This is a big celebratory weekend for my family. The house is warm with all the candles, lanterns and illuminated pumpkins; decorated with photos and mementos of past family members and fragrant with spices from baking the baking of ‘soul cakes’. The Ancestor Tree stands on the table in the hall. Two cauldrons adorn the hearth, reminiscent of Ceridwen’s mighty Cauldron’s of Regeneration. A glow of connection and coming together permeates the whole house and a frisson of excitement tingles through the air.
This is Calan Gaeaf… Samhain… Hallowe’en… the ending of the Celtic year with the last of the harvest when we enter into the dark time, to pause and reflect, which is only brought to an end with the rebirth of the light at Midwinter. A time between times… a threshold… a liminal space where worlds – different levels of life and energy – may draw closer to one another, when we are able to look back into the past, and forward into the future. A mysterious, unsettling time time of magic.
Yesterday evening we began our celebrations with a Dinner for the Ancestors. We gathered around the dining table where an extra place was set for each person attending the meal, so that they could invite any of their past antecedents to sit and join us. After serving the main course, we all ate in silence to allow everyone the space and opportunity to fondly recall their loved ones who have already entered the Summerlands. I have to say that I sensed our cosy dining room to be absolutely crowded out with folk – a wonderfully heart-warming feeling of loving presence and reconnection.
Later today, we will be gathering with friends to let go of this past year – to literally cast what is no longer relevant or necessary in our lives into the fire where these energies will be transmuted into something more positive and useful. We shall be writing out our hopes, wishes, plans and dreams for the coming new year and carefully placing them into the cauldron where Ceridwen shall keep them safe, allow them to germinate and return them to us as viable new strands to our life. We shall, again, give time and space to remember those who have gone before – not just those genetically connected to us by blood, but those we love and honour in our spiritual and professional lives, or any other aspect of our existence – brothers and sisters who have walked facets of our own path before us, and who we now acknowledge and remember with loving gratitude.
Tomorrow, the day of All Souls, we shall finally come together to remember ALL our ancestors… the hundreds of thousands of people from whom we are directly descended, right back to the beginning of time.
Then, as the last remnants of autumn fade into the dark of true winter, we shall sink back into the shadows, with time to think, to reassess, to visualise and dream, before we set our faces towards the Midwinter and the return of the light.
May this hurly burly time of year, of chaos and temporary lapse in ‘normality’ treat you gently. May you courageously touch infinity with a loving heart and allow it to inspire and illuminate what comes next in your life.
My love to you all, always.