Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Good Morning Moon.

Another morning with the Moon. November 2014.
Just another morning with the Moon. November 2014.

Steeped in Darkness we are.

"Good morning, Moon!" This may be among the few blessings of this time of year in the far North.

We wake in complete Darkness, save for human luminaries, of course.

We deliver the children to school in Darkness, save for human luminaries, of course.

And we pass the sliver of daylight hoping the Sun might make headway through the clouds, if even for a brief moment. Then we relish it. 

Or at least I do.

Making Time with the Winter Sun. Moma Fauna.
Making Time with the Winter Sun. Moma Fauna.

The merciful Whomevers have thrown us a bone & it has been unseasonably warm. And despite the ominous undertones of that climate indicator, I am thankful for the respite from sub-zero temperatures because I just wasn't made for this.

I am a desert critter, but I am here for Love.

And with that thought, I will whisper to the Moon secrets & stories of Love because She is Here is Her Fullest presence at this time, all day, most every day.

And it is most appropriate that I return to writing with Her at the forefront because She was & is the impetus for this whole Thing, whatever it is or will become. 

And I would offer some POETRY this day, but it seems I just uninstalled my Poetry Foundation App in a fit of spaztic finger flailing & since I seem to have merged like the Borg with my little know-it-all phone, I am now at a loss for (other people's poetic) words.

Maybe then, just one. 


Blessings & Love to you this Esbat, my friends.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Poetry for the Esbat: "Unto the Hunter's Moon..." (2014)

Demons with cards under a full Moon,  from Patrick Valenza's "Whispers from an Inkwell."
Demons with cards under a full Moon,
from Patrick Valenza's "Whispers from an Inkwell." 

We can call it many things; The Blood Moon, Sanguine Moon or in my own previous labelings, the Blood & Bone Moon. In more southerly climes, one may still call this the Harvest Moon, but it's already a little late for us in this bioregion. There is snow on the mountains & we wake in the dark with frost coating most everything outside.

There are those who call it the Hunter's Moon & that makes sense to me because I have noticed that the Moose begin to look both increasingly sexy & decidedly more tasty at this time of year. The bucks begin to resemble long legged sausages & the ladies have such great looking haunches that I struggle with this weird quandary of wondering which I want more -- to have a rump & thighs like that for myself, or to gnaw on said rump & thighs. And thus, the Hunter's Moon.

A plump moose buck lounges on Autumn afternoon.
A plump moose buck lounges on Autumn afternoon.

This is also the time of gearing up for the end of October festivities. I have grappled with Samhain plenty, repeatedly even. And last year's Samhain (which fortunately I had no computer to with which to write about it) was such a colossal misadventure, that I am calling it quits on Samhain. Just give me Hallowe'en, please. 

Cards from Patrick Valenza's
"Whispers from an Inkwell."
This Moon's Poetry for the Esbat reflects this sentiment, an embracing of of the fairy tale, the folklore & festivity that is Halloween. This is not the modern, over commercialized, Hallowe'en box-store caricature of the holiday, but the truly spirited cultural celebration of the unknown, the dark places with the safety & security of a shared venture into the theatre of ambiguity. It is about traditions, about becoming what we are not & using that ruse to enter those places we "shouldn't" go... 

It's also an aesthetic adventure, if you do it well. 

And I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I am simply quite done with other people's versions of this time when the leaves turn & frost nips & strange spirits venture forth to brush elbows with the rest of us. I am done. No more psychodrama, no more tacky materialism, no more reconstructing of the "ancient past," please. I just want to dive into the celebration, swim deep & revel in each moment.

Cards from Patrick Valenza's  "Whispers from an Inkwell."
Cards from Patrick Valenza's
"Whispers from an Inkwell."
With this admittedly old fashioned sentiment in mind, I have found a piece submitted to Harper's Weekly in 1910. I suspect the commercialization of Hallowe'en was minimal at that time (at least the vulgar gore was). The poem speaks to the festive aesthetic, the celebration & the mystery. It reminds me of Palmer Cox's Brownie books which I like to read to the children whenever possible. One of the poem's strengths is that it does not neglect the importance of our Lady Moon's influence in all things Hallowe'en & even mentions the monkier "Hunter's Moon" -- perfect for this Esbat. 

