Samhain Greetings to all,
The time period, between Oct. 31st and Nov. 2nd is one of the most widely celebrated ancient traditions honoring death and rebirth. Samhain means “summer’s end” and it is a new year in the Celtic tradition. The harvest is complete and the land will lie fallow for the winter months with the seeds of new life deep underground.
Traditionally, this is the time of the descent into darkness and going within. The veil between the seen and unseen worlds is very thin making us more open to ancestor guidance. It is a time when our psychic senses emerge and strengthen as we move deeper into our inner wisdom.
Our culture tends to fear the dark and attributes many negative associations with dark places, psychic experiences, and altered states of consciousness. Many of you know I have been exploring Shamanic practices for the last six years and it has brought me to a welcome healing of my own fears about these phenomena. As I developed the theme of “Navigating the Dark” for our 21st Awaken Your Inner Goddess retreat, a deeper understanding emerged.
Indigenous cultures have a completely different relationship with the dark and accept it as simply the other side of the light and the same is true for their views of death as the other side of life. All is seen as a cycle with beginnings and endings on a great turning wheel, just as the seasons move through each year.
During Samhain, the Celts and many other cultural groups gathered at burial sites to feel closer to their beloved and respected elders. These gatherings at the great barrows and gravesites was a time of honoring and connecting to important sources of wisdom and love. Since those who had passed to the other side were believed to have much greater knowledge than those who were living, they were the best source of advice. The idea of foretelling the future must have arisen from these great night vigils, when people looked to loved and trusted ancestors for advice for the year, especially since the coming winter was an uncertain time with potential food scarcity and illness.
Last night, I thought about my visceral experience, ten years ago, walking into Kennett Long Barrow (near Glastonbury, UK) with a group led by Kathy Jones. I am slightly claustrophobic and this journey inside a very long earthen passage, filled with the unseen bones of Bronze Age ancestors, was unnerving. Our group gathered at the rounded chamber at the very end, extinguished our lights and began to chant to the Divine Mother. It was an extremely moving moment for me and the images and feelings are as vivid today as ever. What I realized, as I was writing a meditation for this year’s Samhain, is that all that fear of the dark and of those who dwell in other dimensions is unnecessary and that it has cut us off from such a valuable source of wisdom.
Our event last night ended with women sharing their stories around a cauldron fire. Each woman’s voice was unique, but each one told of a time when she received guidance, whether it was from an ancestor guide, or in a dreamtime vision, or a time when intuition helped her at a very important moment. It struck me that when we can accept these sources of help, sometimes share them with others, and allow ourselves to trust the messages, we are enriched beyond measure.
Enjoy this Halloween with perhaps a bit different understanding of its meaning. I am happy to send you a copy of the guided meditation. Please email me and I’ll attach it to my reply.
Many Blessings, Linda