Saturday, 15 October 2016
Autumn Nature Altar, loving the colours
I made an autumn altar on my desk today. Red and yellow leaves fetched from the garden, the last of the lavender in flower tied with a thin red ribbon, lots of little crystals, and pictures of autumnal and cooler night animals: raven, owl; and brambles in the middle.
Fluffhead made the little wreath at the top at Quaker Childrens Meeting last week. I was very pleased with how it looked, altogether. I also borrowed another Childrens's Meeting creation of his - the little jar stuck with tissue papers of different colours, with a tea light inside. It was supposed to remind us of 'the light within', and how you can always call on it, no matter how stressful or utterly wrong any situation felt. He does lovely things there.
I used to have an altar up to meditate (attempt to meditate!) with all the time till Fluffhead was born, constantly changing for festivals and seasons - I used to love changing it about and seeing how beautiful it could be. It helped me mark time, and not get stuck in my thinking, in my head, to observe and feel and interact with seasons passing and moving through. Either with expectations or contrary to (a delayed summer, not on cue; a wet and mild winter lasting far too long - either way, I'd be THERE keeping note).
Then he came and tried to eat everything, and nearly burned his small fingers, so I realised I had to stop doing it, and had no where higher up that was safe to move it to. Only today did it occur to me that he now understands candles and burning, and may even not mess up the lovely arrangments of shiny and pleasing objects I have put there, following my instincts and my eye. We'll see.
All day he's been wandering up to it and asking me to light the candles again and he waves his hands high above them, amazed at how far the heat can rise. He seems very pleased I've incorporated his artworks for the season.
Also, it started out a bit more Halloweeney/Samhain-ey -- as in, I had lots of slightly scarier looking images on the cards, and pictures of dead family members etc, and a rotting plant....it was supposed to be about accepting that death and life are both with us, and honouring the loved who are dead, and the spirit of darkness and growth even when rot is all you can see. Then I realised the symbolism is all very well for me, but this is at head height for a 6 year old and it looked weird and possibly terrifying. Plus mum is very Christian and she freaks out enough every time she sees my statue of Herne [horns, you see, even though they're actually antlers], so I didn't want her worrying about me worshipping skeletons or death or something even the Goth in me feels a bit too light and sunny for, just this minute.
So I simplified it, and made it just Autumn, Autumn animals, the turn to dark...the owl sees in the night, and holds those thoughts within quiet; eyes reflect inwardly, luminous and secretive. The raven watches the garden and misses nothing. As I cut the remaining lavender, the brambles said hello by cutting me back. Which was quite fair enough, I thought.
Our world is so beautiful. I love that Fluffhead can see it too. I shall do more of this, if he's able to not nab all the crystals and use them as obstructions for his railway in the living room...
And seasonal cooking too. I shall remind myself just how many years its been since I properly tried to incorporate the whole Wheel of the Year, and some of the moon cycles too. I always found it so fun, and colourful, and inspiring - feeling the different vibes, the different textures to times of day and of the year; the way the garden shifts and yet remains exactly the same. I used to love cooking foods for a mini feast for full moons, or new moons, or any old festival I wanted to mark (always being eclectic, I borrowed anyone's I liked the look of as well as the more usual modern Celtic Wheel). Doing all that is a lovely way to be mindful too, every special extra in the present thing helps all the other moments that feel so mistakenly mundane. Nothing is mundane. Things feeling 'ordinary' is just when you feel tired inside. (Or if you choose it: camouflage.)
Off to finish Joanne Harris's Gentlemen and Players (2006). Set just around about now in the year. Love when I become absorbed in something only to discover its walking right next to me, holding my hand and pacing with me; rather creepily in this case, from it's dimension in paper story world through to mine here. I shall probably finish it tonight.