September: The Vine
Vine: The Celtic Tree for September 2 - 29.
The Celtic Tree Zodiac is an ancient wisdom tradition based upon the essential nature or qualities of different trees, as they are related to months of the year. The druidic priests based their understanding of trees upon on observation, and an intimacy with the natural world that is almost unimaginable today. By understanding that everything is alive, and has the right to exist as much as we do, the Celts were able to study how each tree has a particular energy that can ultimately be a profound alliance.
Think about trees for a moment. They are rooted in the earth and reaching toward the stars, connecting the light and density of matter. Their natural response to sunlight and changes of season are model for ease in transformation. Trees are slow, and long lived, and have their own viewpoints, a kind of medicine that can teach us something important about how we might live in the world. Imagine you are sitting in an oak grove and then move to a pine forest.
You'll find Oak has an energy unique to its own, just as Pine has its unique energy. Connecting personality qualities to times of the year is common in many cultures. Astrological traditions have been widely used for insight into particular challenges and gifts. What the druids did was to connect plants to these cycles. Instead of using gods and goddesses as the center of stories, the Celtic zodiac used the mythology and stories of trees to help provide a new perspective.
September, called Muin by the Celts, is the time of the vine. The vine itself is like a green fuse, rising up from the Mother with intensity. Fast growing, prolific, intimately connected to whatever it touches; each type of vine has a certain energetic perspective. Poison ivy, for example, is not the same as a grape vine. Yet they both have in common a certain virility and fertility.
The vine was extremely important in ancient lore because of the grape. Wine has been made for thousands of years and it was considered a highly sacred substance to be used in a ritual context, as it still is today, in the Catholic mass. In ancient times, wine was tied to theater, a transformational rite ruled by the god, Dionysus, who, like Christ, was twice born. Dionysus represents deep, chthonic (subterranean) transformation.
The Maenads, the women who worshipped him, would tear people apart. This dismembering represents spirit coming into the density of matter, the shedding of old patterns that reside in our bones, cells and mind that hold us back from being who are in our divine beauty and power.
September is the time of the autumn equinox, when light and darkness are in perfect balance. The vine represents the bounty of the harvest, which is also moving toward the completion of a yearly cycle. What we harvest was started in the dreamtime, the dark days of winter when the roots were easing through the cold dense earth. We experience first the green shoots of spring efforts, and then the explosive growth of summer.
The contemplation then becomes, what has been the fruit of your life over the past year? What have all your efforts yielded for you to taste and digest? It is a good time to find balance, just as the light is balancing on the equinox. The fruit from the vine may be bitter or sweet, or both. Do you have the courage to consider all of it, all as blessings? As the days grow shorter, we hope you can celebrate what you have gleaned over the past year. Savor the harvest of your life with gratitude and wonder at the mystery and miracle of the very breath that flows through you now.