Heat and Rain and Fear

Despite my complaints about the heat this month, this entire summer — since May, actually, which is spring here — there’s been an odd pattern of several days of heat (by local standards; I’ve had Christmasses in Florida that were this hot) followed by a few days of cool rain. The other day in particular was pretty oppressive. Hot and humid, hazy, not a breath of wind, with a high thin cloud cover. It was stifling. It’s why I didn’t sleep that night, didn’t sleep until 9am the next day, which continued hot and muggy.

Before I first starting trying to get to sleep, in the gloaming of false dawn, I drummed to the Hyades and prayed for rain. It took eighteen hours, but the rain came. Then the last two days were cool with rain on and off.

Rain is a great blessing.

I am reminded that I seem to have received instructions to pay cultus to the Hyades, the nursemaids of Dionysos. But that’s for next month. It will be good to celebrate the renewal of the rains, after the mental and spiritual dry season of August, even a surprisingly damp August.

But I must remain present in August for now, and not look ahead too much.

Today was the thiasos of the Starry Bull’s Hekatesia, their festival in honor of Hekate. I don’t celebrate most of their festivals — one of the reasons I consider myself to be a fellow-traveler rather than a member, adjacent to rather than part of — and after reading the suggested ritual, I found myself somewhat ambivalent about celebrating this one, despite the way a festival in this month dovetails with my own work. But after reading this account tonight, I decided to do it anyway. I didn’t make it to a crossroads, for various reasons, but my ritual tasks for the day were a cleansing bath and a food offering (it’s unusual that two slips fell out of the jar, usually it’s only one), which seemed suitable to the ritual, so I combined them otherwise.

I boiled three eggs, and took my bath, and then went into the ritual room. I inscribed each egg with a single fear, and made an offering to Hekate of both food and fear, to let her feast upon both. She is, among other things, a goddess of fear, because she so often inspires it , and because fears are so often hidden things. She is a goddess of cleansing and purification, and I hope that she will make me clean again, and that while she will not take my fears from me, she will take away the contamination they spread through my life.

I have been devoured by these fears for months now, along with others that derive from them. These fears combine with my depression to paralyze me, to numb me, not only to many daily joys, but to the presence of the gods and spirits I honor. That is what I pray she will take from me.

It’s up to me, otherwise. Only I can fight these fears. Only I can overcome them. Only I can make them untrue. She can help me when I cannot do it alone, but she cannot do it for me. She can only lend me strength, give me tools and advice.