Sacred space

It’s been a while since I have been in this space. More than half a year. Late spring, plus summer and autumn have all passed on a spinning plate that wobbles somewhat precariously on some of my fingers whilst my other fingers attempt to weave the myriad threads of Day-To-Day Life, and my mind is scattered in a hundred places. And my ears try to attend to quite a few voices.

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Now we are sliding into winter where I live. Samhain-tide, I call this: the time from October’s Vanishing Moon (the waning crescent – the last quarter) to that of November. This winter seems to have come early with that chilly, biting kind of wind that makes you squint and chaps your hands as it dances around you like a playful toddler who wants to have fun but hasn’t quite learnt that teeth and nails hurt people! Samhain-tide is a sacred, liminal time where I say goodbye to the year – and with it the dreams I didn’t fulfil, the mistakes I made and hard memories that I’d like to bury. I picture them mushing into a sludge along with all the fallen leaves then sinking down into the earth, their secrets becoming the lessons that will nourish the seeds that grow next year. I look forward to that renewal.

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It’s a sacred time, these death-throes, and I find it’s easy to be tempted to skip over it and start focusing on the festive season, to start all the planning and making and buying and counting down. The shops lure us to do this from so early on. I find it sad not to give this time it’s own space, that we turn away from whatever song it has to sing – even if it’s not the prettiest song, and is often whispered.

I wonder if a parallel could be drawn between our society’s skipping-over of the year’s dying, and how we don’t talk about – or we make taboo – old-age and death of us as people.

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So I’ve tried to resist the festive magazines and refuse to eat a mince pie yet, until I’ve finished my Samhain-ing. I’ve been connecting with the slowness of this time, enjoying the invitation of the dark afternoons to cosy up and light candles, savouring the remains of Autumn’s beauty. (Like the revelation I had this week of how I prefer the deep red of the hawthorn and rowan berries now to their more scarlet hue earlier on). Protecting space as sacred can be hard though – whether that space is

  • a period of time in the calendar,
  • the “space” amidst all life’s to-do lists for self-care and spiritual practice,
  • personal space when your loved ones need endless hugs,
  • emotional space from those who are wearing you down a little,
  • physical space (say, protecting the nature table from being dismantled by the now-mobile baby!),
  • geographical space such as the land and water that those at Standing Rock are trying so very hard to protect,
  • mental space,
  • creative space.
  • And online space to come here and tell you all about it.

But I guess doing so is part of what makes it sacred.

Welcome back. Happy winter  ♥ ♥

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Samhain

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Harvest Home is what I’ve called this Autumn. Every day. for pretty much the whole season. I’ve just yearned to be at home. Sewing, tinkering about with the arrangement of the house, clearing out, cooking, playing with my son and sewing some more. I’ve just wanted to be at home. I certainly have been out plenty; beckoned by outings to parks and woods, shopping to do, friends to see and my son’s social diary of groups and playdates to facilitate. But my favourite thing has been being at home.

My heart, mind and soul have needed a little care and nurture these last few months. My physical semi-retreat inside these red bricks has probably been symbolic of a retreat inside myself to ask some questions, revisit some memories and say some goodbyes and some thank you’s – soul-to-soul. The rattle of my sewing machine has proved quite an effective tool for journeying to some deep places!

And now, at Samhain, the end of the harvest season, I feel like I really have harvested and brought it home for nourishment and sharing through the dark months ahead. I tend to celebrate the cross-quarter festivals as a tide (why should Yule should be the only festival extended to a tide?! Time to re-write the rules!) I start Samhain-tide today, when a majority of people celebrate Halloween or a similar festival. I mark it to around the time of the first frosts or of November’s last-quarter moon – whichever feels right. I intend for it to be a time of reflection on what I’ve learned, of spiritual work, of journeying and divination, of listening to trees and the whispers on the wind and of remembering with thanks and reverence those who have walked in this world before me.  I feel this as the time of the Hag Goddess. dressed in her dark cloak of mystery. Like most old women, she has much wisdom to share. I hope to have the grace to open myself to receiving it.

I wish you a blessed and insightful Samhain-tide too.  ♥Mo

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