Harvest is on my mind this week, both literally and metaphorically.
There is a literal harvest happening – the Bear is in charge of the olive harvest on the farm he manages, and for him, this is not just your average yearly harvest, but a victory against the odds as a result of consistent, applied effort. The mid-north coast of NSW is not your ideal olive growing paradise. It rains at all the wrong times here for a Mediterranean fruit, and any kind of harvest is a kind of miracle. But this year, his third season on the farm, he’s cracked it – it’s the biggest harvest ever. He described to me his picking dance: pick, thank you, pick, thank you, pick, thank you. :). That’s what harvest is all about isn’t it? Hard work coming to fruition with gratitude.
Another literal (Mediterranean) harvest at the moment, albeit much smaller, is our home harvest of pomegranates.
We’ve got so many pomegranates that we can’t eat them all – I’ve made pomegranate syrup, and am taking requests from excited friends :). Pomegranates are uncommon here – they cost $4 each imported from the US in the supermarkets. True :).
Having my hands in pomegranate seeds bought to mind the Persephone Myth. This is one version of it: Demeter and Zeus had a beautiful daughter Persephone. Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, loved Persephone more than life itself. The God of the Underworld, Hades, had his eye on the beautiful Persephone and kidnapped her one day, taking her down to his underworld kingdom. Demeter was devastated; in her loss, she neglected her duties as Goddess of the Harvest and the Earth grew cold and barren. Finally she grew angry and demanded that Zeus find Persephone, and Zeus, alarmed at what was happening to the Earth, agreed. He sent Hermes down to the Underworld to find Persephone. Instead of a frail and broken maiden, he found a glowing, confident Goddess, who said she had found her calling in the Underworld, greeting the new arrivals and helping them adjust. She was torn between her desire to see her mother and her need to stay with Hades and do her work. Hades tells her to go and see her mother, and gives her six red pomegranate seeds which stain her mouth red. Demeter is so happy to see her daughter, but knows that something has changed. Persephone is not the naive maiden she once was, but a fully grown woman – a true Goddess. Zeus wasn’t happy either, because his condition for Persephone being able to return from the Underworld (something that nobody is allowed to do) is that she was untouched and pure. When he saw the stain on her lips from the pomegranate, he told her that she must return to the underground for 6 months of every year. So every year, in Autumn, Persephone returns to the underworld to do her work of greeting and helping the new arrivals, and Demeter grieves, bringing winter. In the Spring, Persephone returns, bringing fertility and warmth to the Earth once more. I love this story, because it illustrates the Heroine’s Journey as opposed to the Hero’s Journey – in the Hero’s Journey, the Hero journeys out into the world and brings home a prize, and in the Heroine’s Journey, the Heroine journeys into herself and brings home wisdom. This is the yin and the yang, the masculine and the feminine – and both journeys are important for us all.
This weekend, as soon as I’ve finished this blog post actually, I am leaving for a two day writer’s retreat. Yesterday I finally finished the outline of my book, and I am ready to start the writing process. After 6 months of planning, it seems the Harvest is upon me. The timing seems fortuitous – today is the Aries new moon, the newest of all new moons as Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the autumn equinox and harvest time. I am terrified and excited, all at the same time :).
What are you harvesting at the moment?
Best Short Read
Manning Up and Leaning into an Equal Marriage by Dr Kelly Flanagan for Babble in the #leanintogether Campaign.
I follow Dr Kelly Flanagan’s blog, and find him consistently interesting, kind, honest and generous with his time and wisdom. Here, he is writing for the #leanintogether campaign:
It’s a Sunday afternoon, I’m a suburban dad, and my oldest son has a double-header scheduled in his indoor baseball league. I line up in the bleachers with the other dads, and we all shout tough, competitive, guy things to our boys on the field.
But then I pull out my wife’s scrapbooking materials, and I begin to cut Christmas trees out of green construction paper. The other dads glance at me sideways. I swear a couple of them cough-laugh.
I breathe deeply and I remind myself I’m still a man.
I’m a man married to a tenured professor of psychology. I fell in love with her tenacity and her deep sense of vocation and when we stood on our wedding altar, I knew what I was getting into — an egalitarian marriage. Which means, if we’re two weeks away from Christmas and she’s grading final exams and our kids’ Christmas party craft needs to be prepared, I’m toting the scrapbooking supplies to baseball. I’ll also be the only dad at the Christmas party.
Click here to read the rest of the article.
“No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It’s put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they’re going. Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light….Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well lighted as your best-lighted room.” – Luke 11:33-36
The air is full of after-thunder freshness,
And everything rejoices and revives.
With the whole outburst of its purple clusters
The lilac drinks the air of paradise.
The gutters overflow; the change of weather
Makes all you see appear alive and new.
Meanwhile the shades of sky are growing lighter,
Beyond the blackest cloud the height is blue.
An artist’s hand, with mastery still greater
Wipes dirt and dust off objects in his path.
Reality and life, the past and present,
Emerge transformed out of his colour-bath.
The memory of over half a lifetime
Like swiftly passing thunder dies away.
The century is no more under wardship:
High time to let the future have its say.
It is not revolutions and upheavals
That clear the road to new and better days,
But revelations, lavishness and torments
Of someone’s soul, inspired and ablaze.Boris Pasternak
Yes, you definitely should :). That’s it from me my friends – I hope you enjoyed it. I am going to be offline for most of the weekend, so forgive me if I don’t respond to your comments straight away. You know how much I love a comment or 20, so make sure you leave me a love letter if you are inspired to <3. Have a beautiful weekend, won’t you.