A Ritual of Harvest

 

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Autumn is here. Not astronomically, not “oficially” here, but there is always one day when you can feel the vibrations of autumn in your bones, in the trees, in the wind. And that time came last Thursday.

I left home to do the last harvest before the Dark Half of the Year (during that time I only harvest things for special purposes, either good or bad), ready and willing to harvest the last bits of mugwort, wormwood, hops, and whatever I would find. The weather was strange. The sun was shining that day, but the wind and the clouds appeared and disappeared constantly. The wind was no longer a summer wind, it had some weight, strange weight on it.

And so, I gathered the herbs, went down a few paths, and as I was coming home, teardrops started falling. At the crossroads, I decided not to get back home, but took another path, to visit a good friend of mine: a fig tree. Fig trees are traditionally related to the Devil, as it is thought that the Cross made to crucify Christ was made of fig tree wood. Their roots, their trunk are filled with knots, as if they were populated with damned souls. But their smell, sweet and bewitching, has always attracted me since I was a kid. I made sure to find a fig tree when I arrived to the place where I live now, and so, I try to mingle with it as often as possible.

That being said, I went to visit my old friend. I was harvesting marvellous hyssop in the middle of the path, when I heard a voice behind me. “What are you carrying, remeira?” (Remeiera is a Catalan word for ‘healer’). It was an old man, smiling sweetly, with a cloth bag in his hand. He was surprised to see my basket full of wormwood, and said that nobody used that herb in the region. I explained a few medicinal usages for the plant, and did not mention any other thing. But we carried on talking. He spoke to me about how much he loves plants, how often he goes to the woods just to smell them, and then, out of a sudden, he said: “hey, do you want to see my garden?” I agreed, and followed him to a old wooden fence by the pathway. He opened the fence, and there was a fantastic amount of plants and fruit trees, all of them lush, green, vibrant, and inmensely well taken care of.

He proceeded to show me a patch of wild sage he was specially proud of, and urged me to take some branches. I had never smelled a sage like that, he smiled even more speaking about its smell. Then, he showed me his apple trees, raspberries, dandelions, etc. I had never seen a person so proud of his garden, and he kept talking about the time he spends there. Then, his expression changed, and said worryingly:

You see, my father always said: “We take so many things out of the earth, we must return something to it. We, people who love nature, must take care of these things.”

He smiled again. Preoccupation was gone. We kept speaking and he said I would be always welcome. He gave me four apples. I thanked him and went away, towards the tree. There I offered the fruits of the harvest, and got back home, as it started to rain again.

It is really hard for me to explain what happened that afternoon in a logical sense. But logic plays no role in here, so I will stick to my first thought, and consider myself greeted by a Keeper of the Land I live in, and will cherish that harvest ceremony forever.

The thing is that, Rituals, as we envision them in current Witchcraft traditions, are a series of marked steps to reach a goal which ultimately trascends the mundane. But after this incident, my concept of ritual has become a bit more organic, and I have understood that we do not get to decide on the steps we make, but the ritual is marked by Spirits, and the only thing to be done in our part, is to follow them without fear.


 

IMG_9817That being said, I want to thank your inmense support, for you make Occvlta possible, and announce that the time has come for the making of the Dark Incenses: the Necromancy and the Theriomorph incense, which will be ready in October, together with more reliquaries, rosaries, and other surprises. I really wish this time there will be enough things for everyone!

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “A Ritual of Harvest

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  1. Other very incomplete details I might add to the later Westernized/Christianized traditions of the fig tree:

    Fig leaves were woven and placed over “Adam and Eve’s”, the first humans, sexual reproductive organs, genitalia. The power of their sexuality, coiled at the base of their spine, dormant illumination and regeneration.

    The fig tree is then, of course, associated also with the primordial story in Gan Eden, the “Garden of Eden”, also considered in lore to be a civilization, the paradise of Creation. A garden is carefully cultivated rather than the uncultivated, wild Nature. A cultivated area or enclosure. Knowledge.

