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Poor Will's Almanack: October 26 - November 2, 2021

Headstone of a angel in a cemetery
Mark Seton
via Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the final week of Middle Fall, the final week of the Frog and Toad Migration Moon, the first full week of the Sun in autumn’s Scorpio

An ancient Christian hymn near Halloween, creates a theme for the season:

O angels, blessed in numbers vast,

Protect and guard us on life’s way

Against all evils of the past,

Those yet to come, those of this day.

I grew up surrounded by icons and rosaries and holy practices. Now at the turning of the season, when all the leaves come down and I lose the security and warmth of summer, I am especially aware of my vulnerability, and of the mystery, both for better and for worse, of my belief in spirits.

In times of personal or social stress, I do not forget the guardian angel to whom I always prayed. I used to imagine him on my right side, balancing the bad angel on my left side.

What effect could he have now? Is he superstition purely? Is he a seasonal ghost of the Thin Time between fall and winter, between my childhood and my old age? Or is he real power, a relentless energy, to be conjured through my fear by my will? What could he possibly do for me? What cultural-religious baggage does he slyly carry for me? Do I dismiss him at my peril?

The hymn for the Christian feast of All Saints Day, November 1, invokes all spirit creatures, angels and souls of those who have gone before us. They come to our assistance, asserting that we are not alone, that there is continuity between the living and the dead, strength in their coexistence. This is a time of chill and danger, the tradition says, time to invoke and hold close the allies.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Late Fall. In the meantime, hold your allies, friends and family close.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.