This year, my observance of this High Day was a solitary one. Since I wasn’t able to join Sierra Madrone for their ritual at Sacramento’s Pagan Pride day, I thought hard about what I wanted to do for the holiday. I’d been fortunate to see signs of the harvest while I was on my vacation, but I didn’t really see much of the actual crops that were harvested except for the round bales of hay covered in black or blue wrap.
One of my strongest memories of childhood was heading off to the apple farm to get fresh cider and apples for homemade apple pie. This memory gave me the idea that I finally went with – I dedicated full meal to Freyr and Freyja as the Deities of the Occasion. The meal consisted of pork loin marinated in apple juice with garlic and spices, a grilled apple cream sauce, scratch made polenta (grits for the southerners out there), corn on the cob and garlic bread.
Before I grilled the loin, I put a small wreath that I had made of cornsilk on the grill as an offering. While I was cooking, I thought about all the harvest signs I have seen throughout my life, and spoke some simple prayers of thanks. The entire time I was cooking was the ritual; I’ll admit that I wasn’t saying anything expansive for my prayers, they were all very impromptu. But even with that, I knew that I was being heard – I had a couple very nice flame-ups that caused some wonderful char on the meat. As each flame-up occurred, I pictured that flame sending up a portion to Freyr and Freyja.
My husband even participated in my ritual — in the eating part anyway. This was the first time I’d done a ‘ritual meal’ and the results were interesting. I’d forgotten to ask for an omen, but as everything came out perfect, I took that as an omen in itself – my grilling skills have not always been good. I knew that They had enjoyed the meal, which left me with a sense of accomplishment.