The main meaning that I understood was as the first of the harvests, it's truly the first time that we can appreciate the efforts and the toils that went into the planting of the seeds, plants and other items. It's the time to properly give thanks to those who have worked and also to taste of the first fruits of the labours. Importantly so, however, it is the time to really think about those whose harvests were not fields were not plentiful - the Third World, places with drought and political disharmony. Some harvest may well have been full but the majority of the crop taken to give to the leaders rather than distributed fairly among all. I think this was the main motive for the bowl of grains I brought. It was a mandala of Quinoa and Rice - the grains of the Americas and of the Orient. In lands like Central and South America, they were wealthy and prosperous yet the people lie sick and in pain through the lack of bounty. It is from the Aztec and Inca that we have Quinoa, known as a Mother Grain, so I took it as symbolic of there. Rice is the staple food of the majority of Asia. It's practically what the impoverished have to rely on even if there is nothing left - but rising food prices means it's becoming scarce. So that was my symbol.
It's interesting however that we were able to bring so much to the ritual in terms of fruit and jams and grains and baked goods, that as it was time to leave much of the harvest had been left. The welsh cakes were hardly touched. The fruit were still in abundance. No matter, I took some and those that cleared up took the rest where I'm sure they were well enjoyed afterwards. Speaking of which, I'll need to give Karen her Tupperware back if she comes to the moot - something I hope she will do. Karen had previous experience of a local coven, but one that turned quite negative, so some of the group (especially Pinky, the wonderful woman) to make her feel welcome and safe from the negative attacks. I noticed little things that Pinky said to her that made me smile quietly.
The Basket of Abundance was one of the main items of the ritual. It was a point during the ritual where a basket was passed around the circle filled with homemade (or bought) items that the group had brought along. Other attendees then picked something they fancied, sharing crafts and gifts. Compared to some of the items given, my God's Eye (or Brigid's Cross?) seemed quite pathetic in comparison. This only reinforced the realisation that I need to learn a lot of craft skills and put them to good practice. What I took out were rather pleasing. One was a Calendula Flower Essence homemade by Louisa. She described it's properties thusly:
It's meant to give you that inner happiness you get with contentment and the like, so this is something I'll cherish and use much of. If only I could get a dropper for it. I also to out a green tea home fragrance oil, bought from The Body Shop by Mel, that revealed a wonderful flowery fragrance that I love so much of green tea. Quite useful.
A hug from a good friend when you feel alone in the middle of a crowd.
Pinky also gave me one of her Hag Stones, one of an unusual type. Along with the usual hole through the middle, it had another connecting to the main tunnel from what became the top. I don't fully know if this has any significance, however. The folklore behind the hag stone if that as an item you hold to your eye, it helps protect against diseases of the eye and generally protect the home of sickness. If one were to look through the middle, the Shining Ones and Earth Beings may be seen. I've hung this one on the holder of the chain on the front door and give it a hold or touch before leaving.
One of the final parts of the ritual before the closing was a guided visualisation by Susan which involved a meeting with the Corn Goddess. This meeting, with me, involved a talk by her explaining that I cannot consider things happening without first planting the seeds and making manifest what I wish to. Every outcome requires effort and sacrifices, and most importantly, time and patience. She then gave a gift of three braided stalks of wheat. I wasn't too sure of the meaning, however.
After the visualisation, we were invited to pick a disk of holly or blackthorn (kindly provided by Pinky's husband) and drawn o it something meaningful of the journey, or something to keep as an amulet. I took blackthorn drawing on one side the gift (badly) on a background of a setting sun and on the other side a bindrune of Kenaz, Uruz and Thurisaz to represent Will, Effort and Work to Manifest. That is, what I need help to increase in myself to manifest what I require rather than procrastinating. Afterwards, I excused myself, and went downstairs to buy some drawstring bags from the Star of Venus downstairs. I then invited them to put the disk in the bag and then fill it with a choice of the grains that had been brought. Or fill the bag with grain and keep the disk. Or... whatever they felt was best! I did the former, but I've since taken out the disk and placed it at my altar and hung the bag at my bedroom door.
Talking of Star of Venus, is seems the shop is now closing. They can't afford the rent for the shop at all. They've barely been open a year and now it shall be no more at the end of August. However, Bev and Dave may be able to open the shop in the downstairs of their house as they may not have the foster children from much longer and all their children are going to university. Though how they'll be able to afford the rent with the shop, I'll never know. They're contracted for a few more years, so they still need to pay it somehow.
I don't think I'll write much more - dawn's just broken and I think the cat's waiting for me to sleep.