As Samhain is approaching I am afraid less and less. The gap between Air and Earth elements within me lessens. I have been thinking too much lately, unable to land and stand still, but I have learnt over the years that sometimes this is necessary to do if anything for the sake of noticing what tends to happen within and at what times. I needed to hold all possible thoughts in my mind to be able to work things out and yes, it can become tiring and overwhelming, but with applying awareness it is possible to slow the process down. What helps the most in these instances for me when I know some part of this process is necessary, but I can also feel myself being swept away with it, is walking. Walking slowly and mindfully, connecting with the natural world in a physical sense, e.g. touching tree branches and feeling the earth underneath the feet, picking up leaves and pressing them against my face. This time of year always creates a build-up of various energies and can feel ‘too much’. We can become vulnerable and even lost, but throughout it all every time I feel that strong support that only the Goddess can provide. I am familiar with the part of myself that is deeply knowing, trusting and calm. It is the time for re-birth and transformation, quite big metamorphosis. I have been dreaming of a surge in my masculine energy, as well as parts being ‘killed’ off, but the most important vision this year is the one with Baba Yaga holding a huge egg of potential in her hands. She is guarding and protecting it for me while also smirking and laughing wickedly into the cold air of approaching winter and tells me to trust, to rest and be open. She tells me ‘no’ only in a way she can and I understand it well. What she means is to be patient and drop demands for answers, as they won’t come when in a restricted state. It needs to relax to receive. She also reassures as always that we all know what we need. All that is needed is for us to stop trying to get in a way of things flowing naturally.
I feel very exposed at the moment yet allowing and not afraid. Baba Yaga always shows me how inner wisdom can be extracted with some sitting quiet time, perseverance and looking for knowledge within ourselves. She holds all the wisdom of the world yet she would never give it away freely, instead she waits for the one to discover it within themselves. She is not withholding, she is protective and encouraging in a way that makes you want to achieve, know more and pursue whatever feels right at the time.
I feel stronger this year, more in line with the energies of the earth than ever before and allowance of things to flow through is truly the key to a peaceful way of being even in times of challenge.
Blessed Samhain, everyone, and let the next year be prosperous, insightful and fulfilling on all levels.
At the door of Samhain what often becomes open to us are our own abilities, gifts and things that we had always known but haven’t utilised or engaged with either recently or ever. It is a magical time when we naturally align with what is truly ours. I feel more myself at this time than at any other time during a yearly cycle. It explains my birth date and my spiritual beliefs based on the wheel of the year and seasonal and elemental connections that I live by. I am not alone in this either and what I find profoundly present at this time of year is women in general coming into their own whether you are aware of it or not. Many of us love autumn, we feel stronger, fresher, more rooted in our beliefs and responsibilities. We know well how to be with families, friends, children and partners. It is as if we step in our innate power and it feels comfortable.
This time of year is not without its challenges, however. Even though it feel
Magically charged, injected with confidence and knowledge of our direction we can still get derailed by things we don’t want to be encountering. Precisely that is when interferences will occur and some questions within us will arise, which we can not ignore, questions that need answering. It is the last part of the year and an opportunity to look at what we really need to leave behind and what needs to die within us, so we don’t drag it with us into the new cycle. It is the last chance this cycle to have a clear out.
Some of the themes for me this past few weeks had been about looking at my beliefs, my convictions and my choices going forward. Clarity and simplification. Self-care fundamentals and focusing on others. Rebirthing my magical self that’s gone to sleep of late. Getting out of my own head and becoming lighter and quieter in every sense. Working on it all required pure honesty to the point it felt like parts of me needed to be modified, removed or adjusted somehow and I felt that physically. On several occasions my hands would go into spasm of a sort like something would be realigning within, which I have allowed. It is a scary yet empowering process. I have had dreams of suggestion of huge transformations inside and out, the kind of dreams that make you jump out of bed. Things have been changing within and around me and I have been remodelled into something already known, not new, but not previously utilised or something better equipped going forward. The process is not over yet but it is coming to an end in the next two weeks, which will mark Samhain first and then my 42nd birthday, a significant number in my personal spiritual journey.
Whatever is happening with everyone around the universe I wish you all safe, glorious and beautiful transformations this season.
The wind is tangled in my hair and my bones are injected with the last sap of warm sunny days. I buzz with energy once again as we go deeper into autumn and Samhain gets nearer. I can feel myself touching other realms with my senses and ancient talk fills my ears. Communication with ancestors is made easier through a very sharp and clear mind and vision that allows me to see past the veil. I am surrounded by whispering energies and tingling sensations in my hands tell me magic is back. Magic is waking up from within me and ready to express itself in wild musings, deep ritual and spell work that makes everything in my life alive with energy and knowing. I cook, I walk, I dance and sing and read into the late hours of the morning. I am hungry for living and content with what it and who I am. This time of year is always grounding, safe, protective and wise. Autumn is an Earth element season for me and an open invitation to go deeper into my roots and into the layers of the underworld where darkness holds gold for me to treasure.
Image: Waterhouse, The Magic circle (one of my favourite paintings)
Heavy mist descended on the golden landscape making trees stand heavy with leaves hanging still on their branches. It is quiet, frozen, there is no wind and birds settled quietly amongst the foliage as if waiting for a change. The change can be felt in the moist dense white air, which looks like a veil. How timely for Samhain. Its atmospheric covering of the earth brings a sense of mystery, some sadness and stillness, something is to come.
