“Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways,
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.
When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark,
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.
He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers,
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.
You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight,
Because he makes you want to cry.
The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds,
And leads him inside.
The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing,
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.
‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.
When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see,
The strange guest at your table.
The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest,
In your voicebox. You cough.
Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.
You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old,
And where your passion went.
The wild god reaches into a bag,
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.
The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs,
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.
The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.
In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring,
With laughter and madness and pain.
In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.
The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.
‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’
Listen to them:
The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…
There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.
Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.
Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.”
Today marks the cross-quarter day (halfway point) between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. The wheel of the year turns and the entire northern half of the planet enters into the dark part of the year. It is the time of year when the Sun drops lower and lower on the horizon, and the dark of night lasts longer and longer.
Ancient Celtic tribes celebrated Samhain(pronounced sow-in) to mark this auspicious time. According to the Celts and other pagan tribes, the veils between the worlds grow thin at this time of year. That means we can more easily connect with loved ones who have crossed over into the land of the dead. It is the perfect time to honor and celebrate our ancestors.
Celtic Samhain is also about celebrating life. The last of the harvest has been gathered up in our fields and orchards. The natural bounty of Mama Earth will bless and nourish us all winter.
As you enter into the dark half of the year, pause for a moment or two. Offer love and gratitude to Mama Earth for the water, food and shelter she provides. Say a prayer for any loved ones who have moved beyond here and now. Express thanks for everything you have harvested in your life this year.
May the Spirit of peace bring peace to your house this Samhain night and all nights to come.
All will come again into its strength: the fields undivided, the waters undammed, the trees towering and the walls built low. And in the valleys, people as strong and varied as the land. And no churches where God is imprisoned and lamented like a trapped and wounded animal.
“Joy is everywhere; it is in the earth’s green covering of grass: in the blue serenity of the sky: in the reckless exuberance of spring: in the severe abstinence of grey winter. . . Joy is there everywhere.”
Image: Snow blanketing a mountain forest by Nancy Lankston
“The Goddess gradually retreated into the depths of forests or onto mountaintops, where she remains to this day in beliefs and fairy stories. Human alienation from the vital roots of earthly life ensued, the results of which are clear in our contemporary society.
But the cycles never stop turning, and now we find the Goddess reemerging from the forests and mountains, bringing us hope for the future, returning us to our most ancient human roots.”
‘I honour the wisdom of life. I learn from life in all its forms. The tree teaches me. The sparrow and the wren sing my song. I am open to the lessons Life brings me from the earth. I learn from the wind, from the sun, from the small flowers, and from the stars. I walk without arrogance. I learn from all I encounter. I open my mind and heart to the guidance and love that come to me from the natural world.’
Today is the autumnal equinox. Autumn has officially arrived.
An equinox is the moment when the equator of planet Earth lines up perfectly with the center of our Sun’s disk. The equinox occurs only twice each year, in spring and again in fall. This is a time of balance on our beautiful planet. Day and night are precisely equal at the equator — and very close to equal everywhere else on the globe.
The ancients worshipped Mama Earth as the great Goddess Gaia, miraculous creator of all life on this planet. Gaia is the original mother of us all.
This is the perfect time to spend a few moments meditating with Gaia. Offer a prayer of gratitude for the comforting rhythms of her cyclic seasons; autumn follows summer just as surely as night follows day. Ask your Earth Mama to help you find balance and equanimity in the midst of all the waves of change washing over you in these chaotic times. Thank her for the oxygen, water, food and shelter she provides that make your life possible.