Thursday, April 28, 2011

This is the time when we recognize that the veil is thin that divides the worlds. It is the New Year in the time of the year’s death – the passing of old growth. The leaves are turning and falling, the dark continues to grow, the days are getting shorter and colder. Earth’s tilt continues to move us away from the Sun.
The story of Old tells us that on this night, between the dead and the born, between the old and the new, all is possible; that we travel in the Womb of the Mother, the Dark Shining One within, from which all pours forth, and that we are the seed of our own rebirth. The gates of life and death are opened: the dead are remembered, the Not-Yet is conceived. We meet in time out of time, everywhere and nowhere, here and there … to transform the old into the new in our own bodyminds.

Glenys Livingstone, PaGaian Cosmology.

For myself, Samhain begins on April 25th with remembrance on Anzac Day and flows through until Sunrise May 2nd.

I believe ANZAC Day remembrance is well within the Samhain spirit. This day represents sacrifice, death, survival, and transformation. The men and women who have served and those still serving have an intimate understanding of the journey to the Underworld.

As a child I marched in place of my lost Grandfather, his medals hung heavily from my chest. Over the years the men and women who walked beside me were slowly replaced one by one with their own family members marching in their stead and now, all grown up with children of my own, I watch as my husband marches with his own medals upon his chest.

Samhain is a time of endings as well as a beginning. We watch as the new generation remember and pay respect to their ancestors, they walk beside them and for a brief time they merge and become one as they march. But it is the new generation that will take the next step forward, hopefully with accumulated wisdom of those that have gone before them, and they will forge a new path.

Life is a cycle. At Samhain the veil is lifted and the worlds merge, and briefly, so does time. There is no beginning and no end, there is only the sacred image of the Wheel, the cycle of the seasons and metaphor of our lives.

Physically we notice the cycle of nature around us, the turning of the Wheel through the seasons. Only now, where I currently live, the weather is beginning to dip down into winter. The nights have become chilly and the mornings frosty. Though I know that the temperatures here will not fall greatly even in the depths of the winter months, I still feel an internal shift, This is the time I allow myself to become quiet and retreat within. It is my time of introspection for what the last year has entailed and what will come forth from the new. During this time I think about what I feel I need to shed, what I am not ready to let go of and what I would like to bring into my life throughout the coming cycle. I journal, I cry, I laugh and I hug. I let go of my inner ego so that I can open myself to new experiences whether they be baneful or blessings. I know from experience that through the hard times is when I grow the most, when I appreciate the most.

Upon my altar Samhain night I will lay the foods of the last local harvest time, celebrating that the Earth is turning through her own cycle. I will place photos of lost loved ones along side one of my husband whom I will soon say goodbye to as he will be leaving for deployment not long after. I will not see him again until after next Lughnasad. Though his goodbye is not permanent it is still a form of departing.

I will allow this time to cleanse me, bathing me in the darkness of night, beneath the stars and this year a moonless sky. I will remember those that have touched my life and I will be thankful for those who are still with me. I will ask questions about my future and impatiently as always await an answer. And when all is said and done, I will watch the sun rise on a brand new day.

Samhain is not only about death. It is about transformation and acceptance of such changes that occur in our lives. It is a time of letting go. Whether that be someone we cherished, a bad year, negative emotions such as insecurity, resentment or even our own ego. It is a time to remember our pasts but more importantly it is the time to look forward into our future. We cannot change what has already been but the future is ours to transform.