Winter. The name itself is magical, a word of power, strong syllables that snap like frozen twigs as we speak them. Though Yule is some days away, according to the Celtic calendar we entered the powerful season of Winter at Samhain's turning....
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What if the outside world is just a reflection of what is going on inside you?
Maybe the behaviors you witness and experience that upset you are a message to you about how you are treating yourself....
I have the honor of facilitating the moon circle this month, for my Women’s Sacred Circle. We’re meeting tonight, at the full moon. I thought I would share what I have prepared, here, since it is mine to share, and I would be curious about what a moon circle would be like, if I wasn’t participating in one. The format was sent to me by the women who planned this year’s circle endeavor, but they said it was a loose guideline. If you want to set up a moon circle, do it however you like! This is how mine is going to go, and it’s similar to the ones that went before, in my particular circle.
This is me and my chap at last year’s mistletoe rite. It was cold, hence my failed attempts at rolling into a ball like a hedgehog. Midwinter is usually a tough time for outdoor ritual, but the attraction of Druids to mistletoe means outdoors is where you need to be. I’ve been to rituals working with pre-cut mistletoe, and it isn’t at the same. It’s a much more immediate experience when you’re in the process of removing a living, parasitic plant from the tree branch it has grown on. We go to an apple orchard, where there is a great deal of mistletoe, singing, and good cheer.
Rituals often raise interesting issues about what we do for real, and what we gently fake. The Great rite is a frequent case in point. We turn suspicions of historic sacrifice into corn dollies, offer wine and mead to the earth and not blood. Often a Druid ritual can seem less like an encounter with raw and wild nature, more like something safe and on the edges of familiarity. But then, England doesn’t have much wilderness, most of our more dangerous wildlife is gone – no bears and wolves round here, and I’ve not seen a boar....
scouring the earth.
She picks the meat
from your bones,
she drops the scales
from your eyes,
she cleans out
all that has passed away
into something new.
Clearing away the dead
making way for rebirth.
Listen to her.
Sometimes I forget that Samhain is not the Halloween to All Souls celebrations that include my birthday. Samhain also can get swallowed up in the midwinter Yule/Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanza celebrations that grip the globe. This year of the Horse has galloped; often it has felt like a bucking bronco. As we approach the end of 2014 I feel myself praying for solitude. Samhain is a season not just a hyper celebration of Celtic New Year. Which is what Halloween feels like in Ireland. We even have fireworks!
Samhain is the turning in time. Last year I spent a lot of time staring out the window. You could say I was busy doing nothing. As I look at the calendar with all the commitments marked for November I declared a moratorium for December. I have a three week window with nothing and that is the way I intend to keep it....
It’s December now, mid-winter and the landscape has been stripped bare. Standing shy and naked it’s vulnerability masking the powerful forces of Nature that lie within.
I am out collecting pine cones to help kindle my log fire and as I bend to fill my basket the heady scent of the tree reminds me of all things Yule. Winter Solstice will soon be here heralding the return of the Sun as minute by minute, each day, the Light returns and with it hope for all things.
Holly bushes bear their fruit of bright red berries and the birds are feasting well. Mistletoe hangs heavily high up in the branches of the apple trees waiting to catch a kiss and I smile at the merriment of the season to come.