I swear by all that's holy (and, let's face it, I'm a witch. I think that it's all holy. The pretty stuff: the flowers and the mountains and the flowing river and the sunlight on the water and the softness of a baby's cheek and the maiden's blush and an eagle and waves and firelight and brave deeds, and the widdershins stuff: the worms and the decay and the mold and the spiders and the cold and the dark and the crone's greed for the warm spot by the fire and the fear and the death. So, it's a lot to swear by.) that yesterday, when I drove home from work, the trees along the Potomac River were green. And, tonight, literally overnight, they've begun to turn yellow and brown. As if Mother Earth were saying: here. Here's the boundary. Summer's off on one side and, here, on this side, we're beginning the slide into darkness, and coldness, and death.
Sunday, for one day, everything will be in perfect balance: day and night; darkness and light. And, then, Monday, we begin, will we or nill we, ready or not, the decent into the underworld. And, no less of us than it did of Innana, the underworld will demand that we gift it with all that we hold dear. It will take more from us than we are really prepared to give. It will end with us hanging, naked, from meathooks in our evil sister's kingdom. It will end with me tired of winter and bulky clothes, sick of worrying about slipping on the ice, desperate for a taste of spring greens. And, as a witch, I celebrate this process every bit as much as I celebrate Springtime when everything is new, and fresh, and, as my G/Son says, "hap-py!" I celebrate it as much as I celebrate Summer, when the sun makes the most passionate love on this planet to the tree leaves and photosynthesis happens, when tomatoes and blackberries and peaches and corn and crabs and basil explode in the garden and on the table of my screen porch. As a witch, I am eager to stand once again at the gate to the darkness and offer up my earrings, calling, "Sister of Darkness! I've left Dmuzi on the throne; here I come!"
Balance, the Wheel of the Year teaches us, is seldom found. Two days out of 365. The other days, it's all about movement, trends, the turning of the wheel. Here's a spot worn smooth. Come put your shoulder up there against it, with mine. A witch's job is to turn the wheel, and round and round the wheel must turn. It's turning now towards darkness. How can you help it to turn? Next Eostara, it will shift, and turn again towards light. What secret wlll you bring out of the darkness, clutched, bloody and weak, but glowing, to your breast? What is it that you need to learn during the next six months of germination? What do you need to leave behind to decay and be slowly transformed in the permafrost of the dark northern nights?
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."