And the Wheel Turns

IMG_5734So Samhain, the festival at least, is done for another year.

It was an odd one here in the south of England. The 31st and 1st were the warmest ‘Hallowe’ens’ on record with 21 degree temperatures. It was strange being outside in a T shirt for Samhain, but the trick or treaters had a lovely night. We set up a little altar by the front door to at least attempt to show a little more about what it was they were actually celebrating. I love seeing all of the little children dressed up as ghosts and monsters. One little boy, after being handed a sweet held up his hands and said “I’m covered in blood!!” Only on Samhain…

Is it shocking? I’m sure to some it is. On any other night I might be shocked myself, but Samhain is a night for misrule, and for one night a year I think that’s just fine. All of the youngsters who came to my door were with their parents and they had all made a lot of effort with their costumes.

So the weather reminded us of what would be leaving, and leave it did.

Yesterday we held our Anderida Gorsedd Samhain open ritual at the Long Man of Wilmington and the sunshine and warmth already felt like a distant memory. Instead of sunshine we were blessed by gale force winds and rain but, in truth, that felt right. I cast the circle as the rim of the Cauldron of Annwn. Before us, and within the Cauldron, were the mists of the Otherworld, through which we would call out the names of those who had moved beyond the Veil, to let them know they are still remembered, still loved. It can be rare to find a space that is safe enough for tears, for full emotional expression, but yesterday, in that circle beneath the Long Man, that space was created. And it was beautiful.

And with us was a reminder of the circle of life. A new born baby, brought to the circle for the first time by friends and regulars to the rituals. Seeing her passed around and loved, with smiles –  a celebration of life amongst the grief for those who have passed over – was beyond words.

And the Wheel turns.

7 Comments

  1. Mark Roberts November 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    That is lovely! Well done.

  2. Beth November 3, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    I think that particularly the younger children instinctively understand Samhain / Halloween – the topsy turvy nature of it all. It is their lives, their life force, shining so brightly in the darkness, that balances the mystery and the shades of those who have passed. Blessed Be for another turn of the wheel!

  3. Keith C November 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Sigh! I had wanted to come! Never been to anything like this before – I am in my 50’s – but pressures at home made it very difficult and it is a 3 or 4 hour journey, so I could not just nip out.
    Instead, I satisfied myself with taking my dog to the forests surrounding Owain Glyndwr’s mound Glyndyfrdwy.they are so beautiful. As I strolled I just remembered those friends and family who have passed, it was a beautiful sunny day.

    • Damh the Bard November 4, 2014 at 8:29 am - Reply

      That is a long way to come Keith. There might be a closer Gorsedd, but if you do make the journey you’ll be very welcome.

  4. Bronzewing November 4, 2014 at 3:20 am - Reply

    Sounds like a lovely ritual.

  5. Danielle November 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    It sounded magical. One day I will make the journey too.

  6. Andrea November 5, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a magical time. I do love this time of year, the feeling of closeness to our kin is beyond compare.

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