Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pagan Rituals

We Northern Hemispherites have now slid past the autumnal equinox and are moving slowly but surely towards the winter solstice—but until that point we will have the pleasure and sadness of watching the deciduous trees making an incandescent farewell to their leaves, hearing the scrunch and scuttle of dry leaves underfoot and skittering across the ground, feel the air turn from sweetly crisp to bitterly chill, and watch the light leak out of the sky earlier and earlier each day.

That last one really gets me.

I love autumn—the transition season, the season of gleeful release and abandon before we succumb to winter—but I hate the shorter and shorter days.

And of course the non-human animals have recognized the change in season and responded to it far more attentively and urgently than we: squirrels frantically collecting acorns (which they will bury and never find); mockingbirds preparing for their November mating season; starlings forming their huge flocks that mimic the act of migration.

But those animals aren’t alone. Various human cultures have celebrated the fruitfulness of autumn and the change in season with special foods, parties, and other rituals around the September equinox—and of course the winter solstice has been celebrated by just about everyone (including the residents of Whileaway, author Joanna Russ’s futuristic Earth, who run outside on the night in their underwear and, banging pots and pans, exclaim, “Come back, sun! Come back, goddammit!”)

How do you celebrate the solstice?

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}


Anca said...

Alcohol is involved. Beautiful post.

biobabbler said...

I'm not sure everyone would consider it celebration, but I get an irresistible urge to bake. And start thinking about making soup. All the better to use up the fall harvest, I suppose.

In theory. =) In reality, the ground squirrels prevented most of (squash, beans, pumpkins), and are now plucking-while-green (tomatoes) the last of, our potential harvest.

And I take lots of hot baths, and kick around in the morning warmed by floppy, fuzzy slippers, scarf & hat. Heaven!

Lovely shots, per usual. Who can look at pumpkins and not feel good?

biobabbler said...

p.s. during my Midwestern stint (Ann Arbor, home to 50 million amazing trees) I'd wander for hours compulsively gathering more and more beautiful leaves. Complete heaven. All you peeps with the amazing hardwoods headed toward cold winters are obscenely wealthy in natural beauty in fall.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

Tell me about it! I love the fall colors, and this has been the best fall, foliage-wise, that I've yet experienced in the DC area (I admit that Boston may have spoiled me).

I like your rituals a lot! I too develop a longing for soups and flannel (the latter to wear or sleep in, not eat).

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...