Sweating stress from a heavy day at the office, as I walk into my garden there is that immediate relief of being enclosed by one’s hearth and home. My little boy is away at his father’s tonight, so there is an itchy emptiness, but the sense that this is my place, my haven is undeniable. As the front door closes the back one is opened, cats dancing delightedly into the sweet summer air. Washing trails lackadaisically in the stillness; rain threatens but the current heat is ideal for the never ending laundry loads. Blackbird, Lon Dubh, guardian at the gate; he calls to the world and the world answers with voice of magpie, blue tit and wren as they vie for dominance from aerials and chimneys. They rarely venture into my little postage stamp of green; the cats have seen to that. But their voices soothe, an avian symphony that connects me to the past; knowing my ancestors would have stopped their own evening chores to listen to the same song.
Once mundane tasks are over (laundry, cat tray and the never ending picking up of toys) I move to my other household tasks of making sure my chosen companions know they are appreciated. It’s a full moon, a time for things coming to fruition, celebrating goals achieved, harvesting both literally and metaphorically. I raise a glass and speak of gratitude for the wonders in my life: my son who amazes and changes me every day; who teaches me patience and understanding; who shows me that everything I do has a consequence and that we are shaped by our ancestors, both immediate and distant; who brings me joy beyond measure. My family and friends, who are more supportive than I could ever have hoped for. Darkness has threatened many times over the past few months, and there has always been someone holding out a torch. We are tribe.
I pour wine to the ground, and wish that the earth, and all of us who care to give back to the earth, may never hunger or thirst. This is a tiny ritual that I have picked up from my group work as part of a coven, but I find it reflects the old folk practice of leaving a portion of your meal out for the fae, or in England, the brownies or similar. In some ways, this is a way of saying ‘I accept that you share this space with us, so I will share my food with you’. In another way, it’s almost a piece of pride; a way of saying ‘I have been productive, and now I have food to spare’. It’s also an offering of friendship and respect.
In this same vein, I pour the vivid red into bowls and cups as offerings for my gods and ancestors. The Morrigan is thanked for the passions reignited in my life. Brigid is thanked for new beginnings and the blessings of family. My ancestors and descendants are honoured and thanked for their unquestionable impact on me; for helping make me the person I am today. Candles are lit and incense makes the air a little heavy, like a warm blanket. It’s time to call to say goodnight to my boy, and friends are arriving soon. This moment of stillness is a gift. I breathe, then move in time and space towards my loved ones.