Fall equinox is upon us, and this enters my favorite season of the year. It's not too hot, it's not too cold, it's just right for humans to live. And unlike spring, which certainly has its charms, there's newly harvested crop coming right from my garden so I can feast on fresh veggies. This year, as in many years' past, I'll be celebrating the season by focusing on Persephone and her journey to take up her throne in the Underworld at this time of the year, with some inspiration from the Eleusinian Mysteries of the past. But also quite notably, the theme of equinoxes is a point of balance, where you're not definitively on one side or the other.
As Lughnassadh arrives, it just so happens that the Summer Olympic Games conveniently coincide with the traditional time for sports in Ireland dating back to before written records. This inspired me, for better or worse, to start with a concept of some sort of grand march to honor the tradition of athletic competition in the style of modern opening ceremonies, albeit with a bit less pizazz due to the simple fact that I can't conjure up a full orchestra.
Midsummer is upon us, and that means that the crops are planted and growing, the sun is high, and I will be heading to my grove to celebrate in a Norse-focused ritual. As in years past, this ritual, and thus the accompanying song, will be focused on golden-haired Sif and her mighty husband and protector Thor. In our group's understanding, Sif is associated with agriculture and grain in particular, as her golden-hair references the fronds of the wheat plant, and Thor's role is to make sure that those trying to destroy said crops cannot succeed, even if it feels like the real reason has more to do with weeding and fencing.
It's time for another song, this one focused fairly simply on the natural world in this time of the year, although with hints of more spiritual matters behind them. This matches nicely with the land I walk on most frequently, which in this time of year has dandelion, violet, clover, and apple blossoms shining forth hoping for bees to come by or a lucky breeze to work its magic.
Our group is back to doing Greek-focused rites for spring equinox, which is great fun, because it means I get to honor Dionysos, the happy god of wine, fertility, and general frivolity. And while yes, that's because he loves us and wants us to be happy, I've always thought there was more to it than just joy: when you're embracing the chaos both in your mind and in the world, you learn and discover that which cannot be learned from the more staid academic sorts of learning.