The day is bright and warm and despite the overcast sky, we locate the Sun glowing gold behind the clouds high in the west. A beaten and broken old Walnut tree stands at the North of the place and I place my hand upon the bark and greet Him “Cyfaill “(friend).
Leaning over to reach for rotting seeds, focused on the leaves upon the grass to locate the green and gold and blackened orbs, I pick them from the earth and toss them back towards their own Ancestor.
The Priestesses begin their work; dressing alters, creating the pattern.
I dress the Alter for the gifts to be placed, pouring apple cider into my great-grandmother’s pitcher. The smell of apples reaches into me and stirs my soul. My heart calls out to please my Honored Dead.
All is in place but, it is not yet time. We three set about lighting the candles, and relighting as the Wind plays games with us.
All is still as we stand watch just before the gate, the Moon above, the Walnut in the North, the Spirits of the Land stand watch. Twilight begins to descend as we wait in stillness. The Moon rises in the East just above the trees, a pale glow through the overcast sky. We look back at the pattern, the candles a geometric constellation come to Earth. The Priestesses take their places in the constellation and prepare themselves for the effort ahead of them.
It is time. The Community is there ready to enter the Circle, ready to create the Magick. They pass by, purifying themselves, we three follow. The salted water on my fingertips, I touch them to my forehead, my lips, my heart, my belly, my womb, aligning and connecting. The incense is simple and sweet, I breathe deep and open. I pause for a moment at the Alter I have prepared and send forth my prayer that They should be pleased.
I enter the Circle and stand with my Community as the Quarters are called and the Roads are laid. I stand in the Circle as the ashes are laid, the Land given over, the pattern charged, the Gates opened. I can feel the energy of the Priestesses as they put forth their effort to bring the constellation into being.
I take my place, a small shadow just outside the constellation. I kneel upon the ground, and my universe becomes the small black bowl on the table before me.
The coals I had lit have been waiting long and must be added to or they will go out. I blow softly on the black coal as it takes the fire and glows. Then I begin to make my offerings, a pinch at a time, a coal at a time. My task is to keep the smoke rising. This task becomes my Magick.
I can see individuals make their way past me and enter through the Gates. I can feel my Priestess working and I reach out to help hold her up. Kneeling upon the land, I can feel my Ancestors embrace me.
This small quiet task becomes a meditation. Keep the coals burning, keep the smoke rising, add pinch after pinch of the sweet offering. This task prepares me, enchants me, entrances me. It is my will manifested. It is my service to my Beloved Dead.
Then the Herald calls to us, to take our turn, to pass through the Gates. I stand on legs that have forgotten how, and make one more offering to last long enough, and walk toward my Priestess. She knows the import of this work for me and she holds the Gate open. I pass through and feel the vortex; I feel its strength and stability and step into stillness.
I have no time to form a thought, no time to form a question. The Ancestors tell me what they will. It is what I hope and desire and need. They grant me my desire; they bestow upon me my name. They give me their blessing. Then they dismiss me, and I turn and step back through the Gate and take my place again in the Circle.
The Land is returned, the Gates are closed, the Circle is opened. My Brother stands beside me and I reach out to touch him. He acts as an anchor for me as I return to balance. Together we place the offerings at the base of the Tree to the North. He also understands the import of this work for me. The Moon glows in the sky behind the clouds.
The Ancestors have Blessed us. I Give Thanks.