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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Poetry for the Esbat: Harvest Moon 2011

This month we celebrate the Harvest Moon. Many Pagans celebrate a series of three harvest festivals beginning with Lughnassadh/ Lammas, which honors the grain harvest, followed by the Autumnal Equinox, the seasonal tipping point after which commence ever darkening days and finally Samhain, a festival of the dead & the time where traditionally the herds would be culled for winter. Here in Alaska, the second harvest really more closely marks the ending of the autumnal season. The scales tip quickly up here -- by Samhain, our breath will be frosty & the Earth will be blanketed in snow. We still have a few short weeks to go, but the signs of winter's approach can be detected in the air, the angle of the sunlight & littering the forest floor.

This Esbat I am meditating on a card from my very first Tarot deck. The deck was a gift to me when I was sixteen & it still has a special purpose in my life, even if it does not get a great deal of reading anymore. I have been thinking a great deal about this card, what represents to us in this modern life; thinking in particular, about the things people here in Anchorage do in preparation for winter. What happens when the harvest is over?

The city is in transition. Strands of smoke from leaf litter fires are beginning to appear over the housetops. The birch trees wearing their bright, autumnal colors foreshadow a firey end. The folks in the building next door are making the most of their fire pit while my neighbors scramble to plan an end of the season barbecue. Unconsciously, we seek the cleansing nature of fire to aide us in our transition & to help us mark it -- burning away the leftovers, cleansing our spaces, saluting the end of our uniquely Alaskan summertime fervor. I selected this Esbat's poem with these fires in mind.

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
    And up on the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
    See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
    And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
    The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
    Something bright in all!
Flowers int he summer,
    Fires in the fall!
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

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