As the Wheel of the Year moves ever onward, we celebrate the second of three harvest festivals. More harvesting? It can give you pause, but our ancestors knew what they were doing.
This time of year can be challenging for me, as I drag myself further away from the sunny brightness of summer. There is a grudging acceptance I feel as the days get darker sooner, and the air grows cooler. Change can be hard to accept, and Fall is certainly a time of change. The trees show us how beautiful it is to let things go, as the popular meme states.
The season since Lammas has been one of change, of letting things go that no longer serve me. The layers of myself that have been shed have led to a well-honed core of what is important to me: family, friendships, work, writing, poetry, words, community. All these things are my mantra as I move through the busy hum of this time of year.
Compared to last year, when I was in a giddy swirl of manifesting and reaping, this has been a more somber year. My youngest has faced health issues that has brought me to the brink of despair, inspired me with the grace in which he deals with it, and strengthened my resolves in many areas. Magic and the Wheel of the Year has served me well in these areas, focusing, resetting, providing me with things to do so I don’t feel quite so helpless. My body feels in tune with the season, and there is less fear of the colder and darker days ahead. Following the seasons feels right, and I feel a certain hum underneath the daily grind of life that soothes me.
So what am I harvesting? Harvesting was always the giddy anticipation of gaining something. The fruits of my labor. Like the ripe, luscious tomato that is harvested from the garden, the fragrant herbs or the spicy peppers that would fill my bowl. Now it feels more that I am digging deep in the ground, unearthing treasures that I find. I dig deep, and it a satisfying sensation. I have harvested a renewed commitment to my magical practice, and I have returned once again to honoring and communing with my ancestors. Not that my ancestors have given me much choice, as they were lamenting all summer in a dusty corner that I seemingly abandoned them. They surround me and my sons with love and guidance, and it is comforting to know that we still have that attachment. Darker and less welcome ancestors have shown up as well, but in facing them, a strength has been derived that this too can be overcome.
My harvest has been facing the darkness that is within myself, as I silently wail, again?! Does this ever end? And I have learned: no, it does not. Like the potato that is harvested, I dig deep in the loamy soil to find that stubborn stone that has hindered growth, examine it, work with it, and move it away, so the growth can continue. I have faced things in myself that I thought was long put to rest, to only discover that it was still there, lurking. It’s not an easy harvest this year. My face has been streaked with tears and grime from the hard work, but there is a satisfying ache in my bones from work well done.
So here we are, at the second harvest festival. Heading towards the zenith of our year, Samhain. I am weary, and battered, but ultimately a stronger person for it. It has been a year of learning and harvesting. Grudgingly, for I was never a farmer. Or so I thought. Yet with my little plot, I have reaped some interesting and fruitful crops. I will celebrate with friends, partake in ritual, and feel fully present in the moment. I know I can face the coming darkness more solid as a person than I have ever been. It is a harvest I am proud of, and one that will serve me well in the coming months.