I often start the autumn decorating in August, with the first harvest. Then add and subtract all the way through Thanksgiving. This year though it’s taken me until now to start thinking about Halloween decorating. It’s the neighbors that got me started. All those walks around the block are becoming inspirational.
I was surprised at how few actual Halloween decorations I could find. I suspect several of the things I know I’ve got somewhere are too practical to be tucked away. I know I have a few serving platters and baskets. The gourds and corn may have all been tossed. Over the years they can get a little nasty in the damp basement.
What I did find was my Brujeria. I picked her up in Mazatlan when I was there with Orion for his High School graduation trip. She’s too delicate to ship well. (I’ve been glueing bits back on ever since.) But I loved her attitude. Halloween, Samhein, Dios de los Muertos all come together for me in this little witch.
I’ve always enjoyed the fall. The cooler weather appeals to me. In Minnesota fall is much more dependable a season than spring. Denial of winter is easy as long as the snow doesn’t get too thick on the ground. I’ve trick-or-treated in snow pants and boots, but most of the time those early snows don’t linger.
On the other side of the year it doesn’t seem like spring until something green is poking out from the ground. That doesn’t often happen when there’s still melting snow. In Minnesota spring can last a day or a week, but fall can go on for months September-October-November. Sometimes it feels like fall in August, but it’s still summer at least until Labor Day, regardless of the weather.
It’s a good time of the year for fires in the fireplace, or even a bonfire outdoors. It’s all about being dressed in layers. Sweaters, woolens, deep pockets and hats but mostly sweaters. It’s not unusual to see a sweater with shorts, or a wool coat and shoes – no socks. There are plenty of people here who will hang on to wearing sandals until the snow really flies.
At this time of year it’s easy to be aware of the presence of our ancestors. I think about the fishing and hunting this time of year as a way to gather enough to make it through the winter. I think about my own ancestors wishing for a little more warm to get in the crops and a little more cold to make refrigeration possible. When I pick up sticks in the yard I’m planning kindling for when the woodpile is buried under the snow.
The Brujeria thinks like this at all times, in all seasons. She lives in harmony with the world around her, even when she is at odds with the culture. She gathers her ingredients when the time is right and uses them at her own discretion as the need arises. She feels the changing of the seasons in her bones and readies herself and her clients for whatever she foresees.
This year I’m hoping she’ll help me with that!
I don’t know why, but it seems October always sneaks up on me. Maybe it’s that “start-up” thing I get going in September. I never feel quite in the groove before October rolls around. Maybe it’s that Orion’s birthday is in October (the second) so it’s not just the beginning the month, but an event that catches me unprepared.
This week, besides Orion’s birthday, I’m on Blog Talk Radio – The Priestess Show, talking about Ancestors. (The first Friday of the month ALREADY?) The universe is being particularly helpful to me on this one. I was invited by a friend to attend the opening performance of the Black Storytellers Alliance festival. This year’s theme “Leaning on the Ancestors.”
It was truly a privilege to participate in this event, and the audience does participate! These were master storytellers. Their stories come out of their experiences and their history, but they embrace and welcome the whole of the human experience. The storytellers came from all across the country, and even (although he currently lives in Maine) from Brazil.
The event began with drumming, the drummers mostly children from the community. They did impressive work, shared the spotlight and encouraged the audience to clap along with the beats. Then libations were poured out to honor the Divine that has gifted us with our lives, our ancestors and our descendants. This piece was beautifully done. I’ve seen many versions of this and both my friend and I were impressed with the grace and eloquence of this little ritual. But then, these are storytellers aren’t they.
There were family stories and old fables with new twists. There were stories of imitation and of recognizing our own worth. Every performance acknowledged the ancestors as a source of power and wisdom. These are the shoulders upon which we stand.
Orion and I also attended a community equinox ritual. This too acknowledged our history and our futures. We made wishes for ourselves and our community. We cast our coins into the wishing well, but then were taught that we are the well, the water the change makers. We are the one’s with the power to make our wishes manifest.
Because making wishes has consequences we were also given charge of someone else’s wishes. We each got an old roman coin (about 2000 years old). So now I carry, not only my wishes, but the wishes of those who used this old coin to achieve their own desires. Ancestors and Descendants. I am blessed.