Some words from our Blues as we move into the dark half of the year…
Samhuinn passes. The spirits draw back behind the veil as it closes and thickens like the winter mist. All that remains now are traces – shadows, footprints – and flickers of memory, the ever-fainter memories of moments that, like a glimpse of eternity, are paradoxically stretched, yet over before they began.
Those of us on the mortal side of the veil seem to find ourselves in another land. The north winds bear icily down and darkness descends earlier and earlier each night. It is winter now.
Isn’t this what we wanted? But it doesn’t matter what side you were on. The question is immaterial. It will be winter whether we will it or not. The point of the ritual of Samhuinn is not to bring on the winter, which is inevitable, but to align ourselves with the changing season. To acknowledge the cycles of nature, and understand ourselves as a part of it, with our own cycles attuned to the greater wheel.
For that reason, it often strikes us as a shame to hear folk already speaking about Beltane. On one hand, it’s understandable. We’ve had months of intense, bonding activities culminating in a spectacular show of which we can all be proud. Like children, we pour off the ride, “Again! Again!”
But on the other hand, it misses the point. Last Beltane feels an age ago and it will feel a similar age by the time the next Beltane rolls around. In between is a whole season, with its own beauty, gifts, and challenges. It seems a shame to wish it away.
Our lives are richer than our festivals. Our festivals should not be ends in themselves, but focal points, serving to reconnect us to this time, this place…here, now. To rush ahead too far is dilute the spirit of the festival, and to risk losing it in another spectacle of consumption, of which the world has far too much already.
So as we wish you Happy Samhuinn, we also wish you to take the time to breathe, to appreciate the good to be found in the dark half of the year. If you have ideas for Beltane – and especially if you have big ideas – let them simmer in the dream-state, just below consciousness, and focus your energy on connecting to the Here and Now, so that when light starts growing stronger again, you’ll be more in tune with the season, the earth, and yourself, rested and ready to burst forth.
And remember, your community has not gone away. There are plenty of outlets for creative energy and togetherness. We’d love to hear some grassroots ideas to mark our next quarter day – Imbolc – not to mention gathering before that to celebrate the Yule. And for those who can’t resist thinking of Beltane, our Planniversary is coming up on November 20th, where we will be gathering ideas and energies to create an extra-special backdrop for our coming 30th year.
Happy Samhuinn to you all…and, sincerely, enjoy the winter!
Photo by Martin McCarthy