It’s that time of year again – the peak of Fall, tipping over the midpoint between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice. Darkness is gaining momentum. The days are getting shorter and shorter, faster and faster. Nights are growing longer. Death and Decay spread wide through the natural world now.
We are being pulled down. Guided to be lost beneath the surface of the earth, beneath the surface of our lives. Down and deep and in to the underworld. To release the forms of what was. To release the seeds of what will be. Here, we will learn to hold the space between death and new life – the space between what is gone and what will come.
Traditions that live close to the earth celebrate the end of harvest – the last chance to gather fallen fruit and vegetables as we head swiftly into the cold of Winter (are we in eighty degree weather her in LA?). In the Pagan wheel of the year this festival is called Samhain. It is a celebration of the end of a cycle.
We are ushered into the final stages in the life a year, carried into the last (and first) phase in the cycle of creativity – dissolution.
Samhain is the Celtic New Year, also known as the Witches New Year. It is the origin of Halloween. It is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd.
They say that the veil between the worlds – between the living and the dead, the seen and the unseen, the known and the unknown – is thin this time of year. Ancestors are said to be hanging near by. It’s a time of wisdom – the kind that comes from our roots and our core. Fairies, gnomes, goblins, ghosts, and demons are said to be dancing right at the tip of your breath, close to where their mischief can be felt. Your shadow is where the party’s at. Fear is in the air. It invites us to sit with it, listen to it, and walk through its gateway into courage.
The underworld opens its doors, calling you into a process of regeneration, which must begin in dismantling and dissolving .
What is your life asking you to dismantle? What is your health begging you to dissolve? What are the terms and conditions that you must renegotiate? What conversations, habits, relationships, ways of being need to undergo a process of decay, so that they may nourish the growth your life desires?
In the sacred fires of this witchy time we burn with the power of transformation.
Samhain is a journey inward – to the space where magic comes alive through metaphors of mischief and play, death and decay, and wisdom unfolds through reflection and contemplation of dissolution and regeneration.
The queen of death sits on her throne. The goddess becomes the crone. Darkness sets the tone. What’s behind the veil is asking to be shown. You are invited down and deep into your bone.
Don’t go there alone!
Because what is calling you into living more brightly, more fully, more vibrantly, more rediantly, more fabulously as YOU, requires that you become intimate with the dark side of the moon, the dark waters of the pond, the thick, dark soil beneath the layers of your garden. You must undress with the trees and decay with the fruit. Vulnerable. Alone. But together with all of creation. You must stand naked in the wind and shake through the cold nights of Winter. Exposed. Longing. Knowing though, that this is a part of what makes you whole.
So take some time in the next few weeks, as we head towards Winter Solstice and the end of this year (and the end of this decade), to sit in the dark. Maybe light a candle. Talk to your ancestors by remembering them, or wondering what their lives were like. Ask yourself some questions that take you into your bareness. Seek your own wisdom by contemplating and feeling into your dark spaces. Feed your roots. Eat root vegetables. Go out to nature where you can see the cycles of life, and the way that death weaves the fabric of reality. Stay in more. Be tender with yourself. Cook soups.
Chant while you cook.
I love to chant while I make food for my family. I imagine the mantras infusing the food with what we need on a soul/spirit/whatever-you-wanna-call-it level. I think of nourishment coming into our cells and souls as we eat. It’s like doing a health, love, creation spell while cooking. I’m a kitchen witch, what can I say?
It’s also brilliant on days when meditating or doing any of my practices just isn’t happening. If I chant while I cook, I feel the spark of being something more than a domestic slave.
A Kali mantra is great for this season of darkness and death. You invoke the presence of that which can handle all of intensity. Breathing the power of your capacity to sit with grief and dance with anger and sleep with sadness. You bring forth your ability to turn decay into nourishment. And you let that meaning season your food.
You can go simple with her Bija (seed) Mantra: Klim.
Or go with her invocation one: Aum Klim Klikaye Namaha.
Repeat it while chopping, and contemplate what it is that you are dismantling. Recite it while stirring, and call for the transformation that you need. Sing, speak, or whisper – let the Mother of the universe pour into you, and through you into the food you’re making. Let her love engulfe you. And her raw wisdom flow within your bone marrow. Let it inspire what it does and take it in as you eat.
Now, I would love to know what you are dissolving, transforming, and dismantling in your life right now. Is it an inner conversation? Is it a habit or a way of doing things that no longer suits your current growth spurt? Comment below and share. We can support each other in the process that way. I would love to hold space for you on your journey.
And, if you find this post moving in any way, please share it with someone who could benefit from it.
May these last few weeks of the year be as meaningful and valuable as you intend them to be.
With much love,