Tuesday, September 24, 2019

September Equinox-a-Long Day 3: Blessings of the Season to Come

This last day, we ask for blessings for the season to come.

In the north, we will be honoring the deities or spirits that symbolize the rest and reflection of the winter, and the blessings of renewal it can bring.   I honored Skadhi and Ullr with whiskey (we were out of vodka), bison jerky, and dried berries, sharing our preparation of food for the coming winter with them.

For the southern hemisphere, we will be asking for the blessings of the coming season of planting, growth, and eventual harvest.   

The black netting will be removed from the winter altar and placed over the summer altar (after candles are extinguised).  The white candles are lit and a moment of quiet meditation in preparation for the wheel turning.  The old corn dolly is disposed of in a sacred manner, usually by fire either tonight or at a later time. The new corn dolly will be wrapped in incubation, as the spirit of my land rests and gets used to its new "skin." (Not appearing because the cats were SUPER interested in it.)

For the omen, I asked what was our path for the winter and got... Thurisaz.  As my spouse said "Ain't no way but the hard way."  The path forward is difficult but not impossible if we tread with care and take shelter when we need and find it.

Thank you for spending this station of the sun with me!

Monday, September 23, 2019

September Equinox-a-Long Day 2: Spirits of protection

There are usually many predictions of what the weather will be like for the coming season, be it hurricanes or blizzards.  Thanking the spirit/god one sees as protecting either humanity in general or your own residence is appropriate. I usually thank Thor for seeing me through the Summer (and Winter) and asking for his blessings and protection for the coming Winter (or Summer), with ale and porridge for an offering. 

But first, the actual equinox arrived around here bright and early...er, actually DARK and early at 3:50 a.m. I had set my alarm for 3:45 a.m. When it went off, I changed my mind about this, but then had to get up to answer "nature's call."  By then it was 3:47, and I figured I may as well do it anyway.  I lit the candles, and meditated (as much as possible at that hour) on the season to come, and then broke the stick when the alarm sounded at 3:50.  Then I went back to bed :)   ( http://thebookofsassafras.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-breaking-of-stick.html)

Later this evening, then, we called upon Thor. Not only is he one of the Aesir, but he's also one of the patrons of our home that we honor in our weekly rites.  

I also called on Fenne, who is (allegedly) a sister of Aine and Grianne, in Irish Celtic mythology.  Unverified Internet Gnosis (UIG) has suggested Aine is the summer sun and Grianne is the winter sun, but is silent on where that leaves Fenne.  A friend speculated that Fenne could be thought of as the Liminal Sun.  So in my sunrise/sunset prayers I refered to the sun as Fenne, and then tomorrow will refer to her as Grianne.

The old and and new corn dolly are introduced to each other.  The omen taken for "What protection should we take with us into the winter" was Ehwaz, to work in partnership with the Spirits.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

September Equinox-a-Long Day 1: Thanking the spirits of the previous season.

In the north, we would light a green and a yellow candle (or whatever you feel is appropriate) representing the fertility of the summer that is passing and for the harvest that is being brought in.  Offerings of produce, bread, and mead could be appropriate here, especially the last of the harvest. I usually honor Freyja and Freyr, as the Vanir, and gods of fertility and harvest (simplistically speaking), but I wanted to research any Celtic (specifically Irish-Gaelic) deities that would work. Unfortunately I am still looking.

In the south, honoring those of the winter months who are yielding the cold season of rest and renewal.  Offerings of vodka (because of association with northern lands), jerky, and other preserved items, representing the storage of food over the winter, are suggested in the blรณts that inspired this.  I would honor Ullr and Skadhi. 

This year we offered green beans, rosemary, and basil from our garden, an apple (which honestly I got from Giant Eagle), bread that I made, and dandelion wine, also made by me.  You can see that I've also added the corn dolly that was in my garden for the season.  I plan on releasing the spirit of my land on Monday and inviting it to move to the corn dolly made this year. 

There's also the stick I may or may not break tomorrow morning, and a rune pulled for "lessons of the season that is ending." Which is Fehu, a good omen to harvest!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

September Equinox - a - Long

In the spirit of the Solstice-a-Longs, I present a three-night (or day) devotional for the coming Equinox. As with the Solstices, I am presenting information for both the Northern and Southern hemisphere.  Once again, I am inspired by rites that were included in the Troth’s Book of Blots. The two rites are designed for larger groups; I have edited them for the candle-lighting theme that I used with the Solstice-a-longs.  As there is no tradition for multi-day celebrations for the equinoxes as there is with Yule (at least that I can find), that simplifies things greatly. 