I have also included some images of Patrick Valenza's not-exactly-Tarot deck, "Whispers from an Inkwell" which also capture that olde-tyme feeling, albeit a bit less festive than agonized (a mood generally characteristic of Valenza's work).

Hallowe'en, by J . K. Bangs
Published in Harper's Weekly, Nov. 5, 1910

Bring forth the raisins and the nuts--
To-night All Hallows' Spectre struts
Along the moonlit way.
No time is this for tear or sob,
Or other woes our joys to rob,
But time for Pippin and for Bob,
And Jack-o'-lantern gay.

Come forth, ye lass and trousered kid,
From prisoned mischief raise the lid,
And lift it good and high.
Leave grave old Wisdom in the lurch,
Set Folly on a lofty perch,
Nor fear the awesome rod of birch
When dawn illumes the sky.

'Tis night for revel, set apart
To reillume the darkened heart,
And rout the hosts of Dole.
'Tis night when Goblin, Elf, and Fay,
Come dancing in their best array
To prank and royster on the way,
And ease the troubled soul.

The ghosts of all things, past parade,
Emerging from the mist and shade
That hid them from our gaze,
And full of song and ringing mirth,
In one glad moment of rebirth,
Again they walk the ways of earth,
As in the ancient days.

The beason light shines on the hill,
The will-o'-wisps the forests fill
With flashes filched from noon;
And witches on thier broomsticks spry
Speed here and yonder in the sky,
And lift their strident voices high
Unto the Hunter's moon.

The air resounds with tuneful notes
From myriads of straining throats,
All hailing Folly Queen;
So join the swelling choral throng,
Forget your sorrow and your wrong,
In one glad hour of joyous song
To honor Hallowe'en.

Blessings & delight to you this Esbat, my friends.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Art. Symbol. Life. The primal self.

An impromptu moment among friends. Ad lib art creates a powerful, primal symbol. Image credit PH/CK.
An impromptu moment among friends.
Ad lib art creates a powerful, primal symbol.
Image credit PH/CK.

The photo above is of a friend in my godfather's yard which constitutes an ever growing sea of sun-bleached, scavenged "crap" -- or treasures, depending on how you define these things. 

The photo is an impromptu moment in the lives of some people -- together they are enjoying a Place & special event very dear to my heart & whole being. 

The photo also captures a moment of extempore art.

And this photo presents a powerful, primal symbol.

Over the few days since this image came into my view, I find myself returning to it again & again. It is the sum of it's parts that make it compelling. Were this a photo of the friend, or of the elk alone, it would not have the same power. His placement in the cluttered "wasteland" is also relevant, but the man-body with elk-head is the key

It is the key to an immediate, visceral reaction. I doubt that many humans would gaze upon this without their guts telling them something. However, the reaction & consequent interpretation is up to the viewer's symbolic associations. Folks like to argue that we humans have a set of shared, universal symbols, but I am not sure that we do anymore. I think technology, world religions, cultural dispersion & other things have changed our perception of said symbols.

What do your entrails say to you about this? 

Mine harbour longing. And they wish to see & know something that lies just beyond, around the corner, outside the borders of the camera's viewfinder or, perhaps it is that which one might find through the gateway of the man-elk.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pray to the Night Gods: New Ceremonies & Devotional Galleries

Plate with Cuneiform Script: Pray to the Night Gods Clay; Early 2nd millennium BC, Ancient East. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Plate with Cuneiform Script: Pray to the Night Gods
Clay; Early 2nd millennium BC, Ancient East.
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Sometimes it feels a bit lonely. 

Academically at least, I know I am not the only human who prays to the Great Night Gods. There are always others on this crazy planet -- the small pool of people who have been doing it across the millennia. I figure that all of us who honour any of the many & varied Night Gods ultimately find that deep, inexpressible yet compelling reason for engaging Them. After all, Their adoration continues on, whether we have had a tradition passed down to us from our families & culture, or whether we came to Them on our own, feeling our way about as we create & discover new, personal ways to honour Them. 

The Autumn Equinox has passed & the Termination Dust has capped the mountains. Now is the time for Darkness to settle & linger over this land. Time to move inward. Time to honour the Night Gods during their most conspicuous attendance. 

