As the light fades, the air gets colder and the leaves crunch beneath our feet we arrive at Samhain on 31 October (30 April in the southern hemisphere).
Welcome to the dark side!
Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) marks the end of autumn and the beginning of winter in the Celtic year, which was traditionally celebrated as the start of the new year.
The daylight hours are fading. The days are shorter and colder and oftentimes damp and grey. Deciduous trees are losing their leaves and plants are dying back. Animals get ready to nest. All of nature is readying itself for deep rest, hibernation and renewal.
Ah death. That part of the life cycle which we struggle to acknowledge, which we may prefer to ignore. But it is part of life. It comes to all of us, and all living things.
In a culture where death is a taboo – where most of us live ignoring the certainty of death and so, perhaps, fritter away this precious human life-force we have been gifted with worries, and time-wasting and comparison and confusion – it takes compassionate grit and a dauntless spirit to look endings and death in the face.
Cosseted in centrally-heated homes with ample food available in the supermarket, with age-defying creams, and the elderly hidden away in care home, well, it’s all too easy to ignore that death is a fact of life. The inevitable end. Ignore it if you will, but you cannot avoid it.
Working with Samhain energies
So how would it be to feel into your body and stand at this threshold and acknowledge what needs to die?
Let the veil between the inner conscious and unconscious worlds drop. Dream into your deepest innermost self and let this be a time to let your masks and emotional armour die-away.
Reflect on the past year and look with honesty at yourself and what it is you want from life.
Let Samhain’s death energy foster deep release as well as deep recognition of what is no longer working, useful or required within yourself and your life – whether internally in terms of thoughts and beliefs, or externally in terms of possessions, relationships, or ways of being and doing.
Be open to receive guidance on what has become stagnant and dull.
And invite in the possibility that you can let it all die away. It’s uncomfortable. So you may feel tired, emotional, confused, frustrated.
You may finally recognize what needs to go from your life. This may bring an uneasy feeling of resistance. But how would it be to embrace the transformative energy of death as necessary to live a full, authentic and meaningful life?
It’s long been traditional to understand that the veils between this world and the Otherworld are at their thinnest at Samhain. It’s a time to dream and take inner journeys. To meet guides and helpers in the unseen realms. A time to connect to the ancestors – of your own family and the collective.
Dance between these inner worlds at Samhain. Ask for guidance from the unseen realms.
And, if you’re courageous enough, perhaps you might peer through the veil to catch sight of your deepest fears and longings.
A poem for Samhain
This poem is taken from my book Whispers From Mother Earth: Poems and prayers of healing, inspiration and transformation.
Feeling untethered, yet so very grounded.
Feeling lost, yet safely on my way home.
Knowing all is shifting, yet feeling balanced.
Needing company, but being content on my own.
Falling into the dark depths of winter,
Shedding, releasing … I know not what.
Falling apart. Falling into freedom.
Disruption, I sense, will play its part.
All these feelings, I welcome into me
As Samhain’s unveiling reveals the depths.
A beautiful, welcome and unshakeable certainty
That all is changing, into my heart has crept.
A Samhain Blessing
May your dreams be blessed with clear vision; may you feel the love of your ancestors cherishing you and wishing you well; and may you find the courage to let that which is ready to die, depart.
Hi, I’m Stella and I’m a Priestess of the Goddess Brighid, an author and poet, and an experienced creative meditation guide.
I support women whose creative voice feels stuck or blocked to liberate their wise, free and sacred creative spirit so they can express themselves fully in their work and life.
I’ll help you tend the inner flame of inspiration and free your creative spirit.
[Samhain picture created using an image from Pixabay]