A Reaping Blessing for the Earth

This past weekend, I had the privilege of presenting a workshop at Dayton Pagan Pride Day, which was one of the best PPD events I’ve ever attended. This year’s theme was Walking Our Earthen Path, and main ritual was hosted by Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary. This was the first time I’ve met Selena in person, although I’ve been following her online for years, and she is an absolutely delightful human being.

Selena invited the presenters to participate in main ritual, and asked each of us to contribute an invocation or chant focusing on the theme of celebrating the earth. Since it’s nearly Mabon, the fall equinox, I wrote an invocation looking at the blessings of the earth during the reaping season. During ritual, I delivered a shorter, abridged version of this, because there were time constraints, but I wanted to share it with you in its entirety here, because it’s a solid way to mark the move into the harvest season as the land around us begins to die. It started off sort of loosely inspired by a prayer included in the Carmina Gadelica, but then took on a life of its own as I was writing it.

You’re welcome to use this in your personal rituals as you wish, and tweak if you need to – all I ask is that if you choose to share it on your own pages, that you include a link back to this page, as well as credit to me.

Image by Greyerbaby from CC0 via Canva
Reaping Blessing for the Earth

As the rise of the sun bursts bold and bright over the fields
And the corn and crops sway high in the morning light
I will go forth with my sickle and basket beneath my arm
And I will reap that which I have sown

As the sun moves higher in the morning sky
Burning and blazing across my back
I will move along the rows, cutting and threshing,
Grateful for the bounty of my fields

As the noonday sun glitters high and hot overhead
I will set my sickle down,
Counting my blessings as I fill my basket
And wiping the sweat from my brow

As the shadows begin to grow, gray and long,
The sun traveling nomadic from east to west,
The cool winds of the north move across my fields,
Towards the torrid heat of a far-off south

And I will give thanks to my gods
And to the Mother herself, for her blessings and her bounty,
Her beauty and abundance, and the graces and gifts she bestows upon me

And as my crops growing in the ground
Begin to darken and die in the deepening dusk,
I know that I have much gratitude to give

For each ridge and plain and field
For each sickle and scythe
For each ear in the basket
For each stalk in the sheaf

And I will rejoice in the earth’s blessings on each maiden and youth,
And I will rejoice in the earth’s blessings on each healer and warrior
And I will rejoice in the earth’s blessings on each crone and sage
And I will rejoice in the earth’s blessings on the living and the dead
As I bring my harvest home.

Persephone & Demeter

Where I live, fall has rolled in already – a bit unusually early, in fact. Normally here in Middle Earth, we’re still pretty sunny and warm until late September, but the hurricane in Texas brought us rain and cool temps last weekend, and it’s rather looking like autumn is here to stay.

One of my favorite myths is that of Persephone and her mother, Demeter, because their story explains the changing of the seasonal cycles.

Ohhh, gurrl, don’t eat those seeds! Image by Einlaudung_zum_Essen from CC0 via Canva

Demeter was a goddess of grain and of the harvest in ancient Greece. Her daughter, Persephone, caught the eye of Hades, god of the underworld. When Hades abducted Persephone and took her back to the underworld, Demeter’s grief caused the crops on earth to die and go dormant. By the time she finally recovered her daughter, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld.

These six months are the time when the earth dies, beginning at the time of the autumn equinox. Each year, Demeter mourns the loss of her daughter for six months. At Ostara, the greening of the earth begins once more and life begins anew.

In some interpretations of the story, Persephone is not held in the underworld against her will. Instead, she chooses to stay there for six months each year so that she can bring a little bit of brightness and light to the souls doomed to spend eternity with Hades.