Around the Cauldron · Pagans Down Under · The Forest Path · The Goddess Path

Learning to live again

I feel like living in the city left me in a bubble of sorts. You get to read about what happens agriculturally, we get to think “Well, is it really Lughnasadh when x, y and z happens at these times” and you kinda go with tradition or what you’ve been told when you can’t see it or experience it. Or you’re a not a Druid and your pathwork is more Deity/magick focused (which is cool, but as a Druid I’ve been yearning to know the land…hence the Environmental Management degree undertaking). Part of me feels like I’m in a different country (and I am, Wiradjuri country) but it’s also like learning to live again.

Agriculturally, harvest has already begun. Sheaf hay was harvested at the beginning of this November, and the canola was cut down and left to dry out further in the fields. I saw the first canola harvest yesterday on the way home from work – the machinery collecting the dried canola, leaving the fields bare. This is so different to the Traditional Wheel which tells us that the harvest is still 4-5 months away.

All the more reason local Wheels of the Year are important! And with Beltane passing, snake season has begun.

We had our first brown snake experience on Monday; my eldest girl Augie decided a baby brown snake would be the perfect gift for me so she brought it into the laundry. It slithered outside (while I’m hysterical on the couch off the ground because it’s the second most deadly snake in the freakin world), she whacked it in annoyance, it bit her, then she killed it. Husband came home, found that she was bitten, then we struggled to maintain a legal speed limit as we headed into the vet 40km in Wagga (because Light forbid Junee has a full time open vet…). She’s okay now – back to her usual self of Alpha Female.

Through really understanding the changing land more and more, this has also left me with the desire to just be submerged in our land and leave my learnings of ancestral lands behind, while also mindful of what I can and can’t do because we’re in the height of snake season (something I didn’t worry about in suburban Sydney). I’m currently on a journey with a wonderful group of women as we travel the trackways with Elen of the Ways. This is where I feel like I’ve been wrapped on the knuckles – the more I try to work within a Northern Hemispheric framework the more I’m drawn to our own Wild Places.

(NB: I may also need to blame this on the book, “The Wild Places” by Robert Macfarlane – as I read about his travels into the UK’s few remaining untouched areas of wilderness, I’m wanting to seek out what’s around me)

Continental Isolation is so difficult at times. For example, I know that my relationship with Herne is different than those in the Northern Hemisphere. I get very excited when I see an oak tree because they’re not native and are sparse, but also because a lot of his connections are Northern Hemispheric based. He is still very much the Green Man and the Oak King, and I’m seeing a connection between his Oak and my Eucalyptus as our leaves are changing from green to red and are beginning to drop in the lead up to him soon losing the fight to the Holly King at the upcoming Solstice.

I’m also beginning to find that with Elen, the more I connect with her, the more I’m coming to see an Australian relationship with her. I’m having to remove the literal connection to deer because deer connection in Australia isn’t as strong as it is through the UK and Europe.

We have deer here, but they’re labelled a “pest” and “introduced species” so people rejoice when they are hunted as they damage our bush understory. I read in a Wiradjuri children’s book that they would use the Emu (among others) has a guide as to when it was time to move to a different part of the landscape each season and it makes so much sense in this landscape!

I’m finding that here in Australia, Elen is stronger in her role as Sovereignty, lighting up the migration lines to water and shade. Even within us, it’s like she triggers that ancestral memory to where the water lies because we all want to flock to water as it’s cooling. As the animals do so, we humans can observe, but we need to be mindful that we’re (in a sense) strangers on their land disrupting their ways.

Then there’s the human elements of the trackways. Once trains leave Sydney and head south to Melbourne, it’s those at Junee that ensure everyone on the tracks are where they should be. The man-made train lines, the roads that lead between towns and between paddocks, they’ve become my trackways.

While I say she’s stronger in her role of Sovereignty, I also need to point out that she isn’t “the” Sovereignty in Australia. As Spiral Dance beautifully put in their song, ‘Goddess of the Southern Land’ from their new album, ‘Land and Legend’…

Goddess of the Southern Land I’m yet to know your name
I’ve been travelling the pathways from where my ancestors came
But now I long to hear the songlines that are singing in your veins
Goddess of the Southern Land I’m yet to know your name

I see this Goddess energy as the Rainbow Serpent, and honour the Serpent through visits to the Murrumbidgee River. And this energy is completely different to what I feel when connecting with Elen…

So there’s all this “stuff” going on in my head right now and to be completely honest, it’s becoming rather overwhelming.


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