Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Autumn and the Goddess

The weather here in South Australia is really doing its own thing.  February is usually our hottest month of the year, heralding in temperatures in the high 30Cs and even 40Cs (that is around 100F for those more familiar with the fahrenheit temperatures), yet so far this month, the average temperature being only in the low to mid 20Cs.  Whilst I am not one who enjoys the heat, I cannot help to be somewhat suspicious as to whether our hot weather is not in fact "lurking" somewhere, ready to appear when we least expect it.

The harvest festival of Lughnasadh (which occurs around 1 February in the Souther Hemisphere) is usually the time when whatever has not already been gathered, is basically annihilated by the hot weather, often leaving little if anything in the garden to offer up as a libation unless it is bought.  This year, with only a handful of extremely hot days, the libation altar was overflowing with various offerings including corn cobs from my own garden.

With Lughnasadh now having passed, and with the cooler than normal weather, it is rather evident that Autumn is on its way.  Whilst traditionally a time more associated with the harvest of the fruit (as opposed to grain) and here in South Australia, the time of the grape harvest, it is the ancient Eleusinian Mystery rites that centre around the adbuction of Kore (Persephone) and the mourning of Demeter (her mother).

When Hades (the Lord of the Underworld) abducted Persephone, it set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to the Earth falling into darkness each Winter as this was the time that Demeter wandered the Earth mourning at the loss of her daughter.  Within subsequent Goddess traditions, this time of the year is associated with that of the Dark Mother, the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess.  The Goddess appears not carrying a basket of flowers, or indicating her bountiful and abundance nature, but a sickle and scythe. She has now arrive to reap what has been sown, to reclaim what is hers ... and there is nothing that we can do to stop her.

Autumn marks the time for the inward journey to commence.  It is also the time when the hours of darkness and the hours of light are equal, the time of perfect balance. 

Two candles should be lit at this time of duality - one in harvest colours for Demeter, the other in either deep purple or black for Persephone.  A perfect libation drink is that of pomegranate juice.  You may wish to meditate on the darker aspects of your own soul and ask yourself the following:

Is there a pain you've been longing to get rid of?
Is there anger and frustration that you've been unable to move past?
Is there someone who has hurt you, but you have not told them how you feel?

Now is the time to take this energy and turn it to your own purposes. Take any pain inside you, and reverse it so that it becomes a positive experience.  If you are not suffering from anything hurtful, count your blessings, and reflect on a time in your life when you were not so fortunate.

To Demeter Eleusinia. O universal mother,
Deo famed, august, the source of wealth, and various named:
great nurse, all-bounteous, blessed and divine, who joyest in peace; to nourish corn is thine.
Goddess of seed, of fruits abundant, fair, harvest and threshing are thy constant care.
Lovely delightful queen, by all desired, who dwellest in Eleusis' holy vales retired.
Nurse of all mortals, who benignant mind first ploughing oxen to the yoke confined; and gave to men what nature's wants require, with plenteous means of bliss, which all desire.
In verdure flourishing, in glory bright, assessor of great Bromios [Dionysos] bearing light: rejoicing in the reapers' sickles, kind, whose nature lucid, earthly, pure, we find.
Prolific, venerable, nurse divine, thy daughter loving, holy Koure [Persephone].
A car with Drakones (Dragon-Serpents) yoked 'tis thine to guide, and, orgies singing, round thy throne to ride.
Only-begotten, much-producing queen, all flowers are thine, and fruits of lovely green.
Bright Goddess, come, with summer's rich increase swelling and pregnant, leading smiling peace; come with fair concord and imperial health, and join with these a needful store of wealth.

Orphic Hymn 40 to Demeter (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns c3rd BC to 2nd AD)

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"Dancing the Sacred Wheel" now available again

"Dancing the Sacred Wheel" now available again
The second edition of "Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats" is now available through or direct from the author (Australian customers only) for an autographed copy.

Great Goddess Isis

Great Goddess Isis

Exhortation of Isis

You are She in the dust of whose feet is the hosts of Heaven,
Whose body encircles the Universe,
Who turns the Earth in its orb,
Who gives light to the Sun,
Who rules the World.

You tread death underfoot.
To Thee, the stars are responsive,
To Thee the seasons turn and the Gods rejoice
And the elements are in subjugation.

You are She that is the natural Mother of all things,
Mistress and governor of all elements,
The initial progeny of worlds,
Chief of Divine powers,
Queen of Heaven,
Principle of all the Gods celestial and the light of Goddesses.

At Your will are disposed the planets of the air,
The wholesome winds of the seas
And the silences of the unseen world.