The Autumnal Equinox

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The first of the winter storms

The Autumnal equinox is just around the corner  for us in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is the mid harvest festival on the Pagan seasonal wheel and this year for me, it is about Foundations. For I am starting a new business, one that I hope will grow into a strong creative path and living, but for that to happen I need to create strong foundations, both magically and physically and find the balanced between both.

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The Equinoxes are about Balance, but as I have learnt, it is not so much a static balance but more like fluidity of finding your balance.  Like the tilting and balancing of a tightrope walker when they cross from one side to the other. Summer here in the southern hemisphere is well over and we are now heading into the cold dark winter.  But before that can happen we must make preparations to store the things we have begun to harvest, if you will, so that we will survive the long winter.

For me the busy equinox energy as brought with it influx of creativity, that has been difficult to keep up with.  At first I wondered if it was spring fever, given that the energy was very busy and chaotic like.  And I have had two Lughnasadh’s in the last year, one in Canada at Kaleidoscope Gathering, and then one in New Zealand this past February. But as I began to create my new business, I realised that this was more of a foundational building energy rather than rising sap energy.  I have been designing and making fabric wall hangings, tapestries and banners for several years now and I have made a little bit of name for myself, but it was disjointed, and spread across several different social media sites under several different names.  So I have made plans to consolidate the various web sites and social media sites, which I have, to create a unified front, under one name.

Polly Lind artist and witch no boarder

This is a time of high energy which is similar to that of the spring, except the spring symbolism is about planting seeds, whereas the autumn symbolism is about gathering up the new seeds and storing them for the winter.  In modern terms this is a time when we find ourselves very busy laying the groundwork for the coming winter and winter projects. Sales are about and food is brought, and plans made for those long winter nights.

Here in New Zealand it is tax season, which can add whole new dimension to the energy of the season, a bit of chaos and a bit of stress, as businesses take stock of their financial year and plan for the next.  This can be a good thing if you are stocking up as many businesses will be having stock taking sales.  However if we are not careful at this time of year, the busy chaotic energy can be quite overwhelming, and more so if you are setting up a new business.  So I am being careful not to get carried away on the chaotic energy.    Instead I have a plan in place to launch everything in July with an exhibition opening which will coincide with the coming of spring.

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Soon I will be welcoming back the Cailleach, she who brings the winter, and all of that busy chaotic energy will die away, as the season turns from harvest to death.  And hopefully I have built strong enough foundations and laid away enough for the coming winter.

This post was cross posed to Pagansquare hooray

Beyond the Seasons

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Seasonal celebration themes are such a strong focus within the magical and pagans worldview that it can be difficult to see beyond them. I don’t mean to ignore the seasons instead what I am asking is, what is beyond the celebration seasonal cycle?  The Seasons are an excellent place to start when you first begin your magical study but having started there it is important to remember that they are not the bee all and end of magical practice.

This year I have found it very odd that it is currently spring here in New Zealand, I am in a bit of a confused state.  This I believe, is because I spend a month in Canada at the end of July and beginning of August.  While I was in Canada I felt that moment when the season turned from summer to autumn and so I have been a bit discombobulated so to speak. This in turn has caused me to wonder when it comes to magic and magical work, what is beyond the seasons? How do we deepen out understanding of this magic that we work with?   I don’t believe that it is possible to work without the seasons because we do live in this world, in this place. But what is beyond the general understanding of the seasons

Having live my life in New Zealand and the last 15 years in Wellington I believe I understand quite deeply how the seasons interact and move with this landscape that l live in.  I have also explored and understood the societal seasons, which are similar but also not the same.  For example tax year ending and starting, the election cycle, and various other stimuli that will affect the spirit of a city such as Wellington.  There is also the obvious combinations such as the build-up to Christmas, which is for us,  during the summer, followed by easter which is during our autumn.  And our winter which I have taken to calling the long dark, not so much because there is less daylight but more so because during the hard winter months there is no public holidays to look forward to. From the beginning of June until the end of October there are no public holidays.. Near enough to 5 months of the winter season, our coldest darkest time, with nothing in the way of public holidays or celebrations to look forward to.

And I have spend much time playing with and in a sense coming to peace with the northern hemisphere seasonal holidays that have been imported wholesale to New Zealand without seasonal considerations. Oddly enough, they work or can work for the plucky observant witch or magical worker.  For instance,  it is Beltane here in New Zealand, that time between spring and summer.  And over the years Halloween has been introduced from North American along with a fair amount of expat Americans and Canadians, who like to celebrate that touch of home.  Halloween as I have learnt is the beginning of what is called in Northern America the holiday season.  Samhain and Beltane are at both ends of the spectrum of life for me, and I have found that the veil that everyone talks about, is thin during both seasons.  But for Beltane it is about bringing things forward, or birthing from the spirit world, where as Samhain is about Ancestors who essentially inhabit the spirit world. or that is how I have felt and worked with it without going into more explanation because really it is difficult to explain. And Halloween, that is about dressing up in costumes, having fun and learning to face that which scares you.

