries of this discipline, for they all were all careful, dedicated scientists, who would shy away from anything quite so…well, magical. But anyone who works with the soil for long knows that at some point, science breaks down under the weight of too many variables and unknowns, and gives way to art. The truly successful farmer or grower has, along with scientific knowledge, an instinctive, artistic, often magical relationship with the soil they nurture.

The professor who introduced me to the workings and wonders of the Earth’s mantle communicated his enthusiasm and deep respect for the ways of Nature to his students, and my Pagan soul found magic in both field and laboratory. Science led me to art, art led to magic, and one morning I woke up and realized I had become that bane of conservative Christian Republicans, a bona fide tree-hugging, dirt-worshipping Pagan.

Like most Pagans, I love to be connected, both physically and psychically, with the Earth. Rituals and meditations that allow us to blend our consciousness with that of trees, plants and animals, and honor the changing of the seasons, give Pagans a relationship to the land that few who have not learned this way of being can know. Magical training in visualization and journeying, meditation and trained awareness gives an expanded understanding of the world around us.  Journeys into the world of Spirit open our spirits to the vastness and variety of creation, and assure us of our inalienable place within the world, while reminding us that we will never fully grasp the totality of All That Is. We learn humility and the necessity of right relationship. Rediscovering our connection with the Earth and the Web of Life, we develop ceremonies to reflect that connection and build the appropriate relationships and energetic bonds.

Ritual and the Soil

Many in our community go outdoors as often as they can to do ritual, make magic and/or do spirit journeys and meditations on whatever piece of land they nurture. Even city-bound Pagans usually find a small patch of ground, in a park, or outside the city limits, where they go to connect with Nature, leave offerings both energetic and physical, and thank the land for its bounty. Others find a small bit of land to tend for vegetables and flowers, some visit the wildlands, while some of us are fortunate enough to have some acreage under our care. But whether it is through a flower pot or a working farm, most Pagans make an effort to tend to, bless and connect with the Earth.

What I often find overlooked in Pagan ritual, however, is an awareness of the complex ecosystem of the soil itself. Pagans are more aware of the soil’s value than most people, and Pagan altars frequently are graced with a cauldron full of soil, but the focus seems to be on the plants and animals that live on top of the ground, with little or no attention given to the rich and complex ecosystem that exists under our feet. So before you go out and do your blessings, spirit journeys and other magic in your garden this year, or return to that special place in Nature where you go to reconnect, let me introduce you to some of the beings — mineral, vegetable and animal — that inhabit the soil that makes life on Earth possible. Then we’ll look at how science and magic can meet on the land.

Were you to go and sit in your garden, or somewhere in a forest, or on a grassy plain, and sink your consciousness into the land, your awareness, flowing like water, would burrow under the leaves, mulch or other organic detritus that covers the soil (or should!) and find, in a healthy soil, almost as much empty space as matter. Particles of sand, silt or clay, the three mineral constituents of soil, and particles of organic matter in various stages of decomposition, are surrounded and held together in discrete clumps by both the electrostatic properties of the clay particles and by various glue-like organic substances that result from the process of decomposition or are exuded from the bodies of organisms such as plant roots, fungi, bacteria and earthworms. Unless a soil is badly compacted (by heavy equipment, for instance) these clumps are arranged in a loose structure in which the spaces between may take up as much volume as the clumps themselves. This structure allows gases and water to diffuse through the soil, where they are utilized by plant roots and the many living creatures that make their homes in the earth.

A healthy soil has a thriving population of various critters, from the microscopic — fungi, actinomycetes, bacteria (almost as many in a gram of good soil as there are humans on the Earth), rotifers, protozoa and nematodes — to a wide variety of insects, the occasional reptile, and mammals such as moles and gophers. Some of these organisms feed on dead organic matter, transforming it into carbon dioxide, and breakdown products that feed plants and other organisms. Others feed on living matter, everything from microbes on up serving as a food source for another organism.