I have begun composing a special divinatory dreamwork ceremony, a Rite for Morpheus & the Oneiric Brood. It will probably take some modeling & inspiration from this ceremony, but much of it will be my own. I think. It seems to make sense to me that this ceremony occur monthly or so, throughout the dark window between the Equinoxes. Perhaps it should extend beyond. I will discern that when the time approaches. It is all open to adjustment & adaptation -- this is how we get it right. This is how we cultivate tradition. 

In honour of the Night Gods & the darkening season, I have finally added the third piece of the devotional galleries here in the journal. These galleries are a continually evolving, inspirational project for anyone who appreciates art, literature or any of my particular Night Gods. They are a perpetual work-in-progress & a personal joy to create.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Public Animas Ceremony Part 6: Offerings. (Poetry Appendix)

Continued lessons from the Public Animas Ceremony: An Invitation to Passion.

As promised, this entry includes the 'poetry offerings' chosen & presented by the Animas Ceremony Officiants. This last entry should cover the last of the details & subsequent entries will bring the bigger picture into perspective. Finally. 

I could go on about the people behind these choices & why I love this poem or that, but I am choosing to let them alone here as I have plans to discuss people in more detail & I find that poetry is,  more often than not, best left to speak for itself...

In order of recitation:

The Invitation
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, (selected verses) read by Kimber

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for 
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool 
for love, 
for your dreams, 
for the adventure of being alive.

I want to know if you can be with joy, 
mine or your own;
if you can dance with wildness 
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful, 
to be realistic
remembering the limitations of being human.

I want to know if you can live with failure, 
yours and mine, ours
and still stand at the edge of the lake 
and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire 
with me and not shrink back.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself 
and if you truly like the company you keep 
in these empty moments.

by E. E. Cummings, read by Nat

sometimes i am alive because with
me her alert treelike body sleeps
which i will feel slowly sharpening
becoming distinct with love slowly,
who in my shoulder sinks sweetly teeth
until we shall attain the Springsmelling
intense large togethercoloured instant

the moment pleasantly frightful

when, her mouth suddenly rising, wholly
begins with mine fiercely to fool
(and from my thighs which shrug and pant
a murdering rain leapingly reaches the 
upward singular deepest flower which she
carries in a gesture of her hips)

Reason and Passion XV
by Khalil Gibran, read by Corwen

      Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and judgment wage war against passion and your appetite. 
      Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody. 
      But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers -- nay, the lovers -- of all your elements? 
      Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. 
      If either your sails or our rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, on the sea.
      Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing!
      And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and, like the Phoenix rise above its own ashes. 
      Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows, then let your heart say in Silence, "The gods rest in reason." 
      And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, then let heart - say in awe, "The gods move in passion." 
      And since you are a breath in the gods’ sphere, and a leaf in the gods’ forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion! 

The Emerald Tablet
by Hermes Trismegistus
Isaac Newton Trans., adaptation by Xinther, read by Xinther

Of all things said tis' true without lying or falsehood:
That which is below is like that above, 
And that which is above is like that below,
Doing all the miracles of one thing only.
So do all things have their birth from this One by adaptation;
The Sun its Father, the Moon its Mother,
The Wind its breath, and the Earth its Nurse;
for the father of Perfection is here!
If only converted to Earth will the force be entire.
The force to separate the Subtle from the Gross, 
The Power to blend the Superior and Inferior from above as well as below;
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
and thereby all obscurity shall fly!
Penetration into all solid matter and overcoming every subtle force;
So the world was created.
And come admirable adaptations and marvelous conjunctions;
For I am Hermes Trismegistus!
Having three parts of  Wisdom and Philosophy of the Whole
and that which I have said is now accomplished.

The Laughing Heart 

by Charles Bukowski, read by Alli

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Leaf Ceremony: Autumn Equinox 2014, The Tradition Continues

Autumn Equinox Leaf Ceremony: Gratitudes printed on the leaves,  spoken on the breeze, floated on the water.
Autumn Equinox Leaf Ceremony: Gratitudes printed on the leaves,
spoken on the breeze, floated on the water.

On September 26, 2012, I wrote the following about our first Leaf Ceremony at the Equinox:

"...One by one, the leaves & their messages flitted to the water & meandered down the stream. One by one, we gave thanks & shared our hopes for the future. Our voices carried over the stream & blended with the humming voices of many -- many who undoubtedly also carry hopes, dreams, wishes & thanks of their own..." -- For the Files: Autumn Equinox 2012, Family Style

It is now 2014 & the ceremony continues, thus qualifying it as a tradition I suppose. 

