Approaching the World and Seasons Henotheistically

As I sit here, smelling the tobacco burn… I think. I probably… Think too much.

It was far too hot to forge today, and it’s only going to get hotter. Joy. I grunted in frustration because that ‘itch‘ to work the metal hasn’t faded. Not by a long shot. I am one of many fire-workers, and I’m sure we all have our own taboos, and observances towards the divine fire. I’d love to talk to one sometime, to share a magically delicious beverage. But I digress…

So I look around where I sit – I hear the wild horses rage in the thunder, the corn spirit cackle in the corn field across the dirt road from me, after I fed my hearth spirits, my two arevoette… With morsels of food from our dinners, and a constant maintenance.

I do not live on an agricultural cycle, nor a pastoral one. My autumn feast is not a ‘Thanksgiving,’ as some would like to just assume it is in it’s farming or pastoral sense; and as aggravated as it makes me when people do assume it is – it is a gathering and celebration of the past summer bounty and of family. Sure, you could interject the whole farming notion – but at it’s core.. It just isn’t a feast from any farm or ranch. Collecting wild fruits, growing some on a small scale for one’s family – it’s the ‘option C‘ in the list of options I suppose.

When you celebrate your autumn celebrations bound around grain and farm, I am sharpening my arrows and preparing my gear for the hunting season, which depending on the prey begins at various times. It isn’t a harvest that fits into many Pagan molds, it’s a feast to be happy for the gifts of summer (we do give gifts at the summer solstice, but not as extravagant as at the winter solstice), and a pause before we move on for the call of the hunting horn only hunters can hear within them in their stirring at 6am during these cold months.

I am not a farmer, nor rancher. I am a smithy/metalworker, leather-worker, hunter, fisher, brewer, and I’m delving into my own family herbalism. My calendar is not dominated by the ‘culling of the herds of cattle,’ nor with the ‘cutting of the last sheaf,’ as many do as the seasons turn. No, I don’t think this is bad, horrible, or nonsense. At this time of year I give my own offerings to the Ones of Vegetation , of every leaf, branch, and root myself – but no grain dolly is made, no farming tone is there. There is more to Pagan seasonal understanding than two boxes of pastoral or agricultural.

I know, it’s hard to see. It’s so ingrained into damned near every Pagan tradition I’ve come across that it’s like seeing faces in the clouds – you just assume and see in your own eyes that all traditions work that way. I did it too. Mine own calendar however, doesn’t work that way.

Even the farms and ranches are bound as I am to the greater weather, the climate, the spirits and local Gods. To a farmer (I’ve met quite a few) their farm is their world. To a rancher, it’s the same. So what about those of us who don’t ranch, or farm? Those who the farmers call to hunt the deer eating their feed? To those who fish and hunt during the summer rather than work a tractor?

Come out to the barely seen trail – we can share a cup of coffee as dawn breaks, and talk as we skin and prepare our meat. Let us share a cup with the many Gods, of whom we may never know all Their names – raise a cup of whiskey to the thunder, to the winds, the rivers, the land itself. I may worship only one, but there are many in this world of ours – why not celebrate rather than argue semantics?

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7 thoughts on “Approaching the World and Seasons Henotheistically

  1. Pingback: The return of Miscellanea! « The House of Vines

  2. I think you’re right that an agricultural basis is a sort of a given in most pagan circles – even though, ironically, most of them would have no idea how to even grow a tomato, much less harvest grain! I think it’s wise of you to base your own cycles on what actually matters to you and impacts your life and livelihood. While I *am* actively tied to local agriculture, and honor it, I do want to spend more time examining pastoral and hunting seasonal cycles.

  3. Pingback: Bears and knives and things « A Forest Door

  4. I think that’s awesome that you are tied into the fields and orchards, and I agree – I have had many look in wonder at my tomatoes growing, and it boggles my mind. I grow my own food here for my household, but.. I ain’t a farmer, and, I understand that. As cool as it looks in old woodcuts and sounds awesome in Pagan books – I’m just not one of them.

    It took a lot of exploration outside of the books and opinions for me to really learn about things – and it did entail me freezing my ass off, dreary mornings, many hunts with nothing to show for it save for frozen fingers, etc… But it has really taught me to rely on Arta and the land spirits – not the grocery store if I can help it. I’m not fully independent yet – but.. I will keep giving my damnedest until I am!

  5. I’m happy to have run across your blog, I’m a pagan of many years, and have celebrated the agricultural seasons many times. I do, in fact, have a garden, but it is simply not the same as having fields of grain to bring in and process. However, in the last couple of years I’ve begun to work with a bear spirit intensely and interestingly my own diet has been changing, becoming more meat focused, and my household has become more paleo in our eating style. I am attempting to learn how to fish this summer, and I hope to learn to hunt next year. I do think that working with a bear spirit so closely has drawn me more toward that kind of lifestyle.

    I will have to wait until I know more about hunting and fishing before I could begin to adapt the wheel of the year to a hunter/gatherer lifestyle, but it is one of my long term goals.

    I feel like slowly I have been reaching back in my lifestyle. Years ago I was a vegetarian and I ate a ton of soy. Then I found out I was allergic to soy, and began to eat meat again. Then I was really into baking home made bread using whole wheat flour I ground myself, my husband had bought a scythe and we were thinking of trying to grow some grain ourselves. Then we found out that my husband and children were gluten intolerant and we began a journey that has led us to where we are now. I’m pleased that my religious experience and my lifestyle and health are converging, but sometimes it’s hard because it seem like so much of the information about a hunting based paganism is obscured. It’s so far back in history that we only have the littlest of fragments.

    Anyway, now that I’ve carried on and on, I just want to say I am looking forward to reading more of your blog and seeing how you explore the relationship between paganism and hunting.

  6. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as I go along :).

  7. Pingback: Approaching the World and Seasons Henotheistically « WiccanWeb

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