Archive for November, 2019


Under the beautiful crisp clear light of the full moon, our extended farm community gathered together for the “saining of the beasts”. In our talking circle, we reflected on the realities of the Samhain season, specifically in relation to the animals of the farm. I gave a bit of history concerning the old Scottish custom of saining (blessing) the herds as they come back from the summer pastures into the closer confines of the homestead. I spoke as well about the AngloSaxon word for this Novembry season: blodmonath. The month of blood. This was the time when the culling of the animals would happen, depending on the size of the herd, the amount of hay stored for winter fodder, and the number of (human) mouths to feed in the community. So this early winter season was paradoxically a time of both saining and slaughter, blessing and butchering.
For us, as for our ancestors, this is still the reality of a small scale, subsistence, off-grid farming life. As members of our community processed from the chickens, to the sheep, to the pigs, to the cows, chanting blessings under the moon, we knew that some of these wonderful “more-than-human” persons would soon be filling our freezers and our stewpots.
Saining and slaughter: that is the reality of embracing blodmonath in a spirit of deep respect. May it be so for your people as well. Blessed be.

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