For myself and my household, this is our ‘Thanksgiving,’ of sorts. No, farming
or ranching symbolism isn’t found here, but rather a celebration of thanks this year for surviving a tough summer full of wildfires, painful news, and bad luck. Also, preparation for winter, and the Season of the Dead, as well as the beginning of hunting season. Wait no, those two crows that I put on the table could be – they were given to me by a former neighbor before she passed away. I put them out at my own ‘Thanksgiving‘ in honor of Mrs. Friztler.
The morning began with a hunting ritual, awaiting the answer if it was allowed to hunt today. We got a ‘yes.’ I started with an offering of a home-made joss stick (I hope to make more soon) and allowed the answer to come through the rauchstocks. It isn’t quick, and you may very well get a ‘No,’ or ‘HELL NO.’ It happens. Luckily, we got a ‘yes,’ and I went from there.
I divined with the bones to see if signs were favorable for a hunt. No, it didn’t appear so, but we went regardless. If nothing else, it has been a beautiful day and a walk in the untouched areas would be wonderful regardless. *** Because you receive a ‘yes,’ does not mean that the weather will be ideal, or the animals frightened off before you get there, etc.
I blessed my Hub’s shot gun before the hunt, on the bear-skin of the bear I actually hunted (I have only gone on one ritual bear-hunt, and it was my last), before the hearth-stone. Since I didn’t get any deer-tags or any other tags for large game this go-round, I will have to wait to bless my own implements. For now, it’s dove and quail season, soon to be teal, duck, rabbit, grouse, marmot, coot, and goose. We didn’t get anything today, but today marks the beginning of the season for us. We’ll be back.
We spent part of the morning preparing our hunting trips and what game to hunt, I calculated lucky and unlucky days (Thanks to ‘Long Lost Friend’), and I will always be keeping an eye out for large-game tags. There’s nothing like roasted venison on a cold winter evening!
After hunting, we went to our local Oktoberfest. Granted, their wares weren’t anything the Hub’s or I are interested in (such as Gucci sunglasses), but we supported our local community none the less. I got to meet an older smithy named George Monsson of Westmarch Forge, and I’m thrilled. I plan to pick his brain like swiss cheese with metalworking questions, and I hope he doesn’t mind. His wares were of steel and bronze. I admit it – I drooled, and oggled with his wares of Celtic torcs, and Norse runic jewelry and pendants.. This man has more experience than I do, and as I ask him question after question I hope I don’t wear his patience thin!
I took a second to look down the tiny main-street as we were walking towards
the Oktoberfest, and and had another moment of looking at the world as people hurried by. I took omens from the birds that fluttered and flew, the hawk that perched above a mini-van with three toddlers getting out of it – and other omens as well. There is real power in the moment, and I am thankful to be aware of this, and aware enough to just stop, and take the moment in.
Herbst marks the change from summer to autumn, as well as from the season of growth to the season of the dead. My oracles went well last night, as I came back I was exhausted but, for some reason, I haven’t felt better for a while. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken so long to get back to it?
Last night marks the beginning of when the Ancestors start coming back amongst us, as for my own beliefs it is a season, not one night, but many nights, where the ebb and flow of the Honored Dead returning happens – it reaches it’s apex at Rauhnact, and fades at Ostern. Tonight I will give offerings of cream and food, leave a place at my table for Them, and light my lantern as a guide for my Beloved Dead to find their way here.
Tonight will also be the night when our little ‘cub,’ returns home to Arta. Many bear cultures adopt a cub, raise the cub, and then sacrifice it to return home. Since that’s illegal where we live as well as just not humanly feasible with our circumstances (adding in the fact that we’d become attached and unable to kill the cub) – I craft one for us from natural materials. The symbolism is just as potent, the ‘cub‘ is still cared for, and the rituals are still honored. Speak well of us little cub!
I was given a shit-ton of garden produce from my in-laws, and thus we are able to have an awesome feast for this sacred day. The fowl was slow cooked, and will be the center piece for our meal. My father-in law gave us gigantic sunflower heads, with most of the seeds intact. I also will be roasting sunflower seeds for the Hubs, as well as keeping some for planting around the house this next spring. These sunflowers aren’t sunflowers… They’re eight foot tall giants!
So, with the food in the oven, fresh pastries cooling, the scent of roasted bird filling the air – delicious greens done, fresh butter nut squash settling in butter, and the timer going – I thought it would be nice to take a second to sit down and wish everyone a wonderful Autumn Equinox, and blessed Herbst!
I take a moment, and just – be thankful for my own blessings. The list isn’t long, but hey – at least I have a list!! I do feel thankful, and my day and my upcoming night will be filled with gratitude.
P.S. First round of herbal smoke is a success. It relaxes your body, eases pain, and calms your thoughts. So far, so good!
Photos of this morning: