Around the Cauldron · Celebrating the Sabbats

Pondering at the Solstice

It’s been a tough year. I’ve quit a toxic work environment and joined the most amazing work family who have been incredibly supportive. We’ve moved house, again, but have the most beautiful kitchen and have planted flourishing veggie and herb gardens. We’ve had countless trips to hospital as we chase answers for Shell’s health (one benign tumour removed, two more official diagnosis’ down, one to be confirmed in six months but hello autoimmune family). We handfasted by the river together in our own company. I’ve rejoiced at not having to wear a mask at work but find myself donning one by choice when I run errands at the shops. I’m terrified of receiving my booster shot as I witness it’s effects on my beloved daily but know that it’s what I can do to keep her safe. I got to my 70kg weightless goal and then relaxed but I am happy with where I am sitting. We even accidentally adopted a cat (she came with the house) and missed her presence so much when she crossed the rainbow bridge we adopted another. His name is Bob.


In all this, I’ve put my Pagan rituals aside. To take time out to dedicate some time has been too much but I acknowledge that rather than honouring Herne the Hunter, I am living to our namesake of becoming the Hunter. While I’m not out scouring the forest for tracks and game, I am making sure that our rent is paid, our fridge is full, medications and GP appointments are kept and ambulances are called when need be. You may read this and think, “that’s just being a good partner” and it is. But the role of the Hunter within a family aspect is provider, protector, champion and I am living to the namesake I took on when I took on Herne’s name.

As the Solstice approaches and Herne is reading to claim his Oak Crown at the battle in the Northern Hemisphere, I thank him for all He has helped me with these last six months. Despite not having the energy or making the time to sit down in a ritual fashion to give Him honour as I traditionally have, He found a way to show me that He is still by my side, understanding my world, and gave me the biggest hug I forgot I needed from Him. He even showed me His family crest, so after 20 something years of honouring Him, He continues to surprise me.

My soul in shadow form.

That said, as I ponder the message in its entirety, He showed me that I will stumble and fall if I don’t slow down. It will be me calling out for help if I’m not careful (fell on cactus, thanks Herne) and there are easier ways of reaching the destination at hand if I look a bit closer. He showed me the beautiful community I will have around me in the coming year, many are people I’m yet to meet, and don’t attempt the obstacles lying in my path just because the way presents itself sooner. Be patient, wait, and don’t rush into the great unknown as I’ll just need to back track.

I accept that my mentality has changed a lot in the last five years. Since coming out and becoming “Rowan” there is a level of confidence and posivity that was never there before. There’s an inner knowing that isn’t just intuition (or denial) that things will be okay, or maybe it’s the presence of general acceptance. Yep, there’s a log crossing our path, let’s look for an alternative. I can’t dwell on the log – it’s very clearly there – but I can find ways around it for us. Maybe it’s more my autism coming through the older I get. Maybe it’s because I’m not trying to find who I am, I’m happy, and I have incredible love in my life. Who knows.

Solstice to Solstice, 2016 vs. 2021

I was worried about what I would do to celebrate the Solstice. I don’t want to travel for it, I’m getting an iron transfusion that day, I have absolutely nothing planned. But after hearing from Herne I feel like whatever I decide, how ever it turns out, it will be as it needs to be.

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