Yesterday I felt like I didn’t know what day it was. It seemed like the day either shouldn’t exist, like it was an extra day, added on to a week, or that we skipped a day somehow. A strange sense of space and time not existing. I also felt like I was floating and had an incredible desire to be silent, still and even amidst noise and chaos of family life I found myself in a quiet state, not wanting to say much. Similar to a sense of peace, but not quite. More a sense of expecting for something to come out of the silence, really listening to what was happening within me and around me, like being here, but not being here. Perhaps, a sense of being in-between the noise and the quiet, down and up, visible and non-visible. It is reflected in this foggy presentation outside today.
Today I feel anger coming through me, a sense of justice is strong. Honour and loyalty are qualities at the forefront of my mind. I reflect on it. These qualities are ancestral in me, I had discovered. They are innate and most precious. They are associated with warriors that fought a long time ago for the freedom of the land. It is all about the land looking back for me and it is all about freedom. Many warriors, clans of men and women that stood together against those imposing restrictions and unfair laws on the land and its people. They fought bravely in many battles over centuries with a sense of honour, reverence for the land, its landscapes and died with deep loyalty and dignity holding no regrets for lives well-lived. I do consider those lives the most valuable, those, who fight for what’s right, for what it is to be free and able to live how we choose. Today, many fight for the same rights, for the environment, protecting our landscape and species. I am one of those warriors in the making, I feel. I have a lot to learn and excited to be on the journey of discovering my role.
Today I honour Cailleach and the landscape that she walked upon and shaped from the beginning of time. She was an old, giant woman with blue skin and huge boulders in her apron. She walked the landscape of Scotland and Ireland protecting its waters and creating rocky mountains by dropping boulders as she walked. She was a protector of deer and would bestow warnings on those disrespecting species and the land. She watched over wells of the land and it has been told that once she forgot to close one and lakes were created as a result. Stunningly beautiful stretches of water, Lochs of Scotland we see today and enjoy their splendour. I am forever grateful to her for creating and protecting the land my soul calls home. I fall at her feet and bow with deep loyalty in my heart and willingness to learn, listen and carry on her lessons through years to come.
There is an ancient site hidden in Glen Lyon, Perthshire, Scotland where to this day a ritual takes place in honour of Cailleach. It is said that this could be the oldest pagan ritual to survive to this day. The stones outside the shrine representing her family are to go back in at this time of the year only to be taken out again in spring. How beautiful and I was struck with love and reverence when I discovered this existed. I vow to visit the place as soon as I can. It is also under threat of having roads built all around it in years to come, which carries a possibility of it disappearing, however, perhaps, many earth warriors will protect it and continue making it a treasure that it is for many generations to come and visit and see. Perhaps, I might be one of those warriors.
This year I contemplated and read up on who ancestors are and how we honour them at the time of Samhain. There are several types. Beloved dead, ancestors of family, land, spirit, culture and history. I found many interesting accounts of what it is like to connect and honour ancestors and it doesn’t always have to be blood relations, but many who lived centuries before us, those that inspire our spiritual path and whose presence runs through our blood every time we are in touch with either a certain place, landscape, song or a ritual.
My other line is with the magical people of this world, the healers, those in deep relationship with nature, plants and animals of the land, rivers, forests and mountains. Wild people living off the land and communing with nature during all its cycles. This is deep within me having come from a line of nature people, who held knowledge of intuition, magic, herbs and forests. Those that knew fairy tales and folk stories and sang songs of ancient origin and held rituals of many kinds. This line of ancestors connects me back to Siberia, Russia, where I was born, but also again to Scotland. There is another site, which I hold in mind today, Maggie Wall Memorial, a monument to witches executed in the 17th century. No one knows how, when and who constructed this monument and who paints letters fresh to stop it from fading. I am glad this exists, I feel touched knowing there are people around, who understand the deep meaning of this, a sense of history misinterpreted and cruel deaths of those, who were essentially healers. I remember them today.
Maggie Wall Memorial
So, this year for the first time I am consciously and knowingly choosing to remember two specific lines of ancestors, those not of blood, but of land and spirit. Their presence I feel strongly, they come as clear images showing me scenes from their lives and battles and those that speak to me through symbols, dreams and imagination to guide me on my path towards even deeper relationship with all I hold dear in my soul.
My ways of celebrating are setting up an altar for Samhain with objects relevant to ancestors I refer to above and Cailleach. Setting up a fire outside and throw some rosemary into it giving thanks to all that came before me and releasing what needs to die at this moment with adding some fallen leaves to the flames. Burning rosemary oil in the house to invite beloved ancestors for protection and guidance for my house and family. Divination with cards and mirrors, as well as, creative journeying to meet my ancestors and receive specific messages they might have for me. For my Siberian roots I reflect on the time of autumn in that land and remember silver birch forests covered in gold and ruby-red. I bring back its smell and feel and look back on all the times I came into contact with that landscape and those around me during those times.
This year I don’t feel death all around, I feel deep and loving connection. I feel life and with that I feel hope. Through death comes life and through life comes death. There is a direct link between one and the other. I feel both. Winter turns into spring and back to winter again cycle by cycle, life by life, we continue on our journey of dying and being re-born.
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