We missed documenting last year's Leaf Ceremony because of the technological breakdown, but perhaps I can take a moment to reflect upon that one too, maybe using it to explain how it is we actually do this thing. Later, of course. For now, this year's recollections.

This year we saw the return of many familiar gratitudes...

Gratitude of a devoted partner.

Thanks of a devoted young scholar.

plus some new & very novel wishes...

Be careful what you hope for little one...

Always some for the greater good, as well as the more personal...

A wish for all creatures.

A more personal sense of gratitude.

Wishes & gratitudes spoken from the same small bridge, into the drifting, chill breeze, onto the swiftly passing water. A tradition continues...

And of course, the libation as offering. This year the last bottle of Black Currant mead from the Ring of Fire Meadery -- this bottle, the last of its kind as this meadery has closed its doors & sold off their equipment. 

Autumn Equinox 2014: Leaves & Libations.
Autumn Equinox 2014: Leaves & Libations.

Into the water, into our belliesFrom the gods to the Earth to us. From us to the Earth to the gods. We are deeply thankful, to be such blessed creatures. May our words be heard on the Waters & beyond.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two Days of Mail

The last two days of mail gave me pause to wonder... just what does this say about our household?

Day 1: Cards from Prague: The Alice Tarot. Day 2: Shroom: a mystery gift from a kindred spirit.
Day 1: Cards from Prague: The Alice Tarot.
Day 2: Shroom: a mystery gift from a kindred spirit.

Special thanks to the mystery mailer. 
I'm sure you know who you are. It took me a moment, but I do too.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Public Animas Ceremony Part 6: Offerings. (More? Really?)

Continued lessons from the Public Animas Ceremony: An Invitation to Passion.

Back to the business of documenting the Summer Solstice Ceremony -- no doubt with further interruption as life continues & other things also demand a voice...

Once I reach the point when this chronicle is complete, I will set all the pieces in a separate place in this blog where they can be easily accessed. I'm sure that once they are collated, so to speak, they will make more sense to someone wanting to use this as a model.

offering |ˈôf(ə)ri ng; äf-|nouna thing offered, esp. as a gift or contribution animals as sacrificial offerings.• a thing produced or manufactured for entertainment or sale :Hollywood's latest offerings for the European market.• a contribution, esp. of money, to a church.• a thing offered as a religious sacrifice or token of devotion. -- Apple Dictionary

Animas Ceremony Officiants with  Floral & Fungal Offerings. See also Art Eggs in background.
Animas Ceremony Officiants with
Floral & Fungal Offerings. See also
Art Eggs in background.
Offerings. Just who or what exactly do they serve? How do we classify them? Or, as I like to ask, should we? I believe that the effort of creating & providing ceremony can be an offering in itself. That is, some ceremonies are just fancy packaging for countless smaller offerings. The Invitation to Passion ceremony in its entirety was really one juicy, oversized offering -- the kind you for which get a pilot car and banners -- for our gods, the spirits & for our people

A brief aside: Sometimes I get the sense that humans who practice modern forms of animism forget the human-human side of relationship. Folks get wrapped up in summoning spirits, communing with corvids or talking with trees & take their relationships with other humans for granted (perhaps even as obligatory). Being a human animal is being part of the human social system (at least marginally) & being human is necessary to our part in other animistic relationships. In other words, don't deny who you are & don't forget your kin. Tend to your relationships.

Back to the subject at hand. Offerings, in this particular ceremony provided several important functions:

  • The offerings served their most conventional function as gratitude gifts & enticement for the spirits of Passion & their associated entities, in the context of the invocation.
  • The offerings served as a mechanism for self-expression & social bonding by providing opportunities to create art-objects together in groups & the company of others.
  • The offerings, as aesthetic elements, created atmosphere for the ceremony environment.
  • The offerings amplified the ceremonial experience by providing a multi-sensory adventure & reinforcing the symbolism, primary themes & intent of the ceremony.

