Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you all had a grand holiday and that you all ate too much, or too little, or just right. Whatever rocks your boat. We fed eight people and still had leftovers. Our boat was rocked.
We borrowed a long table from the Methodist Church across the street. I moved things out of my room, and that's where we set it up. At first it looked very institutional, but I borrowed a long blue tablecloth from a friend. Then I put our blue place mats around the table and set different plates on each place mat. Some were Fiesta ware. (Yes, this is feasting geekdom, friends, so I'm spillin' the details. Remember, I am Martha Stewitch.)
My mother gave me the Fiestaware years ago, so it was my way of bringing her to our meal. By the way, Mom sought out Fiestaware back when no one used it—back when it still had lead in it! I also used some Talavera plates Mario and I had gotten in Mexico, along with some plain Pier One plates. A small burnished gold cauldron was the centerpiece. I filled it with evergreen twigs I found outside. Next to it I set a small crystal skull. (A mini-Crane.) On the other side of the cauldron, I put a beeswax turkey candle that my beekeeper friend gave us.
We prepared an organic heritage turkey using East Indian spices. (We used this rub here for our template and then changed it a bit.) We also roasted sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, and mushrooms. For our stuffing, which was vegan, we used gluten-free rice bread and added celery, onions, some olive oil and salt and pepper, and then roasted it all up. We also made our standard quinoa with lime juice, scallions, and cilantro. Our friends brought salad, cider, and desserts galore!
Our turkey got done before everyone arrived, so that was a bit problematic. But we just cut it up anyway and then rushed our friends to the table when they arrived. We had a buffet set up in the kitchen. Everyone grabbed a plate and made it through the line. Mario and I sat at opposite ends of this long table. Before we started eating, I welcomed everyone and said how sacred it was to eat with people. We were sharing food and becoming a part of one another. Then we honored the directions and elements.
Beforehand, I did a meditation/journey to the Old Mermaids and asked for a gift for everyone at the table. They gave me eight gifts, plus an extra one since it was Mario's birthday. I wrote the gift on a small piece of paper and curled each one into a seashell. I blessed all the seashells and gifts and did some Reiki on them. Then I placed them randomly around the table so that I didn't know who was getting what gift. Just before we ate, everyone found out what their Old Mermaid "medicine" was. Mine was Crow Medicine.
We ate. I don't remember what we talked about. I was up and down from the table. That's one thing about hosting a gathering like this: I'm so busy I rarely have time to concentrate on the glory of the gathering!
After dinner and desert, we remained at the table and did an exercise using tarot cards. I brought out most of my tarot decks. Everyone oohed and aahed over them and then each person chose which deck s/he wanted to use. I gave them all yellow pads to write on, and then we each started a story: A woman learned how to be happy and healthy. Or a man found his one true love. Things like that. (This wasn't my idea; this was one of my friend's inventions.)
Then we each picked three cards from our decks. We looked at the pictures and wrote a story (beginning, middle, and end) based on our interpretations of what we saw in relationship to that first sentence. Surprisingly, given I'm a novelist, I was finished before anyone else. While they completed their sacred tales, I took the faery and ancestor offering plate outside to the Old Oak, said a prayer, and left the offerings.
Three of the people had to leave fairly early. The rest of us sat around talking about all sorts of things. Like what kind of lives we want to live. Later still, Mario and I and our overnight houseguest did dishes and kept talking.
When I went to bed, I curled up to Mario and said, "I'm just going to decide to be happy." He chuckled. "Just like that?" "Yep." So I lay in bed unable to sleep for a long time. When I started to get grumpy about this, I thought, "But I'm happy." It wasn't denial. I still couldn't sleep. But I was happy. What did it matter if I couldn't sleep? Eventually I would fall to sleep. Life would go on. Wouldn't that be great if it worked? If we could all just decide to be happy?
I dreamed and dreamed. And dreamed some more. In the first dream I remember, I was on my way home. I was supposed to turn right to go home, but I turned left. And I drove away, into the forest. It felt so freeing. In another dream, a man was walking around on the stubs of his legs; he had no feet. I didn't like looking at him. He said to me that you just have to deal with things. "You might think I was hurt in the war, but I wasn't." He had been a soldier. "Or you might think I got this doing something noble. But I didn't. I was crossing the street and I got hit by a car. You just have to deal."
I got a good deal Thursday night. I spent the day feasting with good friends. The next day one of my guests wrote and thanked me. He said he enjoyed spending the day with his spiritual family. I liked that. Maybe we do have all kinds of families we can love and gather with. I love my biological family. I love my spiritual family. I love my community family. I love my tree family. I could go on...But I will spare you that.
Blessings, my ether family, and my family of sister and brother mermaids.
May You Feast In Beauty!
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