Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Samhain and Letting Go

What am I willing to give up and let die in me?

In Druidry the respect and love of nature is at the center of all practices. So at the heart of this practice is the celebration of the 8 quarters of the seasons of the year. Druids believe that all things are considered to be cyclical — including the year. It is understood as a perpetual cycle of growth and retreat tied to the sun's annual  death and rebirth. This cycle is also viewed as a micro and macrocosm of other life cycles in an immeasurable series of cycles composing the Universe.

So eight times a year about every six weeks Druids celebrate the earth, it's gifts, it's wisdom and it's guidance. These eight seasonal festivals consist of the solstices and equinoxes - four moments during the year, which are dictated by the relationship between the Earth and Sun and four 'cross-quarter' festivals, which are not determined astronomically, but are related to the traditional pastoral calendar.

I was brought to Druidry through the writings of Emma Restall Orr and her book Secrets of the Sacred Grove, her Druid life through the 8 quarters. It changed my life. And with this the time of endings brings about new beginnings.
It is Samhain October 31st The time of endings
Samhain, means "End of Summer", and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this day. Samhain offers us the opportunity to recognize the cycle of death and rebirth. We reconnect with our ancestors because it is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit realm is very thin.

What am I willing to give up and let die in me?
Dream 2006
I am at my grandmother’s home on Lake Champlain. In the distance on a far off mountain I see a major storm coming in. The storm is lightening, wind and hail. I yell to everyone on the beach to run for cover. People are not listening to me so I go out on the beach and yell again. Finally they see the storm and starting running. Some are caught in the hail and fall to the sand. I run through the hail and grab one of the women and drag her to cover.

The fall has always been a season of deep pain and trauma.  Hospitalizations, suicide attempts and broken relationships occurred this time of year.  In response to the season stress induced depression and neurological pain rears its ugly head. This year is not unlike others. And even though the fall bore witness to deep trauma it also seems to represent something much more powerful and enduring for me. The release and freedom I have longed for. When I allow myself to feel into the autumn’s crisp wind, observe the vibrant colors of leaves as a float off their branches or smell the smoky aroma of a chimney fire I am transported into a place of comfort and hope. It is such an odd circumstance to experience, the yin and yang of the season’s offerings. Often I have been perplexed by this but my dreams and druid life offer an explanation. Although there are memories of personal hurt and pain in the fall, the cycles of the sun, moon and earth whisper their memories of connection and awareness that I unknowingly tap into. I get this now.

Dream 2012
I am in a building and I see a tornado coming in the distance. There are many people outside and they don’t seem to see the tornado. I run outside and yell to everyone. I must find a way to save them, to warn them of this tornado.

In working this dream I am asked to feel be in the tornado while feeling the fear and at the same time feel the desire to do what I must do save those people. This is a powerful predicament because I can’t save the people if I am standing in the tornado. And with that realization there is the feeling of guilt and shame for not trying.  And then the memory appears. I made a promise long ago to save everyone I could because I felt like no one was saving me. I would do what others could not do for me. This promise has guided every decision I made as an adult in relationships and even in career choices. I remember the exact place and time I made that promise. So if I stand in the tornado leaving the others behind I believe I have fail the people and all along I didn’t realize I have been failing me.

But the shadow in me wants to believe that my service to others is my only salvation. If I could only help this person, I would prove to them that they were loved. I didn’t need love. The truth is that saving others was a distraction from myself because I wanted to be loved and didn’t think I deserved it. My dreams are now showing me what I have been running from and it is love. So I stand in the center of the storm feel my fear and let go of saving everyone around me.
This seems confusing yet in archetypal dream work it is the opposites that can be the truth of the journey to knowing the soul some times. So being in the tornado is the way to the truth not running away from it.

For me I celebrate Samhain by giving thanks for the year’s harvest in my life. Whether a gift or a learning.  I ask for guidance from the ancestors in determining my course for the coming year and also what needs to be put aside in order to seed this new possibility of life in me.  Time to give up the promise and make a new one to me.

In the dream the letting go means seeing the old self, the savior and superhero as aspects of me that must be released. In the Samhain ceremony this letting go will be presented to the spirits with the hope of a new life one that is about saving me this time.

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