Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times for August 2022
Lughnassadh is upon us, the first harvest of the Wheel of the Year, and I don’t know if I have ever felt less like writing about harvest before!
Something is weighing on my mind heavily I feel needs written about and writing about harvest being all about how we reap what we sow, and to keep working hard at our goals will take a different tone this time.
This is the hottest Summer I can ever remember having in Central Ohio and I know why it’s happening.
Yes, the earth heats and cools regardless of humanity, but the very carbon footprint we collectively make on a daily basis is driving the heat higher and higher by the day. The rapidly warming temperatures are unnatural and are going up and up faster than we can count. Wildfires and heat waves are more common, and the heat makes ice and snow that is supposed to stay frozen melt. It’s already exposed bacteria strains that had previously been frozen for thousands of years and there is no telling how that will affect the earth and her creatures.
Droughts, expansion of deserts, more extreme storms, and species extinction due to habitat loss is accelerating. Human beings may be the last species in crisis from this, but it will hit us all the same. I take that back- WEALTHY humans who can afford more air conditioning and to relocate when climate screws their home up will be the last hit. At some point severe water shortage will drive us to crisis and sea levels are rising, eating into our habitable landmass. Oxygen levels are decreasing as well.
I can’t imagine that human beings are going to abandon all use of fossil fuels and electricity altogether- unless we are forced to. Electric outages for a few days a couple of weeks ago took a major toll on people in my town, including my Priest, who has breathing issues and he said the power outages made them think they would die. Electricity has created increased life expectancies for many, and brought us closer together in the form of the Internet as well as making trades and shipping easier, so we can get food and medicine to more people. The goal is not to take us back to before the Industrial Revolution, but to find ways to decrease pollution.
A suggestion has been to cut back use of electric and fossil fuels drastically- but few will heed that word, so I have serious suggestions to the few who will listen. Let this be your magical operation for Lughnassadh if you will.
Stay Home For Work
Work from home as much as possible. If you have the skills to do a work from home job, you will not commute to and from work five days a week, and it will cut down on fossil fuel use. Maybe your job won’t let you, but you can get a job that will. If you cannot work from home, either move closer to your job if you are far away or get a job closer to home. Gone are the days of taking ONE job for a company and staying there until retirement. With that, hard earned pensions are gone too, but that’s another story…
Stay Closer to Home
Another thing you can do is press your local governments to make more walkable communities. A couple hundred years ago, people were able to walk to get necessities and 100 years ago, trollies ran all day long, granting communal transportation.
We cannot sustain the level of fossil fuel use we are, and enough activists have begged people for over a decade to cut the use of them as much as possible. People are used to the freedom to come and go at will, and few will make small sacrifices which would basically disrupt the lifestyles they have grown to love.
I know the difference because illness forced me to stay closer to home. Eight years ago, I came down with a serious case of mono, which drove my chronic fatigue into overdrive and triggered major panic attacks combined with breathing issues and severe motion sickness. I had to give up driving entirely, and was so sick, I could hardly bear to leave the house.
Eight years later, I’m feeling almost human again and lucked into a work from home job earning more than I can working outside the home. Twice a month I go eleven miles to do tarot readings at a local shop. I’m not up to travel again but aspire to be. I learned how much of a difference having no commute to work makes. I don’t have the stress of travel, the expense of travel to and from work, and I am MUCH more productive working on my own without a bunch of people crawling all over me all day with office gossip or asking me for shit they don’t need!
Shop By Where You Live
What I learned to do was shop nearby where I live. I don’t drive 20 miles to Oakland Nursery for plants anymore, but go to Lowe’s which was at the time four miles away, and is now less than one mile from me. Whereas I used to go 90 miles once a month to hit antiques malls, I started shopping at two that were less than two miles from home. Instead of running in and out of groceries daily, we hit two different groceries one day per week- but are two blocks from one we can get anything we need from. Less car trips means less gas, and trips closer to home means less gas as well.
I also learned a lot from neighbors. A lot of my neighbors where we live now are from India, and it is a big part of their culture to go for walks. They walk to nearby stores and restaurants and walk or ride places together. How many people born in America who drive cars do that? One thing my mother always taught me to do- because we had a limited income- was to bunch errands, doing them all at once, and to plan the trip wisely.
Mom would make a perfect circle from the front door to the places we went and back, and she would even plan all the turns. She said it was easier to take the route that allowed all right turns into places of business we had to visit. It saved time and gas and it taught me to be thrifty and fast. If you can do your errands this way, please do so.
Plant More Trees
Another way to combat global warming is to help plant more trees. I know that sounds cliché, but it works. Trees are literally the oxygen producers of our planet, and if you can’t plant trees yourself, you can contribute to causes that see to it that trees are planted. I will include links to several organizations that you can give funds to in order to plant more trees.
- Arbor Day Foundation- This organization started about 50 years ago and has been responsible for planting over 500 million trees in 50 countries around the planet. You can reach them here: Celebrating 50 Years of Tree Planting – Arbor Day Foundation
- American Forests- Founded in 1975, this group backed founding of the U.S. Forest Service and keeps pressure on the government to reforest across America and keep the existing forests healthy. They don’t just seek to keep wild spaces filled with trees but seek tree lined spaces in towns and cities as well. You can reach them here: Who We Are – American Forests
- Your Local Metroparks organizations. Some towns like ours have earned a “Tree City” honorary title, but some need more help. Contact your local park service and ask them what you can do to plant more trees and keep the existing trees healthy.
Turn Down the Thermostat
It is recommended you set your heat in wintertime at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. As a teenager, I wanted to run around in tank tops and shorts all winter long, but my mom wasn’t having it. Sweaters or sweats, house shoes and double socks with stretchy pants were the uniform for wintertime when I was growing up because mom knew it used a lot of electric to run the heat, and we had to watch our money.
I’m glad she was this way because as an adult, I have found out that running heat burns a lot of fossil fuels, and it’s not necessary since we can dress for the weather. The EPA is even more generous and says to set the heat at 70 Fahrenheit or below, and 62 when you are not home. It’s reported that you burn more calories if the temperature is lower and your plants do better not sweltering in 75-80 degree heat from the thermostat. Win Win!
We only have one earth, and as children of the earth mother, she needs our help. Please help plant trees, cut back on fossil fuel use, and energy consumption in general. I don’t know how much longer the planet can sustain healthy life if we don’t do something. Of all ways to celebrate the Old Ways on a Sabbat, doing something to benefit the planet is the greatest thing you can do.
About the Author:
Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.
A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.
Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!
Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.
All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.
She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.
Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!
On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.
She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.
Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].