It's the time for taking stock, not in a counting your chickens sort of a way, but in that looking under your skirts to see who's really there way. For being kind to yourself - sitting on the sofa with a book when it's raining, singing gentle songs to the mist in the morning, or going and gathering great armfuls of kindling in the bright soft afternoons, full of the rustles of dry leaves falling through nearly bare branches.
Death is inevitable, as immutable as change, in fact in many ways it is simply change. We see it as final and frightening and to be mourned and feared, but what's happening really? We are changing our state, crossing a threshold from embodied to not. It will come for all of us, but that does not mean it has to be unwelcome. Every part of life has it's deaths; from the big seasonal ones, to full moon and dark, the ending of the day or the turning of the tide.
Life, while we have it, is full of all those smallish but possibly painful deaths; relationships over, friendships petered out, jobs done-with, projects finished. There are all the things we have used up and thrown out, all the things we've eaten and even all the things we've wasted. Glasshouses full of the things we have forgotten to water.
But best are the deaths of those aspects of ourselves that we no longer need or better still the ones we no longer want, that we can relinquish freely and with an open and loving heart say "Goodbye, I hope you never come back." We can bow our heads quietly at dusk and say thank you for the lesson, thank you for the gift of my life, thank you for all that I am and all that I have.
Samhain is the time when we remember the dead, and in the remembering of the dead as a society we conjur shadows and shades, the ghosts of the past. Whilst these ghosts and shadows have been part of what has created our present, and whilst I encourage you all to remember your dead, with love if you can, I feel that it is the shadows of the present that we should be really looking at. It seems like the work of the moment is to let them out of the cellar, the cupboard, out from under the bed, and have a really good look at them.
We all know the truth of the pop-psychology that says that what you hide in your basement will go crazy and then run amok in your life - we see this writ large in our lives at the moment: There are a myriad of ways our cultural shadow is being shown to us every day, just flip to facebook, twitter, turn on the TV, be appalled at our behaviour. And when you have finished weeping (and I urge you to make it a very short but effective weep, the kind that makes your face clean and your clothes wet, that wrings out the stored up griefs, too small to mourn on their own, the little ones that accumulate. The kind of weeping that torrents wildly though you and brings in it's aftermath peace.) weeping over fracking, nuclear power, refugees, the patriarchy, violence against women, the Dakota PipeLine and all that is happening at Standing Rock, the list goes one and on, so many reasons to weep. Then let's peck the flesh from these old bones and make them bare, let's look at what's hidden inside, let's really, really stand and face ourselves in the mirror
And then let us remember:
Everything is made up of the same stuff.
Everything is connected.
And so if each one of us takes a good look at what we'd like to let go of, especially core beliefs. Extra especially if those core beliefs reflect the culturally held core belief that our Earth is simply a resource to be used.
If we all ferret about under our metaphorical beds and find the things that need to come out and be looked at, and that then need to die. (Not everything under there needs to die, but I humbly suggest that it all needs to be looked at and given a good clean and a home on a shelf somewhere you can keep your eye on it.)
Perhaps we can grow something beautiful and useful out of the compost we will make.
May a good vision catch me
May a benevolent vision take hold of me, and move me
May a deep and full vision come over me, and burst open around me
May a luminous vision inform me, enfold me.
May I awaken into the story that surrounds,
May I awaken into the beautiful story.
May the wondrous story find me;
May the wildness that makes beauty arise between two lovers
arise beautifully between my body and the body of this land,
between my flesh and the flesh of this earth,
here and now,
on this day,
May I taste something sacred.