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Samhain 2021-Welcoming the Darkness




Today is true Samhain (sow-un), astronomically true anyway. It is the midpoint between the balanced day of autumn equinox and the longest night of winter solstice. It marks the start of the winter season…yes, winter! As I’ve been studying Irish Celtic Shamanism for the last year, I’ve been (un/re)learning so much…and this way of observing the seasons has been interesting. At first I felt a lot of resistance…um, nope…winter definitely starts on Dec 21/22! And then, slowly, I started to see it. The first buds on the trees in February, the start of spring, helped. Tuning into what is ACTUALLY happening in nature-the warming and brightening in May, the harvesting and first leaves turning in August, and now the definite turn of temperature, precipitation, and darkness…ok, fine, yes, it’s the start of winter. And I’m here for it. At Samhain, the last bits of autumn burn in the transition to winter, making space and nourishing the soil so that the seeds we plant in the darkness can begin their germination. Germination, new life, begins here, through the winter, in the depth of the darkness, gathering the life force energy that will allow the bursting forth in spring.


For me, this last year ( which has actually been 18 months) has been an education on so many levels. And this year, I welcome the darkness of winter with an openness that feels new and exciting. I feel inspired and creative in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. And this winter, the gift of time spent cozying up with a cuppa, pen and paper, paints, harmonium, and human and animal community feels like such a beautiful invitation to be with these seeds in the darkness.


Whether you celebrated Samhain a week ago, with the new moon, or today…or you celebrated another of the beautiful holidays this time of year that celebrate the darkening, or the light therein or the thinning veil… what was it like for you this year? Do you feel the shift in nature? How are the shortening days speaking to you this year? What things are you placing in the Samhain fire to burn and nourish the soil? And what seeds will you plant in that soil through winter?


Know that whether the darkness is being met inside you with resistance or allowance, you are whole, you are seen, and you are loved. And if you need a hand to hold as you stand next to the fire looking into that darkness, know that I will be that person to stand there beside you.


In love and gratitude,

Jess

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