On Saturday night I took part in an ancient tradition, the autumn bonfire, which we Americans associate with fall, hot apple cider, and possibly football games. But it is a tradition that goes back to ancient times and the Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced Sow-wen), the end of summer on earth and the beginning of it in the Underworld.
Samhain is the Celtic New Year, time when the veil between the world of the living and dead is thinnest and it is said we can see across the maw, a time to honor our ancestors and get rid of that which no longer serves us, by throwing it into the fire. It is celebrated on the eve of October 31 and the day of November 1, the same day the Catholic church calls All Saints Day. They appropriated the day from the traditional pagan worship and made it a grab-bag Christian holiday. (Clever Catholics.)
I've always loved Halloween and as I've gotten older it seems I have found fewer and fewer opportunities to dress up and change my persona. This year with hubby and daughter out of town, I decided to dress up in goddess garb and commune with other women who celebrate the divine feminine.
This night, we chose to celebrate Hecate, my favorite triple goddess, known as the Old One, the Wise One, the one we can turn to when we are at the crossroads, seeking counsel, wondering which way to turn. This is her season. She leads us into the darkness that is now beginning, with her lantern lighting the way. She can see into past, present, and future, the crossroads in which we all find ourselves, at all times.
In the circle, we each let go of something that we no longer wanted in our life. Mine was fear of completing my creative project. We brought in the qualities we wished to bring in or hold onto. Mine was play. We also gave a gift to our ancestors (mine was healing the feminine wound in our family), and we named the ones we wished to remember. On that night, I honored my father, Cliff, and my grandparents, Mamie Marie and Walter Valentine Reichard, Lillian and Charlie Anderson, and my Auntie Drue. Their gifts to me are laughter, speaking from the heart, divining the soul, appreciating the beauty of nature, treasuring the gift of life, and intelligence. I felt the ancestors were with us that night of honoring and healing beneath the full Hunter's moon.
What do you want to let go of?
What qualities do you want to bring in to your life?
What is your gift to your ancestors?
What is their gift to you?
Thank you, Goddess sisters, for gathering to honor ourselves and those who have gone before us.
It is the feminine spirit that is needed to bring balance and healing to this planet and to all creatures who suffer.