One theme of autumn equinox brought to my attention by Gaarik Hamr, grove organizer of the nearby Spirit Valley Protogrove, was that of the return of herders to the village for winter. While lots of herders would have lived in the village and taken care of the animals close to home, others could and in some cases still do graze their animals in more remote places, and return only when the harsh winter weather makes staying out of town dangerous. This song focuses on that aspect of the life of those who have maintained the line of domestic animals for thousands of years.
For the rite of Lughnassadh, my grove celebrates this in the Irish cultural style, and a key aspect of the Irish celebration of Lughnassadh was a major festival gathering across all of Ireland. This festival involved, among other things, a truce among all the various warriors to replace their usual efforts to kill each other with efforts to impress each other, the nobility, and of course the audience. So while there are mentions of the mythology of the god Lugh in this song, the focus is much more on the human side of celebrating this season.
For the midsummer rite I'm going to be involved in leading later this weekend, our group will be honoring the Norse god Thor, particularly in his role as defender of the crops and common people. He would be a welcome presence right now, in a time with lots of enemies to keep at bay, and also in the middle of a local dry spell that has me concerned about water supplies for both humans and plants. Thor is the subject of many myths (which have nothing to do with Marvel, I might add), and a strikingly large percentage of them involve some complex adventure which ends with a WHOMP! from Mjollnir. This song thus highlights a few of those myths for your listening entertainment.
Imagine, or select from the news, some terrible crime that has occurred somewhere in the world. People may have been killed. Property has been damaged. What would be an appropriate response?
One meaning of the season of Beltaine not often understood by modern folks, who are used to food just kind of appearing at restaurants and groceries, is that historically by this time of year it was not uncommon for people to be running low on food or even be starving. In a well-managed home where nothing had gone wrong, there was food into the spring, but this was really the season where you found out whether last fall's harvest was going to be enough to keep you going. And to make matters worse, food preservation techniques weren't what they are now with refrigeration, so rot was a real problem. This all meant that around this time of year, an average person was eagerly awaiting fresh vegetables, and the Beltaine celebration is in part about seeing the signs of fertility and growth that tell us that we'll be able to eat fresh food and won't starve to death in the next few months.