Samhain- The Veiled Door and That Which Abides

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Here we are hurtling forth, in descent, into darkness, into chaos and into the unknown of the underworld of long nights. There is no turning back, the harvest is gathered…the crops are in and the herds have been culled. Time now to examine our inner resources, to account for the growth of this last cycle and decide what we will sacrifice, let go of and what we will gather within to carry us through until the new growth of Spring reveals it’s possibilities. We cling to notions of who we are and what we do in the world as though they were the truth. In the news much of what we see or hear about is the crumbling decay of many of our institutions, public figures and our environment. We are seemingly on a collision course with the end-times. Given that so much energy is devoted to tending our bodies, staving off the inevitable, feeding our various appetites…paying taxes, organizing, striving, how do we succeed in NOT succumbing to despair and hopelessness?

Samhain or Halloween is the third of the harvest festivals in the Celtic calendar, it is a time when fears are made conscious; when the physical world is muted and the we are invited to glimpse beyond the veil. Contrary to popular belief it is NOT a celebration of death. In this feasting of the ancestors we have our opportunity not only to remember those who have ventured before us, but also a time for us to be reminded of the door between this human incarnation and a much larger experience of life. As with each of the holidays we consciously take ‘time out’ to release our grip on this imagined reality and glimpse something far bigger, this is the sacrifice that is demanded of us in this harvest…

Traditionally Samhain is where we ‘meet and greet’ our beloved ones who have passed away. We honour and remember them with stories and food – a welcome chair at our table. It is not just about celebration and remembrance that we gather though, it is a time to remember our own (im)mortality. The darkness is upon us and we in the northern hemisphere are certainly experiencing decline in light and warmth – a drawing in. Our awareness of our intangible and immortal spirit through the links we have forged and maintained with our ‘Gone Befores’ as we sit, feast, remember and commune with them is strengthened; we can, at this time, reach across and know the truth of endless spirit by the one true portal – that of loving connection. This festival provides us with an quiet space in which to reflect on what is real and what is imagined and that which abides.

Blessed Samhain!

Samhain – Doorway to the Other worlds

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There are two bushes at the bottom of my garden, I like to think of them as sentinels of sorts, they look and act as a kind of portal through which one must pass in order to come into or out of my home. These bushes are prickly, somewhat unforgiving and this time of year are often softly doused in dew from the autumn mornings and usually sporting some fine gossamer specimens.

 

Webs..spiders, World Wide Web… catching, trapping, surrounding, winding, weaving, creating, home, sustenance, holes, slight, strong, sticky, wind proof, fragile.

 

Hallowe’en or Samhain is by far my favourite holiday of the year. We are sinking deep into the darkness, the cold. Contraction, slowing and quietude are the orders of the day (or night). It is the time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, when we are invited to venture between the worlds, feast and remember our ancestors; our ‘Gone Befores’ and hopefully retrieve a sense of belonging, solace and connection in the face of our furiously-paced lives. It also marks the end of the year in the Celtic calendar, a time for reflection and deep communion. The last of the harvest festivals, we are now heading within to rest, dream and restore ourselves.

 

Webs, in all their intricacy, are ideally poised to offer us a gateway into this other-world. If we approach full on, we are likely to be trapped by them, stuck in our own illusions, our ego selves. If however, we attend to the ‘holes’ in the web, the gaps between the silken strands, we can move beyond to what otherwise might be dimly viewed but never touched. So, these delicate guardians stand everywhere, in corners, spanning impossible distances, valiantly connecting unlikely anchors in order to offer us a not only a view, but a way through. Be warned though, there are ‘keepers’ at these thresholds, prepare yourself with pure intent and offer respect as you pass between.

 

It’s getting dark outside, the world is in a whirling rush of blind panic. In the next few days if you find yourself confronted with a spider’s miraculous creation, take a moment to step through it, like the wind, and visit with those on the other side. There is counsel there and comfort and home.

 

Blessed Samhain!