|Happy Lughnasadh from our house to yours!|
"Our hands will work for peace and justiceOur hands will work to heal the landGather round the harvest tableLet us feast and bless the land."~T. Thorne Coyle; Reclaiming Collective
This past Saturday, Ed and I celebrated Lughnasadh with an all day bake-a-thon, a huge taco feast, and a peaceful evening ritual. For the first time since my Mom's death (July 25, 2013), we celebrated a holiday with excitement and gusto!
|Two Happy Pagans Happily Feasting|
When my Mom died much of my Pagan practice ended. When I needed to connect with Goddess and God the most, I didn't. When I needed to center and ground the most, I didn't. When I needed to reach out, I retreated into myself. The last seven years have been spiritually empty. I haven't done many rituals and I haven't really celebrated the holidays the way I used to. Like Inanna, I went underground to the Land of the Dead. I was angry. Mom wasn't "supposed" to die yet! We had so many adventures planned. I just planted an apple tree in the yard and we were planning pies, apple sauce, and apple cake. The garden was glorious that year. Mom was gearing up to can and freeze our bounty. And just like that, she was gone. With so many unfinished projects and plans, I unexpectedly lost my best friend and mother. I was gutted to my core.
|Mixing Up Some Yummy Oatmeal Cookies|
Seven years later ... Mother's Day isn't so painful and her birthday doesn't send me into deep depression. This year her death day arrived and was quietly acknowledge. I'm able to think about her now without crying. I'm able to talk about her and, in turn my Pop, without feeling like I've been punched in the gut. Most importantly, I'm able to reflect on our relationship in productive and healing ways.
I adored my Mom, but our relationship was sometimes trying and unhealthy. Mom never got to live the life she really wanted to live and she was horribly depressed about it. My parents' relationship was strained at best, and outright hostile at worst. She lamented her relationship with my father. She projected her values and dreams onto me -- values and dreams that never really "fit" who I am or what I wanted. As loving and supportive as she was, Mom could also emotionally cut with the precision of a neurosurgeon. There was nothing like a Carol guilt trip. She learned it from the best -- her Mom.
|Mix That Goodeness!|
My relationship with my father was tenuous and, at times, violent. But, as I got older and realized that like my Mom, he was only human with human pain, things got better. I have a deep respect for my father, deep like the love I have for my mother. Mom used to get angry at me -- usually for being me (mouthy, irritable, impatient, headstrong) -- and she'd call me "Tony" to get a rise out of me. Tony. Ha! Like having those traits are a bad thing. Yes, I'm much more like my father than my mother. I look like my Pop. I act like my Pop. I do crazy, wacked out things like my Pop. But, I have my Mom's big heart and caring nature.
Both of my parents were human beings whose lives didn't turn out the way they wanted. They were flawed. They were angry. They were suffering from physical, mental, and emotional pain. They were human. It took a pandemic lock down and a mid-life crisis to realize much of this. I am their child and as their child I am flawed. I am in physical, mental, and emotional pain. I am human ... and that's a beautiful, messy, wondrous thing.
My life has been wild and some of it didn't turn out the way I wanted. But hey! I'm still alive! I can pivot and change. I can heal my mental and emotional pain, either with deep reflection and inner work or by seeking professional help. I can heal my physical pain with a healthy lifestyle and partnering with my team of doctors. This pandemic lock down has been good for me. It forced me to sit still. It forced me to stop and really listen to my heart and soul. It forced me to ask the difficult questions. And that, my friends, is a gloriously good thing!
|A Perfect Combination|
What does all of this have to do with Lughnasadh, baking cookies and scones, feasting on some righteous tacos and corn-on-the-cob, and doing ritual? Glad you asked ... I am finally emerging from the long years of darkness! I am climbing out of the Earth to face the Sun once more and GODDESS! does it feel amazing! The fact that I dressed up and celebrated Lughnasadh with all of my heart, soul, and person is astounding and very much needed. For the first time in years, I happily turned the Wheel of the Year fully knowing that my parents are alive and well inside of me. For the first time in years, I danced my Path while actively accepting my flawed, somewhat broken but healing, mushy self. And it is wonderful!
I have so much to tell you, dear readers! There's new career explorations because freelance work is for the birds ... at least for me. I'm expanding my search and trying out new things. SQUEE! I'm exploring Intuitive Eating and the 10 principals of Intuitive Eating. I'm starting to sketch again and I'm itching to start painting. And I'm knitting and doing all sorts of creative things ... like baking cookies. Yes, there's so much to tell you, but that's what this blog is for, isn't it? Back to Saturday and Lughnasadh!
I spent the entire afternoon baking. I did a full batch of Oatmeal Raisin Cookies using a Martha Stewart recipe. Good grief! They were delicious! Ed doesn't normally like oatmeal cookies, but the Ol' Cookie Monster loved them. It's a good recipe -- soft and really flavorful. I also made cinnamon-spice wheat scones. I don't have a picture of the resulting scones, but they were just wonderful.
|A potpourri of cinnamon sticks and cloves simmering on the stove|
All of the spicy smells inspired me to simmer cinnamon sticks and cloves in a potful of water. The entire house smelled like baked goods and happiness. Sigh ... bliss!
|Bijou, My Kitchen Helper|
Bijou spent the entire afternoon glued to me. She loves "helping" me in the kitchen ... ok, she loves rubbing against my legs, running around between my feet, and grabbing anything I drop. She's become an affectionate, sweet, CRAZY kitty! She's in her "terrible twos" right now and is creating chaos in the house. We wouldn't want it any other way. Well, Ed would prefer that she not jump all over him and bite his toes at 5:00 AM for breakfast, but you can't have everything.
|Ed can't wait to dig in!|
I've been making a lot of street tacos lately. I usually grill chicken breasts or sauté chicken strips, roast poblano peppers and onions, and make pico de gallo for our tacos. Quick, easy and delicious!
|Shhhh ... Ed's create the perfect taco!|
As for cheese, sour cream or guacamole, these are very rare. Sometimes I'll sprinkle a little pepper jack on my taco, but that's really it. I don't really crave the cheese or sour cream, and guacamole is overkill. The tacos are delicious as they are!
With that said, I did have a small bit of sour cream. I added lime juice and fajita seasoning to it for a little zing. It was a holiday, after all!!
|Sleepy, silly kitty|
It was a wonderful day! It was so nice to relax and celebrate the Turning of the Wheel with Ed and Bijou.
Life is an amazing thing filled with weird messiness. Sometimes the thing you think you really want, isn't good for you. You're meant to do something else. You're meant to be somewhere else. I'm learning to let go of the reigns and let the Universe take me where I'm meant to be. I'm learning to trust in myself and my own inner voice. I'm learning to Dance My Path again, and it feels amazing.