A Harvest Moon of Artemisia, Bones, and Tarot

Harvest moon and red sunflowers after sunset

The harvest moon rose swollen and orange making its way around the mountain as it climbed higher and higher into the purple sky of dusk. It was time to keep my pact with the full moon. Rummaging, I find the dittany, the mugwort, the rue and wormwood for the moon and ground them together with my mortar and pestle. I pluck leaves of fresh rue and clary sage from my garden and place them on the altar. I call the guardians and the directions with my blue deer drum dyed with indigo and belladonna berries. I burn the herbs. I summon Old Man and Old Woman. They’ve been waiting for me.

The blue deer drum with yew beater

By silver and stane may the water be sained.” I take off my robe. I anoint my forehead, my neck, my heart, my belly, my feet with the holy water. In the palm of my hand I mix more water with earth from the forest and make a cross of it on my forehead and smear the rest across my chest. I ask for what I seek.

reading tarot at the bone altar

I’ve been putting it off. I know I won’t like the answers. I shuffle the cards three times three. I deal them out and I look. I write down what they say so I can’t ignore the messages.

mortar, cauldron, candle, cup

I put the cards back in the deck and shuffle again. I ask if there’s anything else I need to know. Three cards fall out in order. I write down their meanings too. Finished, I thank Old Man and Old Woman for their presence and aid. I burn more herbs and resins and pour out a libation of spirits into the goblet made by my crone friend. I take a sip and it burns down my throat and makes me dizzy. The gate is closed. I say my farewells to the guardians.

Relics of sea, earth, and skydrums on the wall by my altar

I hang up my drum. I blow out the candles. I retrieve my silver ring from the holy water. Now to let it all wash away with the water still wet on my skin. Maybe a little late night reading to soothe the soul…

one of the bookshelves over my bed


No Responses to “A Harvest Moon of Artemisia, Bones, and Tarot”

  1. Nikiah says:

    Beautiful post Sarah. I love the shot you took of the flowers and the moon–stunning!!

  2. Crystal says:

    What deck is that? It’s very beautiful.

  3. This is so inspiring Sarah, and I enjoy the little glimpses into the way you practice your craft; it’s so beautiful and natural. It’s getting close to Samhain, and I’m getting myself, my partner and the spare bedroom ready to practice using the wheel of the year as my guide. No more am I going to say I don’t have time for that, because I’ve freed up that time. I’m looking forward to this now more than ever. Thank you and many blessings :D

  4. Glaux says:

    Your library makes me positively green with envy! So many first editions. <3

  5. cinnageek says:

    ~hugs~ Beautiful post, luck with whatever your reading told you.

  6. trothwy says:

    I’m sorry for the answers you weren’t wanting to hear. :( Be soothed!

  7. luceaschild says:

    Your post seems so sad. I’m wishing for the best.

  8. elspeth says:

    beautiful pictures, and a simple but very compelling narration. thank you for sharing with us.