Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The heavy silver mist hung over the buildings and trees like a gossamer veil this early post-Lughnasadh morning. On the way to town yesterday morning, I noticed some round bales of hay in the fields and a few browning leaves, but otherwise the summer isn't ready to let go here. It's been an unseasonably cool summer with a few truly cold nights-not that I mind. The tourism folks tout the " natural air-conditioning" of this part of the Appalachians, and have christened the nearby town of Bluefield as "Virginia's Tallest Town". If and when it ever gets up around 90 degrees, all the local businesses give away free water and lemonade; they luck out because it seldom does.
The crows were rather active this morning. Their infernal cawing drowned out the songbirds(but not the damned locusts!) They wheeled and swooped over the trees and an abandoned house, sounding off every time one of them was lifted by a thermal; a companion would immediately answer in the distance. They disappeared quickly into the trees when the rain picked up.
I love the smell of rain and wet greenery, and I love to sleep by the sound of rain falling. Nothing kept me from laying down to indulge in this favorite pastime, so I did...and instead of dozing, my mind began to wander...I haven't planned anything special for Mabon, but today I will bake bread, I will strip the husks off the ears of corn I bought for dinner and make corn dollies out of them, I will clean through the apartment and dowse it for 'stuck energy, then smudge everything with sage and sweetgrass...and then, only then, will I feel ready to welcome the coming harvest season. One of my favorite things about living in this part of the country is that we actually do have four distinct seasons; so this will be a Summer Harvest of apples and garden vegetables. In just a few weeks, the whole community will become as much like Norman Rockwell's America as we can muster in a place where a duck walking across the street can cause a traffic jam. On Labor Day weekend, what few railroad workers and coal miners left among the living will celebrated their contribution to local heritage with a march down Center Street, and listened to old-fashioned political stump speeches and then shared a free ham and brown bean dinner. Only in small town America, folks.
Raise the song of Harvest Home! These words have always held special meaning for me, much more so after 20+ years as Pagan. It's not just the seasonal shift, but the mental one- from urgency and growth to relaxing into who I am and have become. I do 'magickal' things now without the tools and often by second nature. If I'm making an incense or charm for a specific purpose, I will sort through my herbs and stones and mix them intuitively. Upon later examination, I find I have chosen ingredients with the correct correspondences without consulting one of the many books. Kitchen Witch. Hedge Witch. Labels for a reality I now claim without much fuss. I am so used to referring to myself as a Witch now that I will toss the word out in general conversation without much thought that I can shift into my elevator speech about what that means without the other person having enough time to bat an eyelash...and explain it in such a way that it is acceptable. That's one of the beauties of living in Appalachia...We're rather fond of our granny women, root workers, hedge witches and common parlance doctors.
Raise the song of Harvest Home! The leaves have begun to take on color in the cooler nights; right now most of them are a yellowish green, but in a few weeks they'll be orange and red. This afternoon, someone decorated all the telephone poles with corn stalks and big orange bows, and scarecrows are beginning to pop up around town. The grocery stores are stocking field pumpkins to be turned into jack-o-lanterns. Dollar Tree has the largest selection of Halloween merchandise that I've seen in years. Our Summer hasn't been overly hot or humid, but I think we all need the change and to move on. Where has the year gone? Here, to Autumn.
Mabon has always been an awkward holiday for me, sandwiched between Lughnasadh and Samhain as it is. What do we do? We celebrate. At Lughnasadh we celebrate the Harvest; at Mabon we celebrate the turning season and at Samhain we celebrate Life and Death. It is that simple. We celebrate where we are and the fact that we've gotten here at Mabon, sans the mythology. We celebrate change and newness. We know that the time is short and the year is dying around us, but the trees have changed their colors and the nights are crisper, and we feel a certain urgency to complete whatever it is we were doing during Summer so that we can embrace what is coming. The Veil is slowly opening, it's edges billowing toward this world. The wisp of cool air makes us shiver and draw our resolve around us, and we wait for....what we do not know. The beauty of Mabon is not knowing what will happen when the nights begin to lengthen and darkness gathers earlier and earlier.
The beauty of Mabon are the candles we light and the cups of warmth we share. The beauty of Mabon is being suspended between Summer and Winter, of being between the worlds. That is the magick of the season.