“Each person who follows his or her own light is a light in the web. When what we do grows out of inner conviction that whatever it may be that we choose to do in a moment or in our lifetime is meaningful, there is soul in the choice. Who we are inside needs to find authentic expression in how we live. The love we feel for what we do brings us joy. The belief in the capacity of the human heart to love in spite of the expressions of despair and hatred that we see happening keeps that light glowing. It has to do with keeping faith; to believe that we matter and can make a difference, or even act as if this were so until it becomes an inner conviction…
Within ourselves and in the world, there are cynical forces that try to snuff out the lights–to make us distrust our intuition, devalue the wellspring of perennial wisdom that the soul otherwise naturally drinks from, and in fear choose power over love.” –Jean Shinoda Bolen
Happy Lunar Samhain, friends. Samhain marks the end of the growth or soul year, when we honor the organic lessons of nature that teach how endings are a necessary arrival for they allow movement towards new beginnings…
I have been so gently, wholly moved by the natural magic of this harvest season. On the First Harvest or Lunar Lammas full moon, I greeted the day with a women’s mystery sister on a walk around our local pond. I gathered roses from a bush near a Veteran’s Memorial there, where three of my four grandparents have pavers. I added the roses to the medicine blend in honor of ancestors. Later, on the walk, we tended the appearance of Grandmother Spider in one of my sister’s dreams, and likewise in one of my sacred imaginal journeys.
That same afternoon, after sitting with a different women’s mysteries sister, I found a large, dead brown spider right inside the entrance to my office door.
Spider Medicine: We, the Weavers of Our Own Webs…& Web Medicine: The Interconnectivity of All of Life. I couldn’t help but think of this special message when I read the above portion from the book Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen last week.
As harvest season continued, on the last day of summer I caught without planning to perhaps the most stunning red sunset I’ve seen all year. At dusk I found an alter of corn stalks left by squirrels at the base of an old growth tree in my honey’s front yard. On the final harvest moon two weekends back, I happened to be with my top favorite fairy godpeople, my little nieces, for the most awing full moon rise. But before we witnessed the mama come over the treetops in all her rust orange glory, my eldest niece asked me if I wanted to “corn” with her. Curious as to what she meant, I said an eager YES and was led to the back yard where my brother had a pile of corn stalks he’d harvested from a neighbor for seasonal decoration. My niece grabbed an ear from a stalk, and started separating each piece of corn. She led me around the yard, “corning” which she described to me as “giving corn” to the different flowers and trees and animals that she loves, so that they know she loves them and to always come back.
And so it is I wanted to remind everyone of the importance of making offerings. In April, at a Maryland Counseling Association training on how to bring Native practices to native and non-natives in mental health, our presenter shared some important Ogichidaa or warrior wisdom sanctioned for teaching to therapists by the Ojibwe people. Offerings are classically herbs that have been gifted, either from the earth or from another person, that are then blessed and given in ritual and thanks back to the earth, to ancestors, or to the Divine, or for ceremony. In paganism, this is the wisdom axiom of nature abhors a vacuum or the law of equivalent exchange. Meaning, we never make requests, or even take for granted connection to Mother Earth or Mother Nature, or to the Divine or Ancestors, without making gratitude offerings of some sort.
It is my lived experience–which in my practice of sitting with people therapeutically I call Wisdom: your lived experience–that reverence for Life and Living that includes offerings always, always shows back up in the sweetest, most whimsical ways. Usually at the magic or seasonal tides!
Like getting invited to corn–to make offerings :)!!–by an 8-year-old.
As we near to the End of Harvest Season–traditionally celebrated over Halloween and through November 1st and 2nd or All Saints and All Souls Day–recall that this is the time that we honor our Ancestors. Not just our biological, but those who are the benefactors of you: your profession or calling, your place or hometown, your spiritual or religious traditions, or any other example of those whose lives and legacies made yours possible.
This is the magic of Samhain.
This Sunday is Lunar Samhain. It is the dark into new moon that occurs in the sun sign of Scorpio. On the women’s mysteries path, Lunar Samhain is the yearly archetypal force signified by the energy of the monthly balsamic or dark wane of the moon. It will feel like a quickening this week into a traction or holding in place time starting todayish until the moons moves to new. This is the traditional pagan new year in a number of traditions. It is a time to value reflection on your whole year, completion, letting go of old forms (d e a t h), making space, going deep into the dark or void chaos space, and R E S T.
We are now NorthWest on the Medicine Wheel of the Seasons of the Year, or midway between Fall and Winter.
It is a fire festival that reveres keeping the inner light of the soul always tended, especially as we descend closer and closer to peak dark. In soul work, it is a time of great alchemy, when we tend by letting go, grieving, celebrating blessings and harvests, and most of all considering the psychological seeds we gather and sow now, based on the lived experience–or wisdom–of our complete harvest cycle.
Of what, who we were, how we lived, what we grew in our lives this year.
What do we let go that new growth may flourish?
How well are we at embracing our inner darkness, at embracing the unknown?
The what is yet to come…
What do we need to do to bring light and L O V E to these areas?
My dear sister and I have a long term tradition of close to two decades now of soaking from scratch, and blessing and preparing, black-eyed peas or hopping johns for beneficence and good luck and love in the new soul year to come.
I encourage you to come up with your own ritual, ceremony, or ways of celebrating or tending that feels alive and meaningful to you, or that maybe comes to life out in nature for you, too!
Be well, dear friends. Be good to you!
Don’t let them tame you!
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