We've had almost a full week of rain, which has now stopped, although it's still grey and cold and there's a wild wind that is making impulsive and not-very-gentle love to the branches and leaves. They respond in kind: the sort of sex old lovers have when they don't know for sure when, if ever, they'll see each other again, don't terribly care, but figure, "Hey, this one deserves to be good because of all that went before." (I guess you have to be a certain age to get this.)
One of the things that I love a lot about Autumn is this glorious WRECKEDNESS. The garden that was so orderly this summer is covered by a thin scrim of soggy, blown-about leaves, the trees are going to ruin, although they're going there with a final burst of color. Seed pods are popping before I can collect the seeds in nice, neatly-labeled envelopes (Datura from Front Garden -- Dark Moon -- Oct. 2009) and seeding the damp ground beneath them will-they-nill-they. The acorns that I was going to collect and send to a group that grows young oaks to repopulate MD are too soggy, scattered everywhere. Ghosts of those I've known flit around in broad day, talk to me and demand food and baths in my dreams, call to me across fields of parsley and thyme when they know that my feet are bare. Everything is going to ruin and doing it with a bonny will.
That Mother Earth does this, and does it once a year, every year, is such a gift. It reminds me that even when, like Dorothy Parker, My land is bare of chattering folk; The clouds are low along the ridges, And sweet's the air with curly smoke From all my burning bridges, that's ok. In fact, it's necessary, this blessed dishabille, chaos, going to ruin. Everything we do in Autumn, raking the leaves into neat piles, making warm soup, laying ruby-red fires, knitting vests, and laying out next Spring's garden on grid paper with colored pencils, it's all in a way an attempt to deny what the Mother is teaching us: ruin is lovely, in and of itself. It's this love of ruin that sends me gladly dancing through graveyards, watching the decomposition in my compost bin, heading into dark places inside me that ought to terrify a nice lady. Someone once said that people fear witches because we aren't afraid of the dark places. That's not quite right. At our best, we witches love the dark places, seek them out, co-destroy with nature just as, in Spring, we co-create. Because they're the same, because the one requires the other.
Blessed dark October Moon to you.
Photos by the author, if you copy, please link back. (I tried like hell to kill this rosebush all summer. I ignored it, didn't water it, let the morning glories overtake it. It gently ignored me and then, all unexpected, presented me with these lovely-full-of-vitamins-rose-hips. If she survives the winter, I'm going to be forced to pull her up and throw her in the compost heap w/ full awareness of what I'm doing.)
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 . . . ."