Daily Archives: September 19, 2009

Today is 11 Chuwen 9 Ch’en

1189 shopping days until 4 Ahau 3 K’ank’in.

mowing labyrinth 1

mowing labyrinth 2

lawn labyrinth firebowl

Mowing the labyrinth.

Well, it’s a long, long time
From May to December
But the days grow short,
When you reach September.
And the autumn weather
Turns the leaves to gray
And I haven’t got time
For the waiting game.

And the days dwindle down
To a precious few . . .
September, November . . .
And these few precious days
I spend with you.
These precious days
I spend with you.

Music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Berthold Brecht, translated by Maxwell Anderson, and best sung by Lotte Lenya.

Tuesday is the Autumnal Equinox; 12 hours of daylight, 12 hour of night. As the song says, the days grow short(er) until the Winter Solstice. Among our circle of friends we have a fire ceremony which I made up off the top of my head for a Winter Solstice party a few years back, and which we perform at both the Solstices and the Equinoxes of the solar year. A once impromptu ritual is now an ingrained tradition, and if I forget part of it or get it wrong, I will immediately be reminded and corrected by the congregation. It’s very simple and entirely ecumenical; doesn’t matter what you believe or whether you believe anything at all: the best kind of religious service, as far as I’m concerned. It goes like this:

As the sun is going down, build a fire and light it, keep it burning. Go have something to eat and drink. Each congregant sits down at some point in the evening and makes two lists on separate pieces of paper (we like to use Chinese joss paper). On one piece of paper write down a list of “Begones,” which anything or anybody you wish to pass out of your life. On the other write out a list of “Will-Be-Dones,” which anything or anybody you wish to come into your life. When all congregants have completed their lists (some people spend a lot of time on their lists, particularly the Begones), we all go out to the fire.

Each person picks a small piece of preferably aromatic wood out of a basket, and is given Chinese joss money to burn. Each person puts their piece of wood on the fire, one by one. Then the lists. Begones go first. As each person puts their list on the fire, everyone yells “BEGONE!” as loud as they please. Then go the Will-Be-Dones; all yell “WILL-BE-DONE!” with, of course, a will. Then everyone throws their joss money on the fire and yells “LET IT BURN!” That’s about it, really. If you have a pope, which we do, he or she will pronounce a blessing, and give a short (short) homily. Then go back in the house and have another drink. Let the Begones be gone, let the Will-Be-Dones be done, and let us have money to burn. Prost!

This year we will have the fire bowl in the center of the labyrinth I cut in the back lawn, and walking the five courses of the labyrinth will become part of the ritual. We will come down were we ought to be, as the Shaker hymn has it:

‘Tis the gift to be simple,
’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down
where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves
in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley
of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d
To bow and to bend
we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight
‘Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Nihil Obstat ox His Loveliness the Pope*, the Right Reverend and Doctor Omed

*of the Seventh Day Atheist Aztec Baptist Synod.