|Full Equinox altar.|
Instead of these animal symbols, I prefer floral ones - picking what is in bloom in my garden at the time. I don't rear chickens, rabbits or sheep, so it seems a bit disconnected for me to celebrate lambing (which is often quite a bit before Easter in the UK, anyway), or their lifecycle in relation to the agricultural year. The birds nesting in my garden are more seasonally appropriate to me than chickens. [Interestingly, chickens need about 12 hours of daylight to signal the summer period for laying eggs - so the Equinox is actually directly relevant to chickens. Some will lay in winter even without an appropriate light source, but egg production goes up with daylight hours. I do, however, grow flowers (and vegetables, herbs, etc.) so I feel more personally connected to flowers.
|Another photograph of the altar as a whole|
I have two altar cloths again, layered over each other. The bottom altar cloth is a printed light green one with a leafless tree, an image that makes me think of a tree about to spring into life, rather than a dead tree. The upper altar cloth is actually a vintage table-runner I bought on eBay because it reminded me of my grandmother's handicrafts. She used to make things very similar to this, and as the item seems entirely handmade, I can picture someone else's grandmother making this the same way. I wish I had inherited some of my grandmother's embroidery, but I was a child when she passed, and did not end up with anything like that. I found some daffodil doilies secondhand that I tend to use for tea-parties, but I put one under each of the candle-holders to protect the altar cloth from any wax drips that ran off the candle-holders, because it is an old and fragile embroidery, sold to me as being from the '50s, and I don't want to damage it. The embroidered flowers are somewhat stylised, but they remind me of marigolds, which are currently flowering in my garden.
|Daffodil doilies to protect vintage altar cloth.|
The daffodil picture is not a Goddess symbol at all, it is actually a card I gave Raven for St. David's Day - the saint day for the welsh patron saint, who is St. Dewi in Welsh. St. David's Day is seen more as a national celebration than as a Celtic Saint's day by many, including Raven. I have mentioned before that he is Welsh-Irish. Daffodils are Wales' national flower; the national plant symbol is a leek, and daffodils are 'cennin Pedr' or Peter's leeks in Welsh, which is presumably where the connection comes in between the two plants. Anyway, the card was placed on the altar as another mark of the passing seasons, and a nod to Raven's Welshness.
I have a light green candle to represent the Green Man, a vegetative spirit (or even deity to some) that I associate with the changing seasons as visible through plant life. New spring leaves are slowly emerging, light and vibrant, not yet darkened to the richness of summer. I light the pink candle when invoking the divine feminine, and light the green candle when invoking the divine masculine. The central, multicolour candle is represented of the divine as simultaneously transcendent of material existence and immanent within it. I am a pantheist that sees individual deities as spiritual aspects or manifestations of the greater divine that is in all things, and that candle made of all colours seems like a good representation of that. It is a lovely hand-made textured candle, but I can't remember where I bought it. I think it might be from 'The Maker's Mark' in Newcastle Emlyn, but it could be even older - a souvenir from a lovely witchy shop I found behind a record shop in Henley on Thames over a decade ago. I have kept it safe in my wicker basket store of candles for a long time, but felt like this is the right time to burn some of it. I must admit I'm sort of clingy about candles, and don't like burning the prettiest ones, especially all in one go - I want to stretch it out so I can appreciate them for longer! Quite silly when candles are intrinsically transient, made to be burnt. Perhaps I'm a sentimental fool.
|Ceramic cauldron over tealight.|
|Marigold and salt in pentacle dish.|
My regular readers might be surprised at the colours - especially green wall paneling in my ritual space, and plenty of yellow and pastels for this seasonal celebration, but I don't think my religious practice necessarily has to reflect my Gothic aesthetic - some of it does, especially my work with the Morrigan and Her aspect as Badb, and with the Cailleach of winter - and these are things you will see on my Samhuinn altar and my altar in the 'Dead Time' between Samhuinn and Winter Solstice, but for the rest of the year, the colours reflect the seasons more than they reflect me - after all, my spiritual practice is more there to connect me better with nature, rather than for me to express my personal style or aesthetic.
The pentacle shelving unit is by CAS Design and I reviewed it ::here::