This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal.
Each issue of the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal is published by
High Plains Arts and Sciences; P.O. Box 620604, Littleton Co.,
80123, a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, under a Public Domain
Copyright, which entitles any person or group of persons to
reproduce, in any form whatsoever, any material contained therein
without restriction, so long as articles are not condensed or
abbreviated in any fashion, and credit is given the original
The Way it Looks from Here
Hello again. Lots of changes the last couple of months,
both for me and for relatives, friends, acquaintances... This
time I think I'd like to talk about "harvest season" for a bit.
There are times in the various rites and ceremonies that
have to do with the `gathering in' time of the year, when we feel
that we need to offer up the "fruits of the harvest" to the Gods.
We carefully select the best examples of what we have grown and
nurtured since planting-time, polish our apples and scrape the
mud off the squash and pumpkins, shuck a few ears of corn
perhaps, and bring it all to the altar to offer in solemn ritual
to the Lord and Lady, hoping to justify the time and labor we've
It is certainly not my purpose here to be skeptical of that
pursuit, rather to expand our horizons a bit. For a great many
years I followed this "custom", and I must say I never thought
much about it all.
Two years ago, my father was diagnosed as having cancer.
The doctors toiled mightily over him for the past two years, but
to no avail. My father passed into Summerland on October 14th, a
week short of his 81st birthday, just a few months shy of 50
years of marriage.
I couldn't say that Dad was a Pagan in most senses of the
word. He did, however, have some interesting views on my
religious practices. This last spring, I was trying to explain
to Dad why we have harvest celebrations; something he said jarred
me out of a rut, as it were, and got me thinking on a parallel,
if different track.
If, he said, you believe that the Goddess and God are
responsible for everything being here, why do you make a big deal
out of the harvest offering? The Gods already "own" everything
you're trying to give them... Dad pointed out to me that, given
a modicum of rain and sun, most plants will grow and flower and
fruit entirely on their own, untouched by human hands. Well,
that set me to thinking. I've been mulling this over for a few
months, and I'm still a bit confused. However, let me have a go
at explaining what my thoughts are at this point on the
When I select fruits and vegetables from the garden to offer
up to the Gods, the offering I make is not just the produce I lay
on the altar. As Dad said, things will grow without, and
sometimes in spite of what we do. What I'm doing is offering the
fruits of my labor, not the produce itself. I've taken what the
Gods gave me, and hopefully increased the yield by watering,
fertilizing, hoeing, weeding.... Am I not saying, "I thank you
for the raw materials, see what I've accomplished with your
Is life not a gift of the Gods? Every time I step up to the
altar in circle, should I not offer up the best of myself in
A little child will pick up a stick or a rock off the
street, and give it to you because he loves you. It's all he has
to give. We have so much more. The Gods gave us life; they gave
us the tools to mold it. By intellect, willpower, emotion, we
become who and what we are. If we use those tools, what we offer
to the Gods is surely a more acceptable thing to give.
My Dad didn't have the easiest or the best of life. Yet,
though he had to work six days out of seven most of his life to
make a home for Mom and me, he did it with a right good will. He
learned everything he could; he did what he had to and a good
deal extra; he loved life, nature and his family. He left a leg-
acy in the hearts and minds of those who knew him that will not
soon be forgotten. I can only hope that when it's time for my
final "harvesting", I can make as acceptable an offering as he.
And that's the way it looks from here.
___Gary Dumbauld, editor.
..........from RMPJ 12/86
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