The late fall season is upon us. The last bit of crops have been brought in, I've been busily winterizing my house in preparation for the deep cold of winter, and there is a sense of the world dying as it turns towards darkness. As is typical for modern pagan types, this leads to a focus in this season on our beloved dead and our ancient forebearers. This song started with a moment of insight about how, in the unfortunately many memorials I've attended, the living become stories of our friends, and those stories can gain mythic quality the further from directly being there they get. When you get to hero cults that were popular throughout much of the ancient pagan world, there's a decent chance there was an actual person at the start, and then the fish got bigger in each telling to the point where it was now some giant mythic thing.
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. 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. And this presents a whole complex of visions of our ancestors and friends dwelling in the lands beyond.
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. The origin of this gathering, according to at least some myths, was that Lugh, at the time king of Ireland, had called for annual warrior games in honor of the death of his foster mother Tailtiu after she gave her life preparing all the fields of Ireland to receive crops. Funerary games are a documented tradition in much of the ancient world (e.g. an entire chapter of the Iliad is devoted to one such round of games). This all inspired me to write a song which is aiming to be Lugh's voice honoring Tailtiu and her sacrifice for the good of her community and his realm.
The late spring and early summer this year has presented some rather odd weather patterns which unfortunately might be getting more common due to climate change. Locally, we had a period of 3 weeks with not a single drop of rain, and not that far away wildfires were raging. Air quality and smoke were a serious problem in a lot of places, and in the places that got the worst of it the sky turned a bright orange color (I wasn't personally witness to it this time, but I woke up one day under that kind of smoke about 20 years ago and it was freaky). In the nick of time, though, thunderstorms came through, refilling wells, watering plants that desperately needed it, and generally saving the land from utter disaster, and since I was already planning on attending a ritual in honor of Thor the direction my music should take seemed very clear.
It's time for another song! This one is focused on the Sidhe-folk, literally the people of the mounds. What they are is confusing at best to us humans, but they're a clearly important group of beings in Irish lore and thus worthy of honoring with song in this a season where they are traditionally given extra attention. With this, I also tried to capture the other-worldliness of the experience of trying to get into contact with them, as in most of my own experiences as well as the lore it feels like time out of time, with everything not quite as you expect.