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?
Beltane (Beltain, Bel-tane, Walpurgisnact, Celtshaman, Bealtainn or May Eve/May Day) is the Celtic festival of fertility, expectation and the feast of the life.It is a celebration of the fertility and rampant potency of the life-force- it’s about sex and procreation.All of nature is growing and manifesting now, this is a time to celebrate unions of all kinds.For the Celts, this was the night of the greenwood marriage where the union between the Horned God and the Goddess was re-enacted by the men and the women to ensure the fertility of the land.This night was spent in the woods making love under the trees, stay up all night and watch the sunrise, and bathe in the morning dew.Together the God and Goddess represent the great circle of life and death through the seasons.May Day celebrations include dancing around the Maypole, symbolising the interweaving and joining of the male and female energies to bring fertility to all unions.The pole itself is a phallic symbol and the ring placed on top is the female symbol.Also represented at this time was the Green Man or Woman, who represented the spirit of vegetation.Beltane is one of the four great Cross Quarter Fire Festivals.A Bel-tene means a goodly fire.This was a special fire kindled after all the other fires in the community had been put out.Two fires were built where people would drive their cattle and other animals were driven through the smoke as a protection from disease and bring fertility.
Please go to my friends site here and click on event photos.
For each Sabbat I like to take a walk to the local wood when discussing the Sabbats with my kids.For Imbolc we looked out for early signs of spring and breathed in the smell of the squishy mud and it reminded me of patchouli, a really earthy smell.We were hoping to find some mushrooms, but found lots of interesting lichen (I’m weird I know).We didn’t get back home until well after 11.It was calming after being indoors all week.
Saturday, me and Mouse went over to Avebury to take part in the Imbolc Gorsedd ceremony.Imbolc is a Celtic fire festival, it has other names Imbolg, Imbold, Oimelc.It means ewes milk.Held around the 1st of February, Pagans celebrate the first stirrings of spring.
Ewes have given birth to their lamb, snowdrops raise their dainty heads.We witness the earth awakening and feel the energies of creativity and inspiration.Imbolc is known as Candlemas, where Christians mark the purification of Mary after Christ’s birth.Candles are blessed and lit.The Goddess of Imbolc is Brigid or Bride (pronounced Breed),She is a Irish/Celtic Goddess of healing.She is protector of women, children and animals.She is a healing Goddess, many wells, springs and rivers are named in her honour.She was Christianised as St.Brigid.