The area directly adjacent to plant roots has such a rich and diverse ecosystem it is given its own name: the rhizosphere. Miles of root tips move inexorably through the soil, secreting a gelatinous substance to ease their way, and growing fine root hairs to absorb water. The roots also can exude substances that inhibit or encourage life; some give off chemicals that inhibit growth of nearby plant roots, most form a symbiotic relationship with fungi that nourishes both plant and fungus, and the nitrogen-fixing plants, such as peas and clover, form nodules on their roots containing bacteria that claim nitrogen from the air, transform it at the molecular level, and then feed it to the plant.

This incredibly diverse, complex and sustainable life cycle comes to a crashing halt under current, “factory-farm”, methods of agriculture. The earthworm population is devastated by nitrogenous fertilizers, useful microorganisms and insects are eliminated along with the destructive ones by broad-spectrum pesticides, and the critters that live higher on the food chain decamp as soon as their food source dies off. Because of the reliance on chemical fertilizers, organic matter is not carefully managed, and the soil of the average modern farm becomes almost a dead zone. The dearth of life and organic matter leads to more erosion and fertilizer runoff, filling our waterways with pollution, and with the top layer of soil, which took eons to form.  The prevailing views of the scientific community are only just beginning to catch up with what spiritual stewards of the land have known for centuries: that Mother Nature will work with us, but only if we work with Her. Wholesale destruction of the Web of Life can never, in the long run, result in a higher quality of life for any one part of that Web. Those of us who work and commune with the spirits of nature know this beyond a doubt.

Question Authority

My interest in organic agriculture began even before I started college, when organic methods were still considered pretty far out in left field. Now, when even the most mainstream of scientists must admit that much of what they scorned about organic methods decades ago has turned out to be valid, my interests and investigations have taken me even further afield into the truly alchemical realm of Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic agriculture, the effect of sound and chanting on plant growth, the effect of magic and intent on plant and soil health, and work with the Devic and Faery realms.  Of course, none of the above methods of working with plants and the soil would be considered scientifically valid – they would, in fact, be looked on as anything from wishful thinking to outright delusion. But the logic behind these methods seemed clear to me once I seriously considered the possibility of a Universe birthed from Consciousness, instead of one in which consciousness arose simply from chance and the laws of physics.

I had not come to this concept of a Consciousness-based reality quickly or easily; in fact, I spent many years attempting to reconcile my interest in science and my interest in religion, metaphysics, magic, and what is commonly known as “the occult” before this connection became clear to me.

Magic does not require an unquestioning belief in anything – quite the opposite.  Questions and careful observance are part of the work, but there is a need to suspend restrictive judgments about what can and cannot be, what is and is not possible, and to allow pure experience to bring the answers to questions that can be answered in no other way.

The basis of most metaphysical, magical and “occult” disciplines lies in the concept of a form of life energy called, variously, chi, prana, orgone, life energy. Mainstream science says this energy doesn’t exist. Those who work with it – who experience it – believe it simply has not yet been measured or quantified. The use of this life energy, and the mind’s direction of it, is the framing of magic. Learning to use it, learning magic, requires an openness to the possibility of the existence of this life energy.

When I began my formal training in Witchcraft in the mid-1980s, I knew I had to find a way to blend my understanding of science with my growing knowledge of magical principles, because I knew instinctively that there must be an underlying basis to reality that tied the two together. I certainly didn’t spurn the Western scientific way of thinking, but I learned that it was only one way of approaching and understanding reality.

