Fall's Foliage & The First Harvest

This is the first part of a mini-sermon I delivered on Sunday to the students of Reflections. I will post it in two parts, mostly because it was a lot longer than I realized. I had started our session discussing the mystery of unknowing. Maybe I will post that mini-sermon at some point. I hope you enjoy part one. I will post part two later this week.

I spoke earlier about the mystery of un-knowing, but now I want to talk about Fall’s Foliage. The previous rituals this year were Spring’s Sprouts and Summer’s Blossoms. And now we are at Fall’s Foliage.

I will admit that fall is my favorite season, spring is a close second, but fall …I just love it. It may seem too early to talk about fall now that we are entering what is normally the hottest month of the year.

But of course we are discussing the mythic realm, the realm of spirit. And so we have discussed the importance of patience that leads us to care for and nurture the sprouts of spring. And later we meditated on how the blossoms of summer were just the beginning of what was coming later – that the blossoms were not the final stage.

And here we are at our Fall’s Foliage ritual and it is being held on the Sabbath of the first harvest, which makes it all the more potent. It is about how, finally, we can begin to harvest. Not all of the harvest is ready however, not all of bounty you have planted is available to be consumed or ingested. But, we can recognize that the first harvest is the promise of more to come.

And that is the hard part, because just as people have no patience to allow the sprouts to continue growing. And often folks jumped the gun with the first blossoms. So it is often hard to figure out what is in fact a part of the first harvest.

In the physical realm, at least around these parts, the first harvest is traditionally grains and berries. But in the realm of spirit, the first harvest is all about those little signs that signal to you to let you know that all is not forlorn, that there is hope even in the midst of despair.

Everyone’s first harvest is different. Sometimes it is the little things that count. I use to read a twelve-step book of prayers and quotes, one for each day of the year. And one of the entries was about noticing the variety of shades of green in nature. Through all those years prior to that lesson, I never noticed that the green of nature came in different shades. It was just Crayola eight-pack green to me, because my world was very stark. And that little book said, “Notice the shades of the green, the variations of green.” And I am reading this book at the bus stop because that was when I read it each morning, and I look up and suddenly saw for the first time, all the different shades of green around me – I stood there frozen with my mouth open, in shock. And that new awareness revealed to me that there was more than I imagined in the world. That was the beginning of my first harvest.

Later I stood in the pavilion at my first witch camp being led through some exercises to aspect Aphrodite. And at the very moment when I felt her presence, suddenly I could once again see the variations of green, and it was a shock to me … just like the first time. And I realized that here again was another glimpse of my first harvest. And so over the years, I have used the shades of green and whether I can see them as a measure of how healthy I am, emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. It was such a gift for me that after a time I never lost the ability to see the variations of green, not once over all these years.

The first harvest can be the smallest thing. It can be something that everyone else around you takes for granted. Your first harvest will have a meaning just for you. It will be sustaining like the grain and it will be sweet like the berries. But it will be your first harvest.

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