Beyond the seasonal correspondences, themes and thoughts is a tide of magical underpinning that can be very subtle, and very difficult to put into words.  But for me it is about movement, and moving, the ebb and flow, or if you like growth and deepening of your understanding and connections with the world of spirit, and divine.  And the harder  it is, this understanding of the magical beyond the season, the harder can be to put into words, so instead I create art.

I create doorways in the forms of fabric wall hangings that depict magical things, such as Gods and Goddesses, from which you can invite that magical underpinning and magic through, which can then fit your own framework and understanding of how the magic works.

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It is said that if you open the doorway, the invited come through and if you don’t then the wall hangings will remain inert but also sacred art.  It makes sense that the ones who have gods and goddesses sewn into them will invite those gods and goddesses. I should not have to say be careful here right?

So how do you reach beyond the seasons and into the tides and magic in the spirit worlds?

FireDragons for Samhuinn

This year my Samhuinn celebration and ritual was an adventure held in Auckland, which is about an hour’s flight from Wellington.  about six weeks or so ago my Friend Nicola suggested that we take advantage of the cheap Air New Zealand flights and go to Auckland for the next Sabbat, which as you may of guessed was Samhuinn.  There were a couple of reasons for this: 1/ to see our Friend Nanny Ogg aka Caroline,  whom we love to pieces, and 2/ to experience how other groups around NZ actually do and participate in their own rituals, Namely Fire Dragon Grove.   Also ‘adventures’

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So we intrepid travelling druid and witch, got on a late but cheap flight to Auckland.  Nanny Ogg was there to meet us at the Airport and whisk us off to her house somewhere in the wilds of Auckland not far from Conwell Park, which I will one of these days visit proper.  Cornwell Park is a huge wonderful green area with sheep and cows, and trees and a hill called One Tree Hill. . . that no longer has a tree because it was cut down by the an activist, who was incidentally the same activist who had a go at turning the Americas Cup into the New Zealand Plate. .. .  But that my dears is a topic for a different blog.  *coughs*

Anyway Nicola and I were whisked away to a nice house near this park, where we stayed up until the wee hours catching up over cups of tea and tiny digestive biscuits.  On Saturday morning I woke early, cause I have a tendency to do that when I am travelling.   I made cup of tea and then wandered outside.  The birds sounds that morning were not familiar to me, in Auckland they have doves, and minor birds which we don’t have in Wellington.  What was missing was the frockling sounds of about 25 Kaka Parrots, the Twitterings of Fantails and the song of the Tui, but then in Wellington my house is about 10 minutes or so from our local wild life reserve.

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After waking Nanny Ogg with the making a second cup of tea or was it the third?, I might be a bit of a tea-soak first thing in the morning :))  anyhoo,  the rest of the morning was spent planning on what we would be doing for the afternoon.  One of the things I wanted to do was to go and visit Aucklands witches Shop Cauldron Craft http://www.cauldroncraft.co.nz/

Caludron Craft

which is found in Devonport.  Luckily they had a sale on. as the story is closing down in June 2013 *sad face* but given that I live in Wellington it is difficult to get up there and spend my money.  However I here that it is going to be an online store.. *rubs hands together*

Anyway the three of us went wild.. I purchased many herbs and resins, plus a obsidian plate? Made with local Obsidian whoot.. Samhuinn ritual, and Nicola found things made of crystal and metal, otherwise known as shiny, of course you should buy the shiny.

Nanny Ogg brought a box of locally made candles, and incense for the evenings ritual. Devonport is a bit of an artsy place so we stayed and had lunch, cause we were hungry witches and druids…

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Then it was home again to prepare for the evenings invasion of Druids, but given that Fire Dragon Grove is a Druid Grove it is not surprising that the Druids were invading.  *grins*

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And yes the ritual was different from that of the Summer Stars Grove, for one there were less and different people, and for two in a small intimate group it is way easier for the main rite to be a lot more intense and personal, which it was for this Samhuinn ritual.  the quarters were called, the peace sent, awens sung and ancestors invited, things that we had forgotten to organise were brought by the other grove members, starting with the crumble, then seawater from spirits bay, the place it is said where the spirit so the dead in New Zealand travel to get to the underworlds.. then the oak leaves arrived with the blacksmith.. who had the same ideas about what to do with them as we three had discussed at lunch, must be magic.   The group was very much like a well magical oiled machine, everyone had something to offer and everyone had something to do.  After the main rite of a meditation it was the turn of the Cailleach to arrive, as really, this is her season.  The oak leaves were burned with the intention of what the druids were taking with them.  Then the Cailleach mixed in some oil with ash from the fire, and each participant was anointed.  ‘What you carry with you will transform and strengthen you’ was whispered in each participant’s ear and sealed with a kiss

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After the circle was uncast, the feast and eisteddfod was had, eisteddfod is a time where grove members tell stories or recite poems, some related to the season and others not.  I believe that in England this is held during the ritual, but here in New Zealand we have  a tendency to combine it will the feasting, it just works better for us.

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There was also a supper place with a little bit of everything that was put out for the ancestors as a way of honouring them further.  Stories were told and great food eaten, and our night finished just nearing midnight the witching hour, with many hugs from new friends and magical people, for they were magical and the evening magic filled.  

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