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First harvest is an exciting time here on the farm, as we prepare to bring in the first cropsfrom the Land wehave so carefully tended over the growing season. Thoughts about our deep connection to this Land give rise today to musings about my ancestors and the Land they cherished.
Few people live the agrarian life anymore, a life that the Celtic fire festivals are derived from, so I consider myself blessed to be able to live by the same cycles that my ancestors lived by for generations before me. As a child, my father lived on a chicken farm owned by his father and uncle (who were also children of an Irish immigrant farmer), and although he did not work the land as an adult, even he was not that far removed from the agrarian lifestyle. In later years, he would recall his childhood on the farm with great fondness. I’m sure the spirits of my forebears are proud that I have returned to the ancestral way of life. In fact, sometimes I think that I could not have avoided it if I had wanted to.
There is comfort in continuity, a comfort that the Land and her cycles provide to the human psyche that is irreplaceable. We are drawn to the celebration of that life and the turn of the very agrarian Wheel of the Year because this is the natural cycle imprinted into our genetic code. We are, after all, at this time, the end result of a long line of people who made their living from the Land.
Those of us who can dig our hands into the soil and take sustenance from our connection to Sovereignty probably take for granted our ability to be healed and nurtured by the simple act of caring for the Land around us. The Land becomes our strength as a result of our long-standing relationship. The longer we occupy the Land, the deeper our roots sink into it, until even the possibility of the loss of that parcel -- that homeland -- evokes emotions akin to the death of a loved one.
My great-great-grandfathers and grandmothers knew the pain of being forced to leave their homes in Ireland to find better lives in a strange new world. They managed to establish new relationships with new
Land spirits and find sustenance again for themselves and their families, but the grief they carried for the loss of the homeland seems to be imprinted in the very core of their descendants, a deep soul-longing that nothing but a return to Ireland can cure. Can you imagine a grief so deep that four generations later still feel the echoes of their pain?
I understand their sacrifice at a deeper level than I had realized, as all of our hard work is about to pay off and the Land we know so intimately offers her bounty to us this Lughnasadh. I understand, as I embrace the sight of our crops in full glory, that I am only a Steward, but the grief of my ancestors that echoes through me still is something that I never want to have to experience first-hand.
May Your Lughnasadh Be Fruitful,
The Topaz Owl
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