1. Muin

Harvest, completion, initiation

Tree: Grapevine (Vitis spp.)

Letter: M

Image by Sarah Remington for Stocksy United

Harvest time has deep significance and meaning for those willing to pay attention. It is both a time of celebration and fortifying oneself for the long journey ahead. Harvest in the old days was a genuinely special time, because unlike nowadays, winter forced most humans into a period of rest. With the advent of the cheap petroleum age, wintertime has become a time of bustling activity as many of us drive and shop in a frenzy to prepare for holidays, but if you think back to times when there were no lights outside of lanterns and candles when the sun set at 4pm, you can rightfully imagine it wasn’t the busiest time of year! Harvests celebrate the bounty of the summer but also the coming death of a year, which is but a larger celebration of the death of a season, which is a larger celebration of the death of the week (the weekend), which is a larger celebration of the death of a day by having a meal and then going to bed. Death is called The Reaper — when we look at this meaningfully, The Reaper is not such a bad guy. He’s taking care of business for us so we can rest and wake up ready and refreshed for the next life. Of course drawing this Ogham does not mean you or someone else is going to die. Instead, look for the culmination of a phase, project, or a way of being. You have reason to recognize and celebrate a job well done, a graduation, an obstacle overcome, or a subtle shift. The end of a cycle, even if it wasn’t the best one, is worthy of recognition and celebration before we rest and prepare for the next cycle. Decadence is not to be feared — a little decadence after hard work is natural and should be enjoyed.

Questions when you draw Muin:
-What projects, relationships, or situations are you involved in now that are coming to an end? Will you celebrate? How?
-Are you able to kick back and celebrate without going completely overboard?
-Imagine an ancient peasant version of yourself. How is their life worse than yours? In what ways is it better?

Muin ill-dignified dearth: Prohibition
Miserliness, parsimony, being cheap, Puritanism, over-healthing oneself into illness. Self-discipline is easy to let go too far in certain personality types. Restricting everything you eat, say, or think is a surefire way to create an overreaction in yourself that goes towards the exact opposite goal you wish to achieve. For instance, dieting does not work because it makes the forbidden fruit (or chocolate bar, as it were) far more appealing than it was before you went on the diet. Let’s say you like sex with multiple partners but society tells you it is wrong — an imbalance born of repression would be cheating on your committed partner instead of just declaring yourself polyamorous and being open and upfront with anyone you get involved with about your preference. Thriftiness is one thing, being a parsimonious Scrooge who obsesses on clinging to every last penny is another. Don’t try to buy anyone’s affection, but learn to spend a few bucks when it is appropriate.

Muin ill-dignified: Debauch
Overindulgence, addiction, bad habits, bingeing, desensitization, peer pressure. Waking up to the morning after the night before is understandable once in a while, but making it into a regular thing is a recipe for depression and addiction. If you are overindulging in something: food, movies, exercise, shopping, etc., have you thought about the emotional roots of why you feel compelled to escape? What are you running away from when you overdo it?

Ah, good old peer pressure…. Our culture loves to insist that certain experiences — for instance getting drunk or high, going to college, foreign travel, getting married, having a television, driving a car, having children — are “must haves” and one size fits all. Facts are you don’t need to have experienced everything on someone else’s bulleted bucket list in order to have truly lived. It is okay to have preferences and never engage in some activities that don’t appeal to you. The bottom line: don’t do anything that’s ostensibly for fun that you’re not comfortable with and if other people don’t like it, kindly tell them to go scratch.

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” -Oscar Wilde

“Take it easy.” -My dad

“If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.” -Steve Mariboli