As the wheel turns on the night of Samhuinn Fire Festival, we reflect on all the cycles that govern life in nature. Time pushes forward and away from the past, but it also moves in circles, ebbing and flowing through moon phases, planetary orbits, tides lapping at beaches, and the ever-present tousle between Winter and Summer.
The Gaia Filiae’s cycle began at Beltane, our Summer festival, when the warmth of the sun woke us to embrace the link between our fertility cycles, the wheel of the year, and Mother Earth. Aligned with the May Queen, the fertility goddess who would birth Spring, we danced the ancient belly dance. Believed once to have been performed as a fertility ritual, the belly dance is a celebration of the earth’s ripeness and the fruits it would soon bear.
Now, it is time for us to follow through and complete the cycle that began when we first awoke. The belly dance is also believed by some to have been a harvest dance, celebrating the bounty that communities had sown from the land before Winter. As the cold season approaches, it is now time for us to harvest the energy that we have been tending and to embrace the darkest season.
Where once we danced for the May Queen, now we perform for the Cailleach, the crone goddess, who completes the triple goddess’s cycle through the year. We dance with Death. We bury the fetid fruit, knowing that its seeds, though apparently lifeless, contain the unlimited possibilities of dormant potential, needing to winter to gather new strength. We are at our most vulnerable, cracked open, raw, wounded. We dance with our shadows to welcome the Crone.
Featured image by Gordon Veitch. All rights reserved.