Have you ever made bread? Ever knocked on the bottom of a hot loaf, searching for the perfect hollow note that will tell you it’s done? Ever bitten into sweet corn in July, a ripe peach in August, acorn squash in September? Ever made a summer fire? Thrown your most beloved God into its burning mouth? Ever danced the ecstatic volta at Sabbat with loved ones and heartfriends? Darlings, I know you have. And I wonder, as I wander, friends friends, I think it’s possible that the vast majority of the time…yes yes yes….these are enough. The meaning is there – grokked in the deep myth, sitting sated and strong in the marrow of our bones. There is no need to ask “what the grain represents” at Harvest. It is itself, the Grain, and that staggering mystery is enough. It is plucked, threshed, ground, mixed with yeast and water and salt and kneaded until it looks like satin, and then, swollen and ripe with pure life, it is thrust into a livid hole of fire, to emerge an alchemical miracle, and effing delicious with butter and blackberry jam. Isn’t that phenomenal? To consider this each year, or every day, is the spiritual devotion of a storied being wed forever to the heart of the Mama. Break the bread and give it to a neighbor. If words are needed, make them a prayer. If singing is required, sing your guts out. If you are so gobsmacked by its profundity that you lie on the fertile ground for an hour, enchanted by the stars and the smell of the fistfuls of frankincense and peasant loaves and apples you gave to the hungry fire until your arms were slack and your skirt empty, and during that hour you feel the weight of the fragile and amazing thing that is your body settle down into the planet’s lap, and you grok Harvest, beloveds, well….you can stick a fork in the season and call it done. And no one had to even ask you what abstract qualities you were metaphorically harvesting, or what the bread meant. The bread sits in your belly, infusing your whole body with its ineffable perfection. The mystery is in the bread. Literally.*
As we move, at an alarming and alluring rate towards Samhein, as I sit by my trees and literally watch the veils grow thin, thinner, thinnest, thin, I wish for each of us the pure Sabbat that Ruby Sara describes. In my humble experience, and, truly, it is humble, I've found that the best preparation that I can do for such a Sabbat is (here's a surprise! not!) to engage in a regular daily practice. For me, that means: sit, ground and center, call the Elements the Goddesses with whom I'm working (right now, Hygeia, and Columbia, and, as always, the Great Three Headed Goddess of Liminal Space Whose Very Being Creates the Possibility of Change -- Breathe, Breathe, Breathe), cast a circle, say the Ha Prayer, do my Iron Pentacle exercise, envision and breathe into change, thank the Goddesses, thank the Elements, open the circle. And, then, do the work. Feed the birds, weed the herb bed, knit the warm sweaters, write the shining brief, encourage the friend, be kind enough to the store clerk (THIS store clerk, the very one that the Goddess has especially chosen to throw this day into your path, THIS one) to elicit a smile and a small warming of the aura, repair the web, exalt in the sunlight or the rainstorm or the icy cold wine. In short, do the privileged work of a witch: put your shoulder to the wheel and help it to turn.
I'm not sure why such regular, and seemingly "mundane", practice leads to those Sabbatical moments in the field that Ruby Sara describes. But I do know that they do.
May it be so for you.
(Many, many thanks to Medusa Coils for noting Ruby Sara's return to the blogosphere.)
*Or, as the Goddess said: And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.
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 . . . ."