Today marks the last day of the Fall season. Tomorrow we welcome Winter. My thoughts move toward the distant past when people moved more fluidly with the seasons. They understood that Nature and the seasons offered reflections of ways to be that were beneficial to their well-being. To that purpose it might be interesting to visit some of the traditions as we say farewell to Autumn and turn our attention to Winter.
Did you ever wonder when people gather in homes what it is that causes them to gravitate toward the kitchen? Even today at some point in our gatherings we end up crowded into the kitchen. The hearth was the center or heart of the home primarily because food was prepared there. It also served the purpose of heating the home. Stories were shared around the hearth that contained teachings about life for all who gathered there. Often there was music and laughter. It was a place to tend to family and it built community. Can it be that the hearth has been replaced by today’s modern kitchen? It is entirely possible in my mind.
So what did the ancient ones do at this time? My ancestors began preparations for this shift by attending to hearth and home.They knew that the time of the dormant dark was arriving. This meant that everyone would be indoors much more frequently. In preparation they readied the hearth and the home. The home was swept clean and the hearth received a thorough scrubbing. They laid in preparations of food and wood earlier and checked again the stores of these items. They were preparing to hunker down with their extended family, friends and/or clan.
Envision that taking place today. As I do my sweeping and cleaning in preparation I plan to imagine that I am sweeping away past arguments, resentments, judgments and hurt feelings. I picture the house being swept clean energetically with the dust that gets pushed out. While cleaning the hearth, my modern version of it, I visualize all of the meals prepared and shared here that have sustained us. I give thanks. When I am done cleaning I begin to lay in my preparations. They include inviting a spirit of harmony to dwell with me and all who share my hearth and home for the Winter season. Laughter, shared meals and stories shared are items I hold in my mind as I prepare for tomorrow. Music that uplifts me will play in the background as I attend to hearth and home. I turn my face toward the coming season. Welcome Winter, I am ready.