Samhain, The Celtic New Year is a day where we remember our ancestors who have gone before us.We think of relatives and friends who have died, particularly in the last year.It is a very sombre occasion very different from the commercial Halloween that is celebrated on this day.Halloween has origins in Pagan traditions but have lost it’s meaning and significance because of the commercialism we see today which does sadden me some what.As a parent I always explain with the children the holidays and special days that have Pagan origins.
Last Saturday I went to Avebury Stone Circle for the Samhain Gorsedd.It’s the first time I have vivisted in two years so it was nice meet up with old friends.The circle lasted about an hour where the meaning of Samhain was explained, poems read and songs sung.We remebered those who had died that year when a stafff was passed around as names were called out.Cakes and mead also passed round where each person would say to the person stood next to them in the circle, “May you never hunger” when offering the cake and “May you never thirst” when mead was passsed to the next person.
After the ritual I warmed with half an ale and shared bowls of chips my friends and we left Avebury to visit West Kennet Long Burrow not far from Avebury and in view of Silbury hill.West Kennet is a Neolithic burial site, it was very eerie inside but very pearceful at the same time.High on the hill we stayed inside for about 10 minutes taking in the atmosphere and looking at the stones and the chamber.
Samhain, The Celtic New Year celebrates the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one as the 8 festilvals are represented as a wheel.This is cyclic like the revolving Sun and the ebb and flow of the Moon’s cycles.Yule is the next festival celebrated on or around the 21st (this is based on the Sun’s position so it differs each year between the 20th-21st December) and was Christianised as Christmas.I talk about in more detail next month.
“Help us to be the always hopeful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth as without light nothing flowers.”
It is almost a year since me and the husband separated.It has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks and I know at some point I would have to face the anniversary of that day.As I sat down to plan meals for the week , I began reading from Cait Johnson’s Witch In The Kitchen about the change she went through when a relationship she had broke down. She speaks of bitter harvests -life lessons that teach through difficulty.
After I told the husband to leave I could not of been more alone, so I thought.My children became distant and confused.My close family began to question the relationship I had with my husband, which deemed to them as perfect.During the next few weeks I shall be making more changes to our life as it seems my work at home job is too unreliable and I have to look for something else.I was looking forward to working more hours as Mouse is at preschool every day, all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays.I had planned to use the time to make things for my Folksy shop also and get on with decluttering the flat.It seemed a perfect set up.But life is never far from easy.
My mum has said she will help out when I get a job which I hope won’t be too long and I have two I’ve already to apply for.
As we celebrate Mabon, (the festival of balance) I begin to think of the darkness ahead but this time I have harvested and stored all the love I have collected over the last year so I can feed my soul over the next few months.I’ll sit and smile as I think back on my acheivements and know I have become a stronger person.A stronger person still with ambition, drive and motivation to take on whatever life throws at me.
I am in a happy place.
I have goals and I won’t sit back and wait for life to come to me.
I’m ready to go out and meet new people.
No panic attacks, anxiety, no changing my mind and saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.
What changes are going on in your life? Do they make you or sad? Can you see the positives?
Photos: Steve and Jenny’s handfasting at Avebury stone circle. Beltane Pagan Camp held at Blackland Lakes, Calne, Wiltshire. After Eostre my Pagan friends decided to get together and go camping over the weekend of Beltane.I thought this was a great opportunity for my family to do something together that was different and for The Husband and my older children to meet my friends and vice-verse.We borrowed a four man tent from my dad along with sleeping bags and basic camping equipment.As we don’t drive we had to rely on two cars coming over to pick us up and take us over.We went to Avebury shortly before lunch time on Saturday the 2nd of May, where we sat on the embankment eating our sandwiches looking over the stone circle.We witnessed the hand-fasting of Jenny and Steve and then after much dilly-dallying it was the free and open Gorsedd.Sadly Mouse was very grizzly, so we decided to come away and go back to the Red Lion Pub.The children found the colouring sheets of countryside animals that Tracey had left for children to use to keep them occupied.At around 5 o’clock we headed off to the camp at Blackland Lakes, Calne.Me and The Husband got on and started to put up the tent, but it was apparent that Mouse was having none of it, so I had to console her while Murray helped The Husband.It only took 5 minutes and we were soon making it as comfortable as possible.The older kids were busy making friends and playing football, whilst The Husband started cooking on the disposable barbecue.Not long after Kipand Cat settled down to bed at 7:30.It was still pretty light and many of the people returning from the Avebury Gorsedd came back to the camp site which kept them awake.It was 15 minutes or so before they decided to get back up and join in playing the football in their pj’s and dressing gowns.Mouse went off to sleep just after 9 and the other two followed suite not much after.So in the twilight and a half waxing moon we sat on our kids car seats (we like to improvise) listening to the hoots of owls and the passing of one of many magpies I saw that day.It was so peaceful and so relaxing.Away from the hustle and bustle and the television and PC.Lee, a Druid and 3 years younger than my The Husband came over to chat to us.He got out his lap top and started to play CD’s and he and The Husband talked about the Rave scene back in the day.Although I couldn’t contribute anything to their conversation it was nice to have my husband able to connect with someone as not every Pagan is a Goth or a hippy type.I went to bed just after 10:30 and couldn’t sleep for at least 2 hours as I couldn’t get comfortable and it was damn cold.I did get some sleep and Mouse was awake as usual at 5:30, the others woke at 7ish.Because we got back to the camp site after 5 we couldn’t buy any milk from the camp shop and it didn’t open until 9.So we had home-made chocolate cake for breakfast.The rest of the camp sit woke around 9.We said our good mornings and chatted about the previous nights goings on, not for me to comment on so I won’t say what went on.We were home just before 12 and it was great to see how much the kids enjoyed it.Cat was her out going self making friends and Kiploved playing hours of football, his legs wer very sore the next day as he suffers from eczema.Although my intentions were never to raise my children Pagan, I hope they grow to understand and appreciate what other religions there are.Kiplearns about other religions at school as well as Christianity.He know about Judaism and Muslims and sadly he won’t get to learn about Paganism from school.I always talk to him about the changing seasons and what each festival I celebrate means.I have never enforced my spiritual beliefs on my children, I believe children are spiritually pure and it’s up to them to decide which path they take. Mouse cut 4 molars over this week, hence the grizzly baby.