Sitting at my altar, or walking in the woods, I worked hard to learn to sense and shape energy, training my mind to focus and shape or diffuse the energy I sensed. I dug deeply into my psyche to discover how my thoughts, beliefs and emotions shape the energy I surround myself with – that energy with which we all meet the world — and how to change and control that energy by working with and changing my thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

I cast spells, and used divinatory techniques. I meditated, studied martial arts, and participated in many rituals, all as part of my magical training. I read voraciously in psychology, science, mythology, magic, philosophy and comparative religion. My life began to change…

The proverbial dark night of the soul came, and, on the other side of it I found myself living my dream. I now felt certain that magic was a valid, useful way of interacting with the world. My life continued to change in the direction of my dreams, as I continued to use applied techniques that seemed to shift reality without any specific, physical effort on my part.  The fact that many would think me at least slightly mad bothered me not at all. My beliefs and interests now made my lifelong interest in organic agriculture seem tame by comparison.

Which still left me looking for the connection I knew was there but could not trace. Finally, the basic dichotomy became clear to me. The primary difference between reductionist scientific thinking and the world of the Witch is that the Witch – like most other religious people – believes that the physical universe is created from consciousness. The reductionists, on the other hand, cling to the increasingly less credible idea that consciousness is nothing but an epiphenomenon of the brain. I realized from all the reading I had been absorbing on modern physics that science, on its bleeding edge, was walking a path towards First Cause that took it closer and closer to an understanding of the primacy of Consciousness.

Most Pagans believe that Consciousness is primary and that the energetic nature of the Universe can be influenced by the human mind, will and emotions. This does not make us “wacky” or unscientific, and the prejudices of mainstream science should not discourage us from approaching the use of our unconventional methods with an attitude of “Does it grow corn?” (or tomatoes, or lilacs, or oak trees). The scientific method is valid in any area of endeavor-the primary difficulty with approaching Reiki healing, sacred geometry or the influence of the Devas through the scientific method is always identifying and controlling for the variables. Replication is basic to the scientific method, and it’s darned hard to replicate something when you don’t know what all the influences are!

So if your intuitive feelings or mystical observations of the natural world lead you to sing to your plants , ask the advice and help of various spirits, or magically transfer and pattern Earth energies , do not feel as though you are being inherently unscientific. I’ve found that Pagans can be reluctant to look for the reasons behind the effects of the magic and rituals we perform. There is a fear that the magic will disappear under the “cold light of science”, and we may find that we are deluding ourselves. But both valid science and valid magic require an unflinching willingness and ability to look for the underlying truth.  While magic may seem to disappear under the scrutiny of a poorly-designed experiment, the true light of science is not a strobe, under which things appear to be other than they are, but is the steady, warm and illuminating light of the Sun.

What we call magic does not disappear in the light of day, and science will eventually expand to encompass and confirm any truth we may find in our mystical explorations, even if the methods of science sometimes fall short in explaining the reasons behind those truths. Real science, and real magic, will expand along with our growing understanding of the nature of reality. Those who try to force reality to fit their fears, prejudices, and pre-conceived notions, whether in magic or science, will find their path both destructive and ultimately futile.

While I am a firm believer in the scientific method, I also know that it can be and regularly is misused, either deliberately or unconsciously, in the service of human greed and fear. Quantum physics is questioning whether or not true objectivity is possible, but any student of human nature knows that, even if possible, it is rarely achieved. The litany of scientific error is long – which, in itself, is not a bad thing. Science is a process, an ongoing investigation, and if we are unwilling to make errors -even spectacular ones – we limit ourselves, for trial and error is at the heart of scientific experimentation. What is problematic in science is the all-too-common unwillingness to change, to admit error, to see past truths as being superseded by more current discoveries, or worse, to see the error, but actively suppress truth for reasons of simple greed and fear.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of an Agronomy professor at a Midwestern university who, speaking to an editor of Acres magazine about the realities of agricultural research said, “Give us a $100,000 grant, and we’ll prove anything you want.” While I persist in thinking that such a level of corruption within academia is not common, nonetheless, it is a fact that much agricultural research is funded by corporate agri-business. Clearly, it is a challenge for a scientist whose livelihood is in the hands of a large corporation to be entirely objective, and the research that supports the continuing use of poisons and petroleum-dependent fertilizers and unregulated genetic manipulation reflects, at best, a blindered view of the agricultural process, at worst, an extraordinary level of venality and corruption, the consequences of which are tragic, and will take generations to overcome.