Our offerings, in addition to the Art Bowls already discussed at length, included (but I am sure I will forget some):

    Offerings: Eighty-ish Art Eggs
    Offerings: Eighty-ish Art Eggs
  • Art Eggs: Eighty or so hollow hen's eggs blown over the course of several months & then hand decorated & charged/blessed/imbued during a gathering over dinner, drinks & discussion of Passion (or Star Trek, or whatever other rabbit holes). These eggs were placed in the central Officiant's bowl & poured onto the sand to be trampled into the circle during the dance. These eggs captured the eye & imagination, gave a gentle clacking to the close of the ceremony & gave an irresistible crunch underfoot.

    Animas Ceremony Officiants with Offering Bowls
    Animas Ceremony Officiants with Floral Offerings
    Photo credit HPS CC.
  • Florals & Fungals: Boxes & boxes of dried flowers & fungi were collected from family gatherings, public rites of passage ceremonies, household shrines, funerals, florist friends, etc. The flowers were used as offerings in four of the Officiants bowls & also the containers carried by two of the dancers for Fire Offerings. They were also abundantly distributed across the ceremonial area & ecstatic dance circle. The florals added to the visual, aromatic & tactile atmosphere & contributed to at least one improvisational ritual.

Dancer's Floral & Fungal offerings for Animas Ceremony: An Invitation to Passion.
Dancer's Floral & Fungal offerings for
Animas Ceremony: An Invitation to Passion.
Photo credit HPS CC.

Dancer's Floral & Fungal offerings for  Animas Ceremony: An Invitation to Passion.
Dancer's Floral & Fungal offerings for
Animas Ceremony: An Invitation to Passion.
Photo credit HPS CC.

Additional baskets of Floral offerings used throughout the evening.
Additional baskets of Floral offerings used throughout the evening.

  • Home Brew & Cakes: A Lychee Cider was brewed specifically for this event. It was used by two dancers as Fire Offerings while the remainder of the cornelius keg was shared with the community as refreshment. We baked several Chocolate Chipotle cakes, some of which (I hope) were offered to the fire, most of which fueled the revelry & fed hungry dancers. In bear country, we must be sensible -- offerings made on the ground must be limited to things which will not serve as an attractant to our Ursidae neighbors. Thusly, the food in this ceremony was restricted to the fire & our bellies. Food & drink, are of course, traditional/old school offerings which please the spirits, our senses & satisfy the human body in numerous ways.

  • Music & Dance: The music, which was carefully collected & arranged by our DJ Magus, has already been discussed in detail in Trust Your People: The Magus (DJ, that is). The dance, thoughtfully choreographed by our teacher & the troupe has also already been discussed in Trust Your People: The Choreographer. My point in mentioning them here is to stress the point that these too were offerings, the dance being perhaps the central or key offering for the entire ceremony. Both served to please the spirits, create atmosphere, facilitate a sensory shift & allow for self-expression, among other things.
Resh K'eljesh Dance Offering for  Animas Ceremony: An Invitation to Passion.
Resh K'eljesh making a Dance Offering during
Animas Ceremony: An Invitation to Passion.
Photo credit PCC AK Facebook Page.

  • Poetry: Poetry was recited by the Officiants during the ceremonial Invoc/Evoc/Invit-ation. Each Officiant carefully selected their personal Offering-of-Words. In my opinion, this was very likely the most potent & moving portion of the ceremony (although I am sure some may argue that the dance was a fair contender). The poems spoke volumes about each individual & their relationship to Passion. In this way, they were presenting themselves very personally & with vulnerability, before the spirits & our people. Obviously, like the music & dance, the poetry was presented to please the spirits & allow for self-expression, as well as reinforce the symbolism, primary themes & intent of the ceremony. At the risk of receiving further messages to the complaints department, I will present the sacred poetry in a separate post as an appendix to this Offerings post.

  • Incense: Finally, let us not forget the primal olfactory. Among the most ancient & widespread of offerings, incense is a mainstay. Copious copal pleases, transports & transforms. Enough said. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another Year, Another Mushroom Moon Shrine. (As all beneath the Moon decays...)

Mushroom Moon Shrine, 2014. This year's in miniature.
Mushroom Moon Shrine, 2014. This year's was in miniature.

A whirlwind of days have passed. Birthdays, guests, gatherings, travels & fungi, of course. But the Decay Moon's happenings shall not be left unmentioned:

We began our procession around the lakeside trail, baskets in hand as usual, not knowing how this project will manifest (also, as usual). Ours is an improvisational process driven by cues fed to us -- in the moment -- by the forest floor.

