Hail and welcome one and all!
May there be blessings of balance in your life this day and as we travel from Season to Season, through both Sacred Darkness and Blessed Light. Understand that our Druid family is connected on the silken web of life. Today, I want to cause a little vibration. I hope you feel the ripple.
In that first few months of my pagan pathway I used to collect things from the park floor, or from the public pathways through fields and woods. I never take anything from a tree itself I only ever gather what has been gifted. I find it almost intolerable to bear watching folks throw sticks up into the chestnut trees this time of year in South Park: it is just so irrational. A sign of humanity’s dislocation from nature. The horse chestnut wants to drop its horse chestnuts! It will drop every single one, and all its splendorous yellow leaves to boot!
Wait. Be patient. There is abundance in knowledge of botany! Let alone gravity! Show respect and honour: the rewards are immense. It is a simple spiritual principle.
I did not make an altar in those days. I put aside a little table top in my small apartment bedroom, deposited the leaves and stones and feathers I had been given as gifts (as I chose to interpret it then and still do) upon the top and simply meditated. Hence I called it my meditation table. Soon I found pictures, stones, and then mini statuettes for seasons and added them. I was living in the Cotswolds then. The beautiful stones, with that almost golden hue, would be turned over by the farmer ploughing in the straw stubble this time of year. Of no monetary value, yet priceless for my mediation and connection to that place. I saw one of those very Cotswold stones recently: now living with my beloved Jean in Qatar when I visit!
I am not sure exactly when this practice became, for this simple druid practitioner, a ritual in itself. I don’t think it was long. Maybe in that first year or so, it began to reflect the Wheel of the Year and the changing seasons. As I think would be unsurprising to the Druids of Mandua Briga.
That is not to say that Druids must do these things. We are free to live out our druidry according to our guiding lights. Some will. Some won’t. Some will use seasonal guides, some won’t. Druids are given freedom to follow their pathway as they see fit. Druidry is not a contiguous bar chart of commonalities and practices. It is more a scatter graph of opportunities it seems to me. That is why I love talking to you when I meet you! It is always fascinating!
Even on my journeys to seek that final hearth and home creating an altar is a practice that has continued no matter where in the UK I have lived. Also in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
This year of 2023 I have just made another for Autumn Equinox. This year I am reviving a practice from a few years back when I used to lay out my altar (as it has now become) with fresh fruit and vegetables!
It is a partly edible altar! The fruit I would normally consume in the course of a week or so; the vegetables will in a day or two days time, be turned in a risotto and roasted veg combo. Why do I do this?
The Equinox is the final harvest home. I am recognising the gifts of the Goddess. The work of my fellow beings in sharing this bounty. It is a time to appreciate how this spinning orb we call home exists in delicate co-relation with the sun and moon. Our actions should be in ‘balance’ with this harmony. Do I get the life I have been blessed with right? No. Yet I am focussed on being the best steward I can be. An altar is a handy resource and focus in my daily life to do so.
Today I am giving thanks and practising gratitude and humility as I recognise my dependency and interdependency with all beings who are here.
Blessings to you all!
The image shows this years Autumn Equinox table. Perhaps you would like to share your ideas and practices. Feel free to comment below.
Autumn Equinox 2023. Syre Byrd