Thursday, October 30, 2008

Samhain: From Ending...Beginning

Samhain: From Ending...Beginning

It's that blessed time of the year again: Samhain. Samhain was to those ancients the separation of the seasons, dark and light, dead and living. A time to honor those who have passed over, as well as a time to be thankful for the harvest that would carry the people through to the next year.

The seasons were crucially important to our ancestors. They set their times according to them because their very lives depended on it. Without reverence for the creation around them, they understood that they would not have enough food, clothing...or even carry them through the harsh winter months. They understood that the creation must die to live again. That understanding permeated their worship.

And although there are many ways to celebrate, I think many of us have our own special time and traditions. For me, this is an opportunity to take stock of the year: successes and failures. The veil between the worlds is at it's thinnest and it is a time to ask direction for the coming year. Our ancestors stand at the precipice waiting for us to communicate with them. As they pass over, they take with them all of their experiences on this earth. They may exchange vessels, but their souls carry on. And at this time, Samhain, the veil is thin and they are there to give us wisdom and direction in the year to come.

Many of my pagan friends' holy days are steeped in ritual. We find great comfort in the familiarity of them. However, there are times when I prefer spontanaeity to ritual: to talk to the deities from a full heart not leaning on formality. And Samhain is that time for me. I spend my time in meditation of my friends and family who have passed over this year and years past. I think on the year and what I've accomplished and that which has been left undone. And I set priorities and goals for the next year asking the help of the ancients and dieties to bring them to pass.

As the veil becomes thinner, I ask the souls of the departed if they have messages of instruction, correction or hope. And then I listen with my spirit for their offerings. And when all is said and done, I give them offerings of my own to thank them for sharing their time and wisdom with me.

All of these things bring me comfort, hope and help for the year to come, but they also offer me closure for the year passing. Samhain, being the New Year for pagans, causes me to look forward to waking the next morning with hope and strength renewed for the winter months ahead, trusting that needs will be met.

This Samhain, I invite you to celebrate the old and the new. Reach out to those departed with whom you wish to communicate again. And know that the veil that separates you from them will allow you both to reconnect in a way that is mysterious but very, very real. You will find comfort for your soul and wisdom for your journey.

To all, a Blessed Samhain...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This Has Got To Stop

Please click the link above and read the story from Pam's House Blend. Pam has an excellent blog and I follow it regularly. This story stopped me in my tracks, though. In light of the recent fake attack pushed by the McCain camp where one of the staffers reported being beaten by an Obama supporter because of a sticker on her car, one has to wonder why THIS story which is REAL was buried by the MSM.

Nancy Takehara, an Obama campaign worker, was going door-to-door when an outraged McCain supporter grabbed her by the back of her neck, ripping at her hair, and pounded her head. She feared for her life. Over a simple door knock!!!!!! Are you really reading this? You betcha!

The McCain campaign, and especially Sara Palin in recent weeks, has whipped their base into a frenzy and now good people are paying the price for it. It's just wrong, people, and it has to stop. McCain, once an American hero with a reputation for straight talk and honorable character, has reduced himself and his campaign to hate-mongering. And they have yet to do anything about it besides blame Obama.

I don't know whether to be shocked, angry, or both! Dear Goddess, what horrible nature brings a man (humankind) to this kind of evil? And, yes, it is evil. To incite riot and hatred is just plain wrong.

If I wasn't an Obama supporter before all this campaigning, I certainly am now. Obama has risen above all of this, even to tell his supporters at rallies not to "boo." He has taken the high road and addressed the issues. That gets my attention and my vote.

I hope that McCain will realize the path this campaign is on and become a man of honor: denounce all of the hatred and baiting, get control of his attack dog Palin, and be a MAN. This kind of hatred is wrong...and living in America.

Goddess help us all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Autumn in Vermont

What a beautiful scene, isn't it? Have you ever visited Vermont? If not, you really should go. And even though it's the busy season, autumn is not to be missed. How do I know? As a nine year old, I lived in Bennington, Vermont. What a fabulous place to be as a young person! There was a great museum, wonderful rivers, peaceful valleys, century old architecture, and...ghosts!

Yes, Bennington is one of the more ghostly populated places to visit. Why is that interesting? Well, I think it's because as my life as moved from knowing to knowing, being in that place had a great influence on me. It wasn't the ghoulies. No, it was the energy of the place. The energy that said there were those we didn't see but were all around us.
The church I went to with my folks was a wonderful white church on a hill. It was old. Very old. The pews were the old timey kind that were family boxes - with hand made latches and plenty of carvings by those who occupied them. When it was quiet, you could hear the voices of spirit beings and see shadows of long-forgotten people. Sometimes, when you turned around to look at where the choir sat in the balcony, you could hear voices in song even though no one was there.
I loved to walk through the cemeteries and read the stones and imagine the lives of those who lived before me. What were they like? Were they happy? Was it difficult for them? Did the harsh winters bear down on them and did they go hungry if the weather failed? And did they look at the colors on the leaves and run their hands over the leaf veins sensing the water giving life as it coursed through? Did they wonder who or what was beyond the mountains around them?
So many questions for a young child.
But those questions have served me well and brought me through to places I would have never dreamed. I can still walk through a cemetery and be filled with wonder and be overwhelmed by the spirits of those reposing under the sod. I still hear the voices of the spirits, and sometimes see them dart by. And when I do, I fondly remember the spirit choir of my childhood church. Now when I see children I wonder if they have the same curiosity with life that I did as a child. Or have we allowed our children no place for wonder and imagination in the harsh world we've created?
Even now, I marvel at the seeds of a dandelion, the ripple of water against a rock, the sound wind makes as it whistles through the trees. And although I have had my dark moments in this life, I find myself coming back around to those things that were important to me as a child. It's easy to get caught up in "reality" and lose sight of eternity. How I long to have the knowing I had as a child; to see the "imaginary friends" who were there in spirit speaking to me. There was a thin veil between here and there when I was young.
Who were you at that tender age? Could you sense the spirit world around you? And if you did, why has it faded? Is it because it was not real? Not at all. It has faded because we let the cares of this world drown out the reality of the otherworld. So I encourage you to find a peaceful place. My peaceful place was that old church and cemetery in Vermont in the beauty of autumn. And in finding that place, allow yourself to feel it completely; mindfully.
It is in that peaceful place that we find rest and the wisdom of the sages.
(And I'm doing my darndest to get back to wonderful Vermont. I can feel it calling me, just as my ancestral Irish homeland does. One day....)