This is our tradition.

Miniature, in vivid colour was the theme we were assigned. 

A bijou ornament collected for the shrine.
A vibrant, bijou ornament collected for the shrine.

And we processed -- unfortunately with some sadness & disruption due to the loss of a familiar feathered face on this tour -- in time, completing our collections & arriving at our traditional site with baskets ready to begin arranging the assemblage. 

Baskets readied for the Mushroom Moon Shrine composition.
Baskets readied for the Mushroom Moon Shrine composition.

The boys worked together steadily & carefully -- a remarkable thing given their knack for disagreement -- as I wrote the words of this day on a piece of birch bark. 

"I know that all beneath the Moon decays..."
"I know that all beneath the Moon decays..."

And when it was complete, we had three layers of teeny micro landscapes. An almost unremarkable view from afar,

But increasing nearness & changing angles,

Allowed for a peek into a variety of small, fanciful, fungal worlds...

And as I looked upon another year's shrine, I reflected on the variations from year to year; the changing availability of various fungi, the tasks & roles assumed by various family members, the different outcomes... I also wondered how we will adapt when the time comes to find a new location for this shrine. It will not last forever. Like everything else under the Moon, it too shall decay.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What He Said. (About life choices.)

"Life is an aesthetic practice rather than a material or moralistic one.   You are a work of art in sidewalk chalk that will be destroyed by the next rain, a piece of graffiti soon to be white-washed, a comedy improv skit nobody will remember next week.  While you last, be the most beautiful piece of art you can be." 
-- Robert Mitchell Jr., from Pointlessness and the Purple Pill

And pass the purple pills please.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

(Belated) Poetry for the Esbat: Decay Moon or My-Heart-Hurts Moon, 2014

The decaying one-half of One. A sympathetic wanderer on the same trail who also lamented the loss  of these familiar denizens indicated that they are Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus).
The decaying one-half of One.
A sympathetic wanderer on the same trail who also lamented the loss
of these familiar denizens indicated that they are Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus).

"I know that all beneath the Moon decays..."

A belated "Poetry for the Esbat," because we were busy constructing Mushroom Shrines & preparing for the arrival of a special guest & of course, we were foraging...

If you step into the forest now, you can smell the highbush cranberries (Viburnum edule). They are rotting. 

This is a sure sign that the foraging season is screeching to a close & yet I love that familiar, dank, heady odour. 

I had chosen the poem below for that reason -- the decay, the inevitability of endings, the reliability of impermanence.

What I did not anticipate was that this poem, chosen for the Esbat, when the Moon is at Her fullest, was that it would take on an even more poignant & relevant meaning to us.


We began our Mushroom Moon Shrine assemblage as usual, by collecting a wide variety of beautiful fungi from the trees & forest floor. Cheerful & diminutive seemed to be the theme of the day.

But as we passed thru the territory of the mating pair of raptors, (ironically?) discussed in the previous post's comments, I noted that they were peculiarly quiet, or absent...

And my husband, my mate, was suddenly drawn to a Devil's Club (Oplopanax horridus) leaf he mistook for a mushroom. I cannot recall what he said, or if he gasped, or groaned, but there, beneath the leaves of the Devil's Clubs & ferns was the decaying body of one of our beautiful, avian forest neighbors.

The bird appears to have been shot for sport & left to rot under the still, watchful gaze of our Moon. 

Of it's mate, there was no sign. 

But how can you blame the creature? If I witnessed the loud & violent death of my beloved, I would never return to that haunted place either.

And so, this is the way of things. There is no real sense to it. However, there is an Order.

But my heart still hurts.

And I am reminded & know that all beneath the Moon decays...

"I know that all beneath the moon decays"
by William Drummond of Hawthornden

I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is brought,
In Time’s great periods shall return to nought;
That fairest states have fatal nights and days;
I know how all the Muse’s heavenly lays,
With toil of spright which are so dearly bought,
As idle sounds of few or none are sought,
And that nought lighter is than airy praise.
I know frail beauty like the purple flower,
To which one morn oft birth and death affords;
That love a jarring is of minds’ accords,
Where sense and will invassal reason’s power:
Know what I list, this all can not me move,
But that, O me! I both must write and love.

I hope your Esbat was indeed blessed, my friends.

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