Science, however, is not solely in the hands of those who have the correct letters after their names. Anyone with a bit of land or even a few pots can learn the basic principles of scientific experimentation and observation, and apply them to various methods and techniques that are regularly ignored or scorned by mainstream science. You can take that piece of land you nurture and learn through careful observation what the land needs to create and maintain the Web of Life. If your experiments are carefully thought out and executed, you will add to a body of general knowledge and experience that can be discussed and built on by yourself and others. Don’t be afraid of doing it “wrong”, or of what you might find out. The gods and spirits are not dead, and investigative science does not have the power to kill them. Just keep an open mind, observant eyes, and good records. If this type of research interests you, learn what you can (see the resources section below) of experimental design, and use it to test any questions that may come to you when you are working with the land, or with the spirits of the land.

An excellent example of this attitude can be found in Sandra Ingerman’s book “Medicine for the Earth”, which details her work with spirits to alleviate water pollution, and the encouraging results of her experiments. Hopefully, the results of these preliminary experiments will encourage some professional scientists to develop more sophisticated research and establish a baseline of data from which we can work to develop replicable methods of spiritual, energetic healing that will help reverse the effects of pollution. Who knows, perhaps they will even be able to find funding for it.

Everyone who can identify with the label “dirt worshipper” has a job they can do to help in reclaiming the Earth. Magical workings, tending whatever spot of Earth you can, and donating time and money to environmental causes are all valid and much needed responses to the current crisis. Whether you are interested in working from a scientific perspective, or prefer to work with the land in an instinctive, magical way (or both!) your attention and energy are needed. Those of us who work with other levels of consciousness, who honor the mysteries of both life and death, must continue to do the work that will strengthen the Web of Life on this planet.

The work begins with honoring and attending to the planet and the land we have been given to care for, observing and understanding the cycles, and the complex and beautifully balanced interactions of the ecosystems around us. It continues by expanding our minds to encompass influences and forces which we may not fully understand.

Standard scientific research and knowledge will play a large part in rebalancing the Earth’s cycles, but standard scientific research cannot account for things it does not know or will not acknowledge. Those of us who work with other levels of consciousness and energy are pioneers. A strength and certainty of vision is needed to do the work that must be done, though it will often be done in the face of scorn and fundamental skepticism. Know that when you do this work, you are not alone.

Resources:

Web sites:

Natural Resources Conservation Service: “Helping People Understand Soils” http://soils.usda.gov/

The Rodale Institute http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/

Community Supported Agriculture: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association http://www.biodynamics.com/

Sustainable Agriculture Network http://www.sare.org

Perelandra http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/

Findhorn http://www.findhorn.org/

Recommended reading, in no particular order:

The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture by Wendell Berry. ISBN: 0871568772

The Nature and Properties of Soil by Nyle C. Brady and Ray R. Weil. ISBN: 0130167630

The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean Radin. ISBN: 0062515020

Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins by Sandra Ingerman ISBN: 0609805177

Earth Light: The Ancient Path to Transformation Rediscovering the Wisdom of Celtic & Faery Lore by R.J. Stewart ISBN: 1892137011

The Faery Teachings by Orion Foxwood ISBN: 1-89213-704-5

Secrets of the Soil: New Solutions for Restoring Our Planet by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. ISBN: 1890693243

An Introduction to Scientific Research by E. Bright Wilson ISBN: 0486665453

Calendar of the Sun for October 17th

Calendar of the Sun

Aequinoctium Autumnale

Colors: Brown and Orange
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown and orange, patterned with autumn leaves, place a basket of fallen leaves, barrels of straw, shovels, spades, a bowl of rainwater, and seeds for cover crops.
Offerings: Turn under and mulch the used land.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian.

