A pleasant ‘Ashuru Mothbati, the Festival of Dwellings, to you, and a new year filled with possibilities, new beginnings, joy, and curiosity. Our new year began yesterday, August 30, 2019, the new moon prior to the autumnal equinox.
On behalf of our Natib Qadish community, I marked the passage of the holy day.
In preparation for the New Year, I took it upon myself to fast for several days in Their honor and for the sake of the Natib Qadish community, and I came through the fast successfully. I spent time in prayer, meditation, and divination, and other practices. Just days before the New Year I found a spring on the land I am currently living on. It’s a good sign.
In honor of our New Year, I took the deities on an overland processional. I bundled them up from their shrine, placed them carefully in a container suitable for travel, strapped them into the front seat, and drove them all around main roads and back roads for about a hundred miles round-trip. It was a joy to have (mostly) little traffic at that time, to have the windows rolled down, and to have music playing for Them. We stopped for nothing: this was not an errand-run for myself, but a straight-up tour of the countryside processional for Them. The day was pristine, and although the holy day was fairly quiet, it bodes well for the New Year. Many great things happen in apparent quiet: a seed’s first growth cannot be seen because it transpires underground before a sprout can emerge in what only looks as apparent suddenness, clad in youthful green above the rich, dark earth. Sometimes what looks like absence or silence is simply a part of a growth cycle, a cycle of renewal and change, a time of re-calibration and strengthening.
The deities are now ensconced in a special outdoor temporary setting as befits this holiday, and I make incense offerings and offerings of light for Them through this time that they are held in suspension as the year shifts.
I hope you have a chance to celebrate our New Year as well, with praises to our Gracious Gods, with offerings, and with feasting. Ba’al Hadad, The Cloudrider, returns again as the season in old Ugarit shifts from the heat-death of Motu to the storms which pass over Mount Tzapunu. With the skill of Kothar-wa-Khasis, and the steadfast, caring support of ‘Anatu, Shapshu, and ‘Athtartu, Hadad is victorious once again! There over the horizon, our Sun Lady carries the Thunderer across her broad, strong shoulders and breath returns to his lungs. May Ilu stamp his holy feet on his lofty footstool and cast off the sackcloth of mourning. May it rain olive oil, and may the land flow with honey. May your New Year be blessed filled with sweetness and riches, and the rich, sweet life of devotion to the Holy Deities, in this the 92nd year of the rediscover of Ugarit.