Fire at Midnight – Samhain Love in the Time of Climate Change

dogwood-fire-at-midnightThe seasons, they are a-changin’, to paraphrase wildly. I don’t just mean from summer to fall, these several weeks back.  The weather worldwide is different and it is beginning to make me wonder how to plan the seasonal observances that keep me anchored to this world I love.  The other night, I went out late to walk in the brisk breeze that was stripping golden and rose leaves — that darkling photo  is the rose-gold of the dogwood tree, almost bare now.

Of old, back in the 1990’s , we used to celebrate Beltane when the apple tree blossomed; and cross-year Samhain when we harvested apples at the first full moon in Scorpio.  This year, that full moon is mid-November and the deer harvested the apples – golden ripe – in mid-September!  Even then, at times, we laid the fire for Samhain at the new moon in Scorpio – as we will do this year’s new black moon.

But we feel late, out of synch.  My holy days, as a humanist who finds whatever fleeting signs of divinity there are in nature, have ever been built around the freshening spring rains and the leaf patter on autumnal windows.  This year, it is all a-kilter and I have no fire-pit.  In my over crowded half acre — the best place for a struggling Sequoia sapling was in the deep hallowed hole of the family fire pit where sabbat fires had burned for over 20 years.  So a small metal ring in a circle of chairs must suffice?

I tell myself, that as fires grow more rare – as even June’s Summer Solstice has been too hot and dry for fires in recent years – that I can do with a smaller fire.  No flames leaping twenty feet into the air come rain or shine!  I remind myself that urban witches and pagans make do with small cauldrons or candles.  I ask myself, severely, if I am a “good” pagan if I cannot acknowledge the suffering nature I see around myself by contenting myself with less?

gingk0So, into the golden dark we go here, like the wind whipped leaves of the golden gingko bonsai that sits not far from my manmade fire ring.  I plan my ritual of ending my ritual year — what goes into my fire to say goodbye, what I let go and what I will hold fast.  A dream in the night saw me at a feast with the divinities my family once chose as those they would most like to see as real — and I lifted a piece of golden honeycomb to my lips and bit it, honey running down my chin in such tactile fashion that it woke me!  So honeycomb will be sought and incorporated.

We will stand with fire-lit faces and open ourselves to hear our world, the human world and the natural world where we have wrought our havoc.  We will inquire into the nature of reality and spirit and strive to hear an answer from the winds around us and inside our own busy skulls.  And on the dawn, Monday, we will step into the season I call the “Fallows” to work towards the calendar’s New Year in earnest humility and inner searching.  This year, that Fallows holds within it a Presidential election and the fate of our nation and world.  And yes, that old superstitious brain stem of mine so wishes for flames leaping 20 or 30 feet into the midnight sky!

May you find blessings for yourself and your world in your own way, if this sabbat is one of yours.  And Blessed Beltane to those of you in the Southern Hemisphere who celebrate.  If not?  Well, Happy Halloween — and may the dead that are and those to be?  Have mercy upon us all!

Poetry Month – Ten – Nature

beached blue

Long under Man’s bridle She danced like a filly,

Now She turns and rears like a Fury,

Her tread marked with blood and worry,

Ne’er “broken” with love, She breaks from love,

To be again Red – in tooth and claw ungloved!


And the prose –

I watch the beginnings of the devastation by weather – I can’t help but to make metaphors and personifications.  I know it is irrational, but it somehow firms the concept for me.

The last time we went to our favorite beaches on the Olympic coast, we found piles of dead seabirds.  And the tiny blue- violet “velella” were ashore in their dead thousands.  Even though this death-littered sand is a rather common event, it filled me with foreboding.

That same year, a huge flock of pine siskins migrated into my gardens, emptying a large seed feeder daily.  They were all bedraggled and thin, and some of them were dying.  Finding body after tiny bird body made me wonder what they had been through to reach the haven of my fir trees.  Their songs ignited every dawn and sang down the sun.  I’d never seen a flock of birds so battered and desperately in need of food and rest.

I watch the weather these days with a sense of dread once reserved for news coverage of the wars.  I hate to sound Biblical — but it does feel as if the time has come to reap what whirlwinds we have sown!  Not that I mean that in a literal Bible sense at all; but the turn of phrase is irresistible.

I watch my gardens fill with birds this spring and feel I am seeing the end of an era of calm, peace, and plenty.  I water flowers and tell myself to hold to grace under the pressures that must come.

Poetry Month – Nine

(Another haiku-free day)

We stand before the Fall,
Not of night, that blessing –
But the fall from Nature’s love,
When still a ray of morning light
Upon a tan leather chair is sweet,
Without portents of doom.

When new soft green needles
Are a-light but unburnt by heat,
When we can still eat almonds,
Though the price becomes dear,
When the sun was our lover,
And the earth danced in it’s light.

When the morning fogs spoke of water,
In whispers soft and white,
When the sunrise didn’t burn the eyes,
Before Nature spurned our touch,
And turned away like a runaway child,
Abused too long, disused too long,