For those of us in the Pagan community, the journey through the harvest season begins on August 1st with the celebration of Lammas (Lughnasaad), and continues until the Autumn Equinox (Mabon) when the days become shorter than the nights and we are entering the long winter. For us, we have been honoring those elements in Nature that have given themselves in sacrifice that we may be nourished and fed, warm and safe, until at last the Sun takes its rightful place once again in the sky. This journey into the dark time of the year is a time for reflection upon the coming year and the seeds we wish to plant in the spring.
In modern-day America, the holiday assigned to gratitude is Thanksgiving, a holiday based on tradition. Our forebears came into a strange and untamed land, some not surviving. Those who did make it reached out to the Native Americans for help. After all, who knew better than them how to survive in this land, so rich in its bounty and yet so wild that only those who lived in harmony with it held the key to mastering it? By forming an alliance, they were able to harness the knowledge they brought with them with the wisdom of the natives and they thrived, gathering to celebrate in thankfulness for all their blessings. The pious and the heathens all broke bread together and offered their gratitude to the heavens.
What would the world look like if, for one day, we could all remember the true spirit of those who attended the first Thanksgiving? Would we be more grateful? Would we be more understanding? Would we look past the difference in our skin, our faith, our sexes or ages, and just be as one, thankful under a cloud filled sky? I think the challenge for all of us is to carry that Thanksgiving Day feeling around 365 days a year. Maybe then we would be on the direct path to enlightenment.
Tomorrow, may you be grateful for the life you have been given so you may spread love, compassion, and kindness to others.