Part i – Animation of Autumn & Spirit: sharing my excitement & musings on nature
Autumn is a time of reflection for me. I tend to draw back a little while everyone else makes their new acquaintances and enjoy the solitary walks under the changing canopies. I begin to light candles and break out the long-sleeves.
With New Year in January and winter’s closure in February many people [pagans are no exception] feel the urge to “spring clean”. That is to clear the cobwebs, donate old items, re-arrange furniture and re-assess their goals.
For me, however, September brings this urge out. It’s going to get dark, I’m starting a new academic year and I’m packing winter clothes into a suitcase. Stepping to my bookcase, I take another sip of chai tea; the flavour of warmth and rejuvenation coursing through my taste buds. I’m moving back out; moving back to a place where my spiritual and communal cravings are satisfied.
And it’s this renewal of the earth that brings out in me the urge to research pagan courses.
Formality: Ritual & Training
As true to my usual routine, I’ve been looking over the curricula for the OBOD and AODA formal training.
I’ve so much I could say; about the elements of nwyfre, gwyar, and calas and what I find myself doodling in my spare time; speaking of the druidic pull I feel and then that distance over such book-driven courses. But I’ll leave it for another post.
I feel new to the craft with others, but I’ve experienced a wide-range of rites. I’ve been attending open Wiccan rituals; a Pagan moot and a Druid Grove. My first Beltain at University comprised of three rituals – one solitary, one druid and another Alexandrian Wiccan. I co-led a small “duet” esbat with a friend, played a male as ten of us danced the maypole and blessed a group circle with incense. The Druid Alban Hefin [Litha] Sabbat involved 120 of us in a circle while I took part with just three others to celebrate the Wiccan Modron.
This is my time of reflection and thus, for me, of renewal.
I’ve put out searches for local pagan groups and I’ve a new list of books on matters from eco-living to Taoist creation stories. I review my daily practise; something that tends to temper out come spring. I’m just so much more in tune with my experience of the Gods when it’s dark outside and I’m huddled up in a cosy fleece.
Perhaps it’s the candles.
November & Fear of the Dark
This autumn, this year in general, I’m focused on community. And just by synchronicity of that focus, my Irish friend is visiting me in November.
I’ve given my word that we can perform a rite together, which is both terrifying and exciting to me.
Despite being a solitary practitioner for over six years, I’ve only ever co-led one rite with another person present. It helped that he’d never done a ritual with another person, either – relieving pressure of expectations. And it was a wonderful experience. We admitted our fear of the dark [while in Stanmer Woods, alone] and had some interesting experiences – the presence of a tawny owl and possible fae abound.
My friend Ciaran is bringing his covener, Maera with him. We’ve spoken online and get on well. They already work together as members of the same coven, so I’m intrigued and excited by how they perform rites. However, as a less experienced Pagan; especially one whose rituals usually consist of meditation and writing in a circle; I feel a little out of my depth.
With the move back to Brighton and the shift in season, I feel that scholarly drive to expand my horizons and welcome autumn with my daily rites once more.
Slipping quietly down the stairs, I switch on the kettle and open the window to let in the cool morning air. This is how days should start.
And this is how I thank the Gods for the blessing of another day; tuning in to the world around me and that which lies within.