Tuning Into The Land
We are lucky; we live in the country in which the magical and folk traditions originated, and we have never done anything else but live these traditions. We can so easily tune ourselves into the seasons by just observing and being part of our environment, and to the Moon by observing the heavens. (And it does help that John is am Astronomer !!).
We can feel the cold of Winter, experience the releasing of Winter's grip, and see the first snowdrops, the harbingers of Spring. The daffodils dance under bare trees as the willows begin to green, and the hawthorns in the hedgsrows soon begins to follow tin his geening of the land. We watch as the Hawthorn or May blossoms turn the hedgerows white with their frothy blossoms and know that Summer has begun.
We see the flowers bloom in their turn, and know which month it is by which flowers are blooming. We watch as the barley forms its silky heads which blow in the wind and give the whole field the alook of shot silk. Later we see it turn golden and the heads turn right over and the sound of crispy dryness greets our ears as the wind blows through it. Poppies, more abundant now that farmers do not spray so much, sometimes turn whole fields red, the blood of the Sun God as he gives His life that we may live.
Right on cue for Lughnasadh, the combine harvesters appear in the fields around the beginning of August, and huge round bales of golden straw turn the cornfields into alien landing sites!!. The meadowsweet scents the roadsides at this time, fitting perfectly into the legend of Blodeouwedd. Meanwhile, the wheat ripens to a golden brown and the combines work flat out into mid- September to finish off the grain harvest.
At the beginning of September we pick blackberries from our favourite cliff top site, and so abundant are they, that we can pick about 12 lbs in a couple of hours. The heavenly smell of bottled blackberries, opened at Yule, bring memories of Autumn and of the Lady's bounty. Crab apples are gathered to make jelly, but the squirrels always beat us to the hazel nuts!!
Soon follows the keen frosts and the high Moon illuminating the landscape; the trees turn golden, and then are shed to prepare for Winter. The days become really short, sunset around four in the evening - we spend much of the evenings indoors by the fire.
At Yule we celabrate the Sun's return to the Northern hemisphere, and are truly ready for this change from darkness to light. It feels like a time for celebrating as we begin to notice the lengthening days, and the fire arrows we send out keep our spirits alive with the promise of the Sun's return and Spring!
Add to all these observations the participation in all the traditional activities from Maypole and Morris Dancing, Mumming plays and preparing the Boar's Head to apple bobbing and turnip lanterns, then you have a good idea of our tradition.