Here in the foothills of the Catskill mountains, there is a coolness in the air today despite the sun, and the wind is blowing newly fallen leaves around the forest land surrounding our home. Flowers are in final, vibrant bloom, before, along with the herbs and grasses, they begin to turn brown and fall. They are letting us know that the season of harvest is quicky coming in. Mabon approaches, the Autumnal Equinox, also called the Witch’s Thanksgiving will arrive on September 22.
This has been a year like no other for most Americans. Whether we have lost loved ones to COVID19, had the illness ourselves, or lost a job or a home due to the resultant economic distress, many are suffering. Racial unrest and conflict are at the highest they have been since the 1960’s. Many suffer from depression, addiction, trauma, sadness, disconnection, and discontent. These are realities that no amount of love, light, positive thinking, or negative denials can erase or discount.
As Pagans and Nature People however, one way we gather strength and achieve balance and equilibrium is to maintain our calendar of practice. Nature herself is still carrying on her seasons. Holding to nature’s rhythms helps us to stay grounded and disconnect from the chaos and hopelessness that are easy to be despondent over. Many of us are empathic and through over saturation we can be blown about by the winds of the daily news drama, or the latest disaster. Detaching from television, Facebook and negative media that seeks high ratings for bad news instead of sharing facts or any positive news in the world, is a form of self-care and preservation that is essential now. It does not mean we do not care about the suffering or do not have a desire to support social justice and environmental causes, and of course if we ourselves are in a crisis mode this would not be advised. However, if we are able detach to reconnect with Nature it allows us to regenerate. With our hands in the soil, our faces in the sunlight and our feet planted firmly on the grass, taking time to spend in nature and with our animal friends, we get quiet enough to hear the voices of our spirit guides, deities and Higher Self. Even if we are experiencing trauma and crisis, we can get outside to breath deeply, put our feet on the earth, and inhale strength and calm. Doing this, we recharge our spiritual battery and when we do so we get the strength to move forward with our activism or our work and can be present for our loved ones and our communities in a healthier way.
Today, I picked and hung up to dry the remaining herbs and flowers that we grew this year. We had an abundance of rosemary, mints, thyme, lavender, and flowers such as marigold, coneflower, sunflower and nasturtium. Later I will bottle some of these, and use some for tinctures, spiritual baths and to create healing salves. I reflected on how much love, water, sunshine, and weeding went into this harvest over this past season, how my life has changed dramatically from the start of this year. I began it, the beginning of our second year here at our land in Ulster, working at what I consider a dream job at the Omega Institute, planting the flower beds and sowing seeds of hope and birth. Adjusting to having my adult children no longer in the nest, we started our Soul Blossom Wicca circle late last year and my personal spiritual counseling practice. We had plans to attend a few Pagan gatherings and events with people and organizations that nourish and support us. All seemed steady and certain. Fast forward six months, and despite having to cancel all those events, and being furloughed indefinitely from that dream job due to an extended COVID shutdown, we persevered, and our first Wicca Circle will complete next weekend. I am grateful for new clients I am of service to as a spiritual counselor and I have enrolled in graduate school for a Master of Clinical Counseling degree. We will begin a new Circle this October with already a larger cohort, and our two graduates will now be members of our Outer Grove. The community and Spiritual Center I have dreamt about forming since I graduated Seminary in 2014 is really happening. My children are both healthy and well and enjoying their life and college studies of their own. I have married my love and partner, Chris, the service performed by Rev. Sarah Bowen our fellow circle mate. Today, in addition to having the time to focus on my graduate studies, I have the time to write and work on developing our Center and practice. I have even finally started to sew the strip quilt together that has been sitting in strips in a bag in my closet since last winter. When I think on all of these changes that I had not foreseen or planned, I am left with nothing but gratitude for the way the Lord and Lady are helping to shape my life. It really has strengthened my faith and trust that life is blessed and guided even through these difficult times.
I share this personal reflection with you as encouragement. If you haven’t already, if you are feeling disconnected please return to the rhythms of nature. Honor the moon cycles, the Sabbat holidays, and let the natural rhythms of Mother Earth guide your soul to peace, even through the pandemic. Find support where necessary. Here at Soul Blossom Center our new circle will take shape starting October 3rd on Zoom. For more information, please email me at: email@example.com.