I have no pictures or a jaunty little recap of Lughnasadh, the actual day, this year. On August 1st and 2nd I thought all day: Hey! Today’s Lughnasadh! I should do something!
Well, I did. I stepped out in my garden and instead of harvesting my promising corn, huge globes of melons and shiny purple eggplants I…tore them up. The heat, the drought and perhaps some inexplicable bad luck had stunted their growth. I had one melon, a ripe sphere of promise, gestating on a vine. When I went outside Lughnasadh morning it had fallen to the ground and was being devoured by thirsty ants. I felt an irrational surge of anger that was quickly replaced by pity. At least I could go inside and grab a glass of water. These guys don’t have that luxury.
Mostly I hurt for the earth in my region. I go outside and the heat is relentless. The leaves of Thor tree are yellowing and thirsty branches dangle down, unable to hold themselves up. Grass–straw, really–crunches beneath my feet. The only plant that seems to thrive is the one I’m trying to kill: poison ivy, cropping up all over my front yard.
I’ve told this tale many times since April. It’s still the truth around my region, but I don’t want to become mired in hopelessness. I want to move forward.
I can tell that fall is coming by one certain sign: the stirring my soul. Sounds cheesy, no? It probably is. Every year, around August, I just get this…feeling. It’s hard to describe, but it’s an assurance that the summer is ending. Before I admitted to myself I was Pagan, autumn was the time of the year that I would secretly dart in and out of the Metaphysics/New Age section of bookstores, trying to discover what that feeling meant.
As I watered my fall tomatoes on Lughnasadh morning I happened to look east. The rising sun gilded the fence posts and golden-yellow shafts of sun dappled the straw-brown grass. And I thought: That’s autumn light.
Since then the funk I was in slowly began to recede. Though it’s still hot as hell, I began collecting egg cartons to start my autumn veggies. I plan to do that over the next week. Thoughts of maple syrup, sweet potatoes, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, sandalwood, chrysanthemums, ghosts, spirits, Tarot, Mabon, Samhain, rain, colcannon, Pumpkin Spice Lattés, etc., began to fill my head. I can almost begin to feel the first morning that I will go outside to water and my skin will prickle with the chill.
I guess the feeling is…well, witchiness. I’ve heard, time and time again, that autumn is the season of the witch. For me, this is true. It’s the season that something deep within me unfurls and flourishes. My spirit wants to grow, to do, to reach, to learn. So I follow its lead.
To me, Lughnasadh marks the beginning of the end of the fallow season. The season of rest and hibernation will soon be replaced by a flurry of work, spiritual and mundane, and I will look back on this time and think: Man…whatever happened to summer?