Close the door keep out the storm,
Far Away, Far Away…
It’s nearly here. In two weeks time the major Sabbat of Samhain will arrive, bringing with it dark evenings and opening the door to the cold of Winter. Lanterns will be lit and placed in windows. Faerie Bells will ring and doors and windows will be opened to allow the spirits of those departed back inside, to share a meal, so we may remember them. Photographs of loved ones will be placed on altars next to the slowly drifting smoke of incense, tears will be shed, and smiles will be shared. Candle flame will be caught in the reflecting water of the cauldron, and Journeys will be taken. Magic will be cast, and the names of those gone before across the bridge into the Otherworld, and the many more lives that lay beyond, will be spoken into the wind, letting them know that they are never forgotten.
It is without doubt a powerful night.
Although I love warmth and sunlight, it is when the Mother is breathing in and out, at Spring and Autumn, that I feel the closest connection to Her. As she breathes out at Autumn I can almost feel and hear the sigh of relief from Nature, that She is done for another turn of the wheel, and can now rest until the next in breath of Spring. With that expiration comes the Season of Mists, and with it the dew-laden webs in our gardens, the crisp dark skies of Winter, and the warmth of the hearth. The time from Samhain to Alban Arthan, the Winter Solstice, is such a magical time of change. The leaves here are still quite green, but you can see them turning and soon the woodland will attack the senses with colour and the smell of rotting leaves and damp earth. As the leaves are transformed into food for the seeds of Spring, so aspects of my creativity have been laying dormant, yet being fed, ready to germinate.
As Samhain arrives some of us will meet once more under the ever watchful gaze of the Long Man, there to speak the names of those we love who have moved on, to share a symbolic feast in their honour, to raise a glass to the Fae who ride out across the Downs and the Weald, along ancient paths still trod. We will give thanks for the year’s harvest, and we will welcome the Cailleach as the rooks and crows call overhead. And we will toast the Horned One, as he walks the Halls of Annwn, waiting to be reborn once more. Then the Giant’s Rest pub will offer one more blessing of Samhain. The arrival of barrels of Old Ale, a drink as dark and wonderful as the Autumn sky.
But I also look through the heart of the Mother, to lands on the other side of the planet, where my friends will be celebrating an altogether different festival, as the powers of Beltane arrive with the power of Spring.
And the Wheel forever turns.