Aequinoctium Autumnale Invocation

Earth, we have eaten of your bounty!
You have fed us, and we are content.
We have worked you hard, and you have responded
With generosity and fruitfulness.
Now, as the year draws on, and the Sun
Shortens its days and counts the moons
Until its chilly death and incandescent rebirth,
We gift you as you have gifted us,
We care for you as you have cared for us,
We give back that we may continue to take,
Year after year, cycle after cycle.
Do not think, O Mother, that we are merely selfish,
And would only rape you of your bounty.
Our hands shall toil that you may have,
If only in this one small place,
Richness to take back for yourself.
For we know the hard secrets of the cycle,
And we will someday give ourselves
Back to your quiet embrace.

Chant:
Leaves falling
To our hands
Autumn calling
Cover all the land

(All take up the buckets of leaves and straw, and the spades, and go out to the garden. Some will turn over the soil, and others shall follow with cover crop seeds and rainwater, or with mulch to cover the ground. This shall be done throughout the Aequinoctium Autumnale days until all the ground from this year’s crops are covered.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for October 16th

Calendar of the Moon

16 Gort/Puanepsion

Day of the Blackthorn Tree

Color: Dark Blue
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a dark blue cloth set a vase of blackthorn twigs, a single dark blue candle, a knife, a pot of soil, herb seeds, a bowl of water, and a bell. Several wooden staves lean against the altar.
Offerings: Plant seeds. Face conflict.
Daily Meal: Vegan

Invocation to the Green Man of the Blackthorn Tree

Hail, Green Man of the Autumn!
Blackthorn tree of the hedges,
Whose thorns dissuade cattle
And intruders from trespassing,
Tree of the walking staff
Whose name is Strife
And whose job is Boundary,
You teach us that sometimes
Guardianship can lead to battle,
And that not everything can be held
Peacefully, be it land or goals
Or objects or rules or values.
Sometimes there will be strife
By the very nature of the universe,
Which encompasses both equally
And sees conflict as the necessary
Adjustment that points out our blindnesses.
Tree of thorns, hulking and sullen,
You will not stand to be mistreated
Or taken advantage; your nature
Does not lend itself to yielding.
We hail you, sacred blackthorn tree,
Green Man of the Autumn,
On this the day of your bloodshed.

(Let one who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual arm themselves with a staff, and guard the altar. Each approaches the altar, and is swung at; they take up a staff and meet the blow with it. After this they are allowed to approach and plant a seed in the pot of soil, saying, “Hail Green Man of the Earth!” Water is poured onto the pot, and then the rest is poured out as a libation. Ring bell and dismiss.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for October 10th

Calendar of the Sun

Aequinoctium Autumnale

Colors: Brown and Orange
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown and orange, patterned with autumn leaves, place a basket of fallen leaves, barrels of straw, shovels, spades, a bowl of rainwater, and seeds for cover crops.
Offerings: Turn under and mulch the used land.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian.

Aequinoctium Autumnale Invocation

Earth, we have eaten of your bounty!
You have fed us, and we are content.
We have worked you hard, and you have responded
With generosity and fruitfulness.
Now, as the year draws on, and the Sun
Shortens its days and counts the moons
Until its chilly death and incandescent rebirth,
We gift you as you have gifted us,
We care for you as you have cared for us,
We give back that we may continue to take,
Year after year, cycle after cycle.
Do not think, O Mother, that we are merely selfish,
And would only rape you of your bounty.
Our hands shall toil that you may have,
If only in this one small place,
Richness to take back for yourself.
For we know the hard secrets of the cycle,
And we will someday give ourselves
Back to your quiet embrace.

Chant:
Leaves falling
To our hands
Autumn calling
Cover all the land

(All take up the buckets of leaves and straw, and the spades, and go out to the garden. Some will turn over the soil, and others shall follow with cover crop seeds and rainwater, or with mulch to cover the ground. This shall be done throughout the Aequinoctium Autumnale days until all the ground from this year’s crops are covered.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]