Two weeks ago, I threw a Mabon party.
"Welcome to my Mabon feast!" I shrieked at Lili's husband Charles as they arrived, giving him a bear hug. "I have made chilli poppers and sticky chicken wings and nachos and enchiladas!"
"I can tell," he said smiling at me, while gently extricating himself from my sweaty, cheesy embrace.
"It's all in favour of celebrating the Autumn Equinox," I said, ushering them inside. "In the southern Hemisphere this year, the Autumn Equinox is at around 19h30 tonight, and..."
Lili cleared her throat gently.
"Someone's been Wiki'ing Wicca again, haven't they?" she said, pouring herself a margarita.
I can't help it. As an agnostic person, married to a Dawkins-style atheist, I have always craved a little ritual in my life. And as Christianity – the religion I was born into – doesn't appeal to me, I am left with the sense of ceremony of a convent girl without any pomp to support it.
But in these earth-threatened times, there's something very attractive about celebrating Earth herself.
Especially now, just after harvest time - when the air gets a little chill to it, when you start to look wistfully at the fireplace rather than the pool, and when more insular evenings of family board games, sharing and cosiness re-insinuate themselves into your heart, taking their place along the recent Halcyon days of sun and sand and blue.
What do you think about Wicca? Does it make you think: "Yikes! Evil witches!" or grounding earth-based ritual or stoned bare-foot hippies or some manner of something in between? Let me know, I am really interested. And don't hold back.
In the meantime though, while I wait eagerly – as on every Wednesday – for your responses, I'm going to take a little moment to appreciate this Faraway Tree feeling of the season turning. Try it. It feels nice.