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Posted: 23 Sep 2017, 16:15
by Earthwoman
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Posted: 16 Oct 2017, 16:38
by elementalheart
Samhuinn, some thoughts

Samhuinn remains the most powerful time for me as it has since long before I started formal study of druidry. I was introduced to it on a remote and deserted (bar our group) beach in Northumberland at the age of 19, walking a spiral in the sand under the guidance of a woman known even socially as Morrigan for various reasons. She had natural red hair, a fierce temper, boundless energy, and a tremendous sense of drama. On that dim October afternoon she loosed her hair to whip in the wind, wore woad marks on her face and an understated but clearly authentically produced set of dark age Romano British clothing and weaponry to match. We would have done pretty much anything she asked to get off that cold beach and on to the promised feasting in a local village hall. But as we walked the spiral she had painstakingly etched in sand, not only was dusk falling but the tide coming in and washing ever closer to the feet that trod the path she'd made. We then got lost on some unmarked back roads but between the fear, the building irritability and the sheer impact she had made, it was a glorious evening by the time we found our safe haven and made ourselves at home in the hanging of greenery and drinking of mead! In terms of the realisation of transitory lives and moments to live by, it was a classic night that signalled a future path long in the finding - on my part at least.

For me Samhuinn is the time of dying and rebirth, ancestors connecting us to both and giving us meaning to move onward from their roots and earlier struggles to achieve what we inherited. It is the reminder that new life/day/year start in the coming of dark where we release and empty what was in order to breathe our first of the new. New Year in the sense of Hogmanay or Alban Arthan can only be (to me) most full if we first spend that time, that evening of the day or year, preparing for midnight or the new dawn, whichever we see as the moment of rebirth. Without dark is no sunrise and that was underlined for me as I realised I had, like many, always wanted to add new to old with that single breath of a moment, rather than working into it, into myself and appreciating, respecting, that task. It was all about the light and pushing aside the dark to 'get there', missing the entire journey or worse punishing myself for mistakes or wounds incurred on the way.

I learned finally the power of being in my own darkness and shadow, reviewing and embracing all of that time, those memories, those failures and things I tried to deny. Without that 'dark night' there could have been no more than I already had and was. Within it I found essential aspects of my soul and reintegrated for the most part what I had rejected in my younger journey to that point. I had to look at memories and acknowledge their value, look at my younger self and see what she did within the context of where I had to go to be where I was now. I found the part of me I had called stupid for believing in the Christianity of my parents, the part of me I hated for being weak under bullying and abusive relationships, the parts of me I didn't want to have been but was and still carry wounded within me. I couldn't, wouldn't heal what I couldn't see or accept.

I was fairly deep in pain and suffering for much of that dark time but I found even that a source of self respect eventually and as I emerged into a new sense of my wholeness and my future having potential again rather than ending in death, I was able to see the significance of celebrating the coming of winter first, rather than grudgingly accepting it as the ending of the year, or of life. While you are never really 'there' with this kind of work, I found it easier to be myself and all those aspects started to come back together. I did my opening ritual for every grade at Samhuinn and found many other lifechanging periods had occurred around that time of year during my life. I lost my father and my brother in the autumn and began and ended significant relationships also. So putting it together I saw what had been and what was and it seemed as significant a period in practice as in my belief, so I went with that. And when you see the emptying, autumn into winter, the dark, as what comes first, then the rest opens up joyfully to look forward to. Death comes first, pain and suffering goes somewhere and has purpose, digging deep brings healing and the potential for spring and summer to blossom year on year.

There's another stage beyond this, only recently discovered. I had a childhood memory of being told to eat my greens and clear my plate so that I could have dessert. It was years before I realised the health of green food and that I actually preferred the veg to the sugary 'afters'. The whole system of society and religion is set up similarly, struggling through hardships and challenges all the time yearning for what comes after, the sweet things, the happy ever after, the just desserts you have earned. It was all a con. It isn't an afterlife that matters but right now, being fully alive. working through the 'stuff', bringing the rejected and broken parts back to be restored to the wholeness of the soul. The challenges, the dark, the ancestral gathering at the thinnest of veils, isn't a spooky scary thing to dash through screaming and waiting for the promised rewards like packaged cheap gifts at Christmas. It is the feast of life arising from death, future from past, fullness coming out of only the emptiness scraped out and hollowed like a gourd. That is the cauldron being made, the lantern from a pumpkin. It is not the straight bar that makes a sword but the heating and beating it by skilled and observant makers.

Without the hollowing, there's no room for the light inside. For that light to show through you need new eyes and mouth carved jagged and rough through all you thought was safe and solid. To be remade into a lantern, you can't stay just a pumpkin..


Posted: 21 Oct 2017, 22:25
by nollaig
Mixed Messages
by Nollaig

The bones were rolled and said that there was possibility of rain, but the sky was cloudless. Crystal blue, supernaturally clear. An old Ovate laid her body under an Oak tree in the park, she placed her head in the crook of her elbow and fell asleep. Some faeries making mischief in the park snuck up on her, stole her bones, laughed and ran off. The woman woke from her nap and pondered a skein of geese. She moved indoors as it started to rain.


Posted: 24 Oct 2017, 11:22
by Earthwoman
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