My REAL Family Tradition – the Blogger Idol post I couldn’t write.
I was afraid to write this post, and it sucks that this topic came up in the first week, but it did. So, I panicked, and wrote that cute little Halloween story. But now that I’m out, the true story of our family traditions can be told. It is revelation time, so I’m taking a deep breath and just letting the words come out.
As a Vargas Wiccan, my family has traditions unlike most other families. Our beliefs are unlike other families, and that drives the traditions. But our favorite tradition is the Celebration of Mikelmas.
Mikelmas is a built-in tradition for us, because part of the preparation is done the previous Mikelmas – the planting, tending and pruning of the juniper ring. The juniper ring is symbolic, and not a closed ring – it never is. This is to symbolize that there is always room in the family for others – always room to grow.
So, on the Autumnal Equinox every year, my firstwife, our sisterwives and our brothergrooms gather together with the children to plant a new bush for new members of our household. We allow waking order to determine who digs the spot for the new bush, and who prepares the Feast of Rings, and who crafts the juniper wreaths. These both represent the Juniper Ring, but since they also symbolize the new person and the joining of us all in the clan, they are closed. This year, the feast was prepared by Eden, Finn and Axton, while Zeva, Aizele and I dug in the ring to plant the juniper for our new sisterwife, Lilith.
The feast begins with the summer sausage baked in juniper berries, which give the sausage a sort of apple flavor. It is followed by the main meal of acorn squash, avocado cabbage, arugula romaine salad, barley rice biscuit, tofu squash gruyere soup, and home-brewed ale (or cider for the kids). By tradition, this is served on a hickory table that has been lightly seared underneath with a sage stick, similar to how creme brulee is carmelized. This gives the overall meal such an incredible atmosphere! Eden is very adept at the tofu squash gruyere soup, I must say – and everyone agrees.
Meanwhile, the ring outside gets the new juniper bush this year to welcome the addition of Lilith to our clan. After we have all dug the hole in the soil, Lilith sits in the center of the ring, absorbing the energy and mixing it with hers, as the juniper bush is planted. Only one of us, the inviter, plants the actual bush, and this year that was Aizele. She sang the Mikelhymn as she planted the bush, and then covered the base with the soil, casting the final patch of earth across Lilith’s body to start the new energy flowing.
Zeva and I said our thanks and graces to Mikel and Shareth, and then began preparing the juniper wreaths. These are lovely wreaths made from cuttings taken from the oldest of the juniper bushes in the ring, to symbolize the strength, closeness and longevity of our family. We make one for the newcomer Lilith, and one for each of our three children Zylan, Echo and Nisha. They take part in the decoration of each wreath to symbolize their growth for the coming year.
After going inside to hang the wreaths on each door, we begin the feast. This year Finn sagesmoked the hickory, and we began. We sang another Mikelhymn and danced around the table before settling down.
The meal was incredible, as always. We had a great time, and we are so happy that Lilith joined our family. We are truly bestowed.