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The Giveaway

I go to Forest. Spirit depleted, body tired, I stop and rest on a stump that sits at the base of Hemlock. A sitting spot that my love made for me. Leaning my back against Tree Kin, I feel her support. Meeting my gaze, Light peers back, feeding my weary soul. Sitting a bit longer, I absorb the beauty that surrounds me. I return home, fuller than before.

For me this is the hardest time of year. Even though I know Spring is close, I feel tired and worn out. Hungry for fresh food, tired of cold and snow, I crave the warmth of Sun and the beauty of green growing things.

In the old days, this time of year was especially challenging. People froze and starvation was common. The last Winter Moon was a time when empty bellies challenged faith. People prayed for the return of warmth.

In the cold White Forest of Deep Winter, the howl of Pahkack, an emaciated cannibal spirit could be heard. With limbs cracking and screeching through the Wood, Pahkack threatened to take away humanity from those most desperate.

Pahkack is a mythological figure, a trickster spirit who shows us the truth about who we are as humans, including our more disturbing qualities. Even though modern comforts have mostly eliminated the threat of freezing and starvation, the metaphor of the story is still very much real. I certainly feel it. Do you?

The antidote is always next to the wound. Paradoxically, Pahkack is also a healer. He is known as the originator of the Giveaway Dance. A ceremony that reinforces the principle of sharing and generosity. In this ceremony, a blanket is placed on our Earth Mother. Everyone lays something on the blanket to give away. Something which feeds the people.

Food comes in physical form. Food can also be a song, some good words, a smile, or a story like this one. Anything that nourishes the body, soul, mind, and spirit is food. Everything we put into the circle of life comes back to us. We need ceremonies, like the Giveaway to be remembered. What will you put on the blanket today?

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