The time around Samhain or Halloween, is a powerful one. From time immemorial, the final harvest comes in, and Winter is felt at the end of October. The wheel of the year turns towards increasing darkness. Nature sheds her leaves and dies. The time of Samhain is the time of death and release, rest and dreaming. The time of the Ancestors. Welcome the Dark Goddess.
In our youth culture and technological age where all must be alive and in the bloom of youth, it’s hard to contemplate aging and death. How can we not look at the power of life and death, of love and loss in this time of COVID-19. We know in our guts, in our heart of hearts, whatever political opinions we may have, something is completely out of whack and seriously out of alignment in our relationship with the natural world.
Perhaps part of the reclaiming of that relationship is to honor the Wheel of the Year, the turning of the seasons. To start to notice how everything in Nature is constantly changing and shifting. Nothing is ever fixed or static. Even the mountains shift, ever so slowly, but they are also alive and changing. We take for granted that things are just as they are. We stop seeing the world around us as it grows, flourishes, peaks, starts to grow old and finally goes back into the ground. Back to earth. Our soil is the holy ground of all the bodies of all that has ever lived. All our Ancestors.
Aging is like the Wheel of the Year – we start in the welcome darkness of the Samhain Crone Mother. The Dark Goddess. This is the Celtic New Year. She brings us into Her tomb-womb at the gateway of death.
Then with the Winter Solstice time of deep repose and Dreaming, we envision life to be in the Otherworld beyond death. We cross the threshold at Imbolc with the magic of the Maiden and are welcomed back into the world. We grow in the sun fire of Spring like a powerful sapling.
At Beltane, we are the sensual, sexual youth ready for Her Beloved. In the midsummer, we are an adult coming into the fullness of our emotions, open to love and the waters of creation.
At Lammas, we become the Mother, giving birth, bringing forth what is our own into the world. We become able to give back to the world.
With Autumn equinox, we enter into the fullness of our maturity and the earthiness of grounded power that benefits all life.
And we cycle back to Samhain, as wise and experienced elders and crones, able to be a bridge for the community with the unseen world of Ancestors. We welcome in the Dark Goddess again.
Nothing in this life is static. Why then do we so adamantly try to hang onto certain parts of our identities as if they cannot change at all? Why are we so afraid of change? Why do we expect safety to mean that things will always be the same? What has made us so rigid, so ungiving, so….stagnant, non-flowing? Where is our adaptability, our resilience, our life energy and soul fire that moves with the sun and moon, with the tides, with the air, with the breathing earth, with the circling stars?
I contemplate this on election night, when so much of our values are dead set against each other. I wonder how this entangled mesh of non-resilient points of views can regain flexibility so that we can function as a community, a society, a culture? Perhaps the answer is in being able to accept that things shift and change by connecting more deeply with the natural world around us. The act of holding ourselves separate from the rest of Life on Earth has harmed humanity beyond measure. You can see the extent of that harm by looking at the harm we have inflicted upon the natural world. We are literally killing the ocean with plastic garbage. Water is running scarce. Climate change and human habitation encroachments are creating a huge species extinction. We face the possibility of one third of all plant and animal species could be extinct in 50-years time.
Healing means moving towards wholeness. Wholeness is always being redefined. It is not a static place. It is time to throw our static, ingrained, calcified, non-budging, polarizing, self-righteous points of view into the tomb – womb of the Dark Goddess. Into Her Cauldron of Regeneration. All Life invites life to move back into the wholeness of inter-connected existence; the interdependent dance of respect, love and responsibility. Responsibility – the capacity and ability to be aware and present enough to respond with respect and love for the whole. Greed and self-interest and self-preservation alone will only bring us into the statis of death. The Living Dead. Let’s not scare ourselves with our own specter of the ghost that would not give it up. Hail and Welcome the Dark Goddess!
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