Festival words: Samhain

This article was part of a talk given at the Samhain Festival for Triconsciousness.

This is the Samhain – the festival of peace and of remembrance.

A favourite festival of many as the nights draw in and the atmosphere for a celebration marking the beginning of winter starts a season of celebrations.

But this festival marks not only the end of the autumn and the summer’s work but starts a new season – the festival is known as the festival of peace but this peace is not an inactive one.

Our work turns with the wheel, not to the outer manifestation of what our purpose directs but to the time of reflection, gratitude and fertilising the ground of our purpose, to prepare for the seeding of the next wheel of the year, as it turns to support our work.

This is often called the inner work, the work that we do to strengthen ourselves. 

Most do not see it in these terms but that is what it is designed to do – the strengthening takes place in a number of ways. We Strengthen our connection to our ancestors and our guides – reflect in the current ways we work with those around us and thank them for their continued support and look to where we need to do our own work to align ourselves again with the direction of our purpose.

There is