    The fig tree, in these regards, also associated with the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”, or the “Tree of Light and Darkness”, the “Tree of Knowledge of Life and Death”. The World Tree, the Knowledge of Life and Death within cycles, seasons, metamorphosis through time. The mysterious processes, structure of Creation. From which they “ate”, “partook”.

    This fig tree, of course, in these associations is tied to the Serpent, the World Serpent, the Cosmic Serpent of the material or physical universe, in all its levels and cycles, stages, from which all natural forms are born within it. With this, braided with the mysteries of the body.

    All of these correspondences of traditions deeply associate with mysteries, ceremony, ritual.

    The fig tree, in this regard, is also intimately connected, entwined if you will, with the crucifixion of the Christ, the KRST, who was transfixed upon the World Tree, the Tree of Knowledge of Light and Darkness, Life and Death. The KRST is the anointed male transformed into a king, (the “husbandman”, “bridegroom” of the Mother Goddess, and thus the god who weds the (Daughter) of the Mother) who goes through the full process of life, death, and resurrection, mysteries of Creation, becoming anointed as the husband or king, the god. Impaled, strung, staked to the Tree of Knowledge of Life and Death, self-sacrificed with blood upon it and so becoming a part of it, he travels the Tree. (The Tree from Gan Eden). The keys, the secrets of life and death. This is also associated in lore with the secrets and mysteries of Marriage.

    The counterpart of the KRST, the male initiate, is Mary Magdalena, Mary “of the White Tower, the Ivory Tower”. Daughter, priestess of the Mother. The Great House of the Mother, from the beginning of civilization (She to whom the mysteries were given). In various traditions, the ivory tower is of the ocean and the Moon. The realm of illumined Nature, the illumined Animalia.

    Another tree, the acacia tree, thickly aromatic and sweet, is associated with this ritualistic crucifixion upon the World Tree, the Mysteries of the Mother, Creation. In traditions it’s said the KRST, the husbandman hung upon the World Tree, the Tree of the Serpent, wears a crown of thorns. And these thorns are of the delectably sweet (often described as ‘heavenly sweet’ and ‘candy-like’) acacia.

    And what is his head, his crown, anointed with? Extremely potent, beautiful aromatic oils.

    The acacia is also ascribed in traditions to the “Burning Bush” up at the top of the Holy Mountain or the Mountain of Creation, which was ascended and then descended. The Burning Bush blazed with a very mysterious “fire” unlike any other, a fire which burned the tree/bush with beautiful, strange, mystical flames, but did not consume or destroy it. “Living flames” as I’ve heard it described, a mysterious fire giving flame and light from which the voice of a “god” spoke. A god within the sweet, aromatic Tree, the bush.

    The thorns of this Burning Bush are placed as a crown on the head of the dying-resurrecting KRST. Crowned with the branches of the mystical Burning Bush. Again, into the skin. Into the head, the skull.

    The leaves of the sweet fig tree in the primordial Garden were sewn together and placed (some say as an ‘apron’, having heavy ritualistic connections) over the reproductive organs. (And all the anointed KRST in dying “rapture” upon the World Tree wore was a woven “loin cloth”. A woven textile). A woven cloth from the fig tree.

    The crucifixion upon the Tree of Knowledge of Life and Death took place upon “Golgotha”, the secret “Place of the Skull”. Also called a “secret (arcane) garden”… The return to a Garden.

    “Lifted [as the serpent] between Heaven and Earth”. Lifted upon, within the Tree.

    The secret Place of the Skull, in esoteric traditions, is also associated with the Moon. The lunar energies, world. The cycles of fertility within the Moon. The Moon coming to fullness, fruition. The Ivory Tower of the Moon in the Garden.

    It’s here that the crucifixion upon the tree from the “midst” of the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, Life and Death took place and the initiate, changed, transformed, rose.

    And so, so many more traditions.
    Traditions that, (traditions say), come from the very beginning of humankind and the knowledge that came from the very beginning of civilization. A beauteous, sunlit and shadowed secret Garden.

    All from a man and woman eating from a fig tree.

    .

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