The first step is, obviously, to find what day the equinox is in your hemisphere. Keep in mind time zones may move the date, if the actual time of solstice falls near midnight.  This year, in my time zone, the Equinox is Monday, September 23, 2019 at 3:50 am EDT.  Thus, the devotional begins on Sunday, September 22, and ends on Tuesday, September 24.  A good site is http://www.timeanddate.com. 

Again, given both the source and also my own leanings, I usually follow a Norse theme, however, this year I may experiment with "something else."  Stay tuned.  As always, everyone is encouraged to be creative and apply their specific ideas to this, and I again invite folks to share it with me. 

In general, at both Equinoxes we will be honoring the transition of seasons.  The equinox itself is a time of balance between day and night. One can think of it is also balancing of other energies as well as one works through the three days.   

On the left, I have the "summer altar." The center is the transition or liminal space, and the right is the "winter altar." I don't have room for three separate ones but I think I might like that better. The winter altar is, for now, covered with black netting, which will be removed on Day 3.  Or when the cats find it.  Whichever.

A general framework of the devotional follows.

Day 1:  Thanking the energies/gods/spirits of the previous season. In the north this would be of summer, and in the south, those of winter.

Day 2 Thanking and honoring spirits of protection.

Day 3:  Asking for blessings for the season to come.

May the blessings of the Ever Changing Sun be yours.  

Monday, July 1, 2019

June Solstice-A-Long Day 12: CELEBRATION

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Good day! And welcome to Day 12 of the Three Cranes Grove Solstice-a-Long!

Even though “Twelfth Night” is attested to at the end of Yule, our modern calendars only allow for New Year’s Eve to happen in December. But that does not mean some sort of gathering can’t happen!  We might need to juggle mundane obligations to have a fitting ending to the celebration but find some time to transition out of this sacred time.  Light the last candle, have an evening gathering in the South, or a daytime gathering in the North and celebrate!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

June Solstice-A-Long Day 11: Return to the Otherworld

Good day! And welcome to Day 11 of the Three Cranes Grove Solstice-a-Long! 

As we prepared the practical nature of hearth and harvest yesterday, today we let go of the Otherworld energies we welcomed as the Winter Wanderer and Spirit of the Greenwood, as they shapeshift into the Boar and Stag, both with other-wordly associations of prosperity and abundance we hope to have for the new year.

Light the previous candles and then light the eleventh, placing the appropriate symbol and offering.

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Southern Hemisphere:  The Cosmic Boar Hunt is a theme that, according to Alexei Kondratiev in “The Apple Branch,” symbolizes the cycle of the sun and the earth’s fertility.  The boar’s head would be used for swearing oaths, but most of us don’t have access to one of those.  So, a statue of a boar would be fine, and special honoring for Frey and Freya (or, as always, other deities and spirits) perhaps, given their associations with the animal.  Offering of an apple for the Great Boar, in case it passes by your house.

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Northern Hemisphere: Kontratiev juxtaposes the Boar with the Stag in his book, and as we welcomed the perhaps-antlered Spirit of the Greenwood early in the devotion, it is fitting then to honor the Stag as he prepares for his most fertile time. Symbols of the Stag and offerings for deities of the hunt.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

June Solstice-A-Long Day10: Hearth and Harvest

Good Day! And welcome to Day 10 of the Three Crane Grove Solstice-a-Long! As our 12-days are nearing a close, we must begin preparations for heading back into regular time, and for the tasks to come.

Light the previous candles and then light the tenth, placing the appropriate symbol and offering.

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Northern Hemisphere: Preparing for the Harvest. On a practical level, this means just what it says, even if your harvest is only a couple of tomatoes from your garden.  Placement of a harvest tool, or similar symbols of the harvest on the altar, and offerings to harvest deities and spirits.

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Southern Hemisphere:   Preparing the hearth for the remainder of the winter is the theme.    Placement of a distaff if you have one, or other household related things on the altar, and honoring Frigga or other hearth and home deities.