Saturday, October 22, 2016

September Totems: Vine

In our tradition we divide the year not only by eight solar and agricultural holidays, but also by the Kalends. We celebrate twelve months of the year by the common calendar, plus a special thirteenth month for Samhain.  These month cycles are associated with different totemic spirits. Each month is assigned an animal, a bird (or other flying creature), and a tree. September's totems are Swine, Vine, and Hawk.

The totemic associations are as follows:

Swine (Torc/Muc) – hunt, search, nourishment, putting up a fight
Vine (Muin) – prophesy, prediction and omens
Hawk (Seabhac) - visions, guardianship, messenger

September's tree is the humble grapevine. While not actually a "tree," this sacred wood stands firmly amongst the grove of totemic trees. The fermented juice of the grape is wine, which appears in almost every Indo-European mythos at some point. From the sacred drink of the God Dionysos to the many aspects of wine in the life of Jesus, wine has played a part in most religious systems.

The vine is a symbol of prophecy and is the sacred wood of the harvest festivals, which celebrates the cutting and offering of fruits. The vine is also symbolic of the shedding of inhibitions, just as wine releases us from our everyday constraints.  The adage "In Vino Veritas", In wine truth, applies here and the vine often uncovers repressed truths and hidden information.

The vine stands for the release of prophecy, predictions and omens. Grapevines are used to make baskets, wreaths and magical tools. Wine is used in the Red Meal, or housle, and in the flying potion of our tradition.

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