Friday, November 20, 2015

The Falling Of Sacred Leaves

It is no secret that Autumn is my favorite season. Here in Appalachia the Autumn is short, but fierce: the mountainsides turning red and gold practically overnight as soon as the temperature dips.

Brilliant colored leaves seem to give themselves away as they momentarily show, then wither, and finally fall gently to the ground. That is most days; on other days the wind shakes the few who stubbornly remain firmly attached to the branches. By late November the ground is covered with a crunchy carpet of twisted, dry leaves. The days are noticeably shorter and colder. The last of the harvest is in and stored. I see fewer animals grazing in the pastures, and hear the ducks and geese on their way to warmer climates.

To me this has always been one of those times outside of time. It has an odd, slightly disorganized feel to it, and an urgency that bubbles up through time from ages past.

"For friends, family, food and fellowship, we are thankful."
We are thankful for what is still here, and fondly remember what and who is not. We are thankful for what has come from the land to sustain our health and what is beneficial to our continued survival. In the cold nights heralding the long Winter, we gather ourselves, our memories, and what is precious to us closer and  spread our mantle over to keep warm. The candles burn brightly in the increasingly long and dark nights, and our thoughts turn inward. Life feels more sacred somehow, just as the falling of the leaves seem almost sacrificial.

But magick is still afoot. We bring evergreen branches inside to remind us that there is still life in these dark, grey days. Our homes are decorated with wreathes and garlands, berries, pods and bright babbles that reflect the twinkle of starlight. We surround ourselves with the aroma of pine, cinnamon and other warming spices. We make music to bring joy uplift our moods and spirits. ( Did you know that  Over the River and Through the Woods was actually written for Thanksgiving and not Christmas? Here's a recipe for making the house smell inviting and to banish the stale indoor smell caused by having to keep the windows closed:

A saucepan half filled with water
A handful of pine needles. Toss in small pines cones, too.
A spoon of each: ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves
A sprig or two of eucalyptus
A small citrus fruit, sliced ( I like orange )
A small apple, sliced

If you have the oils and would rather, substitute pine oil, orange oil,lemon oil,cinnamon oil and eucalyptus oil, about 3-5 drops of each.

Blend all of the above in the saucepan of water and place on a back burner of the stove on very low heat. Keep a watch on the level of the water and occasionally top it up. Even though this concoction smells wonderful, it is not edible-do not take it internally. When finished, take out the fruit and strain out the solids. The liquid may be poured in a jar and kept to be reused. Because it has no preservatives, occasionally check stored liquid for mold.

The preparation of this mixture may be used as part of a conjuration to not only warm and freshen your home with it's aroma, but with the energies of the ingredients. Most of the ingredients have Sun/fire energies, used for protection, prosperity and opening consciousness- perfect for The Thanksgiving holiday, or thanks-giving at other times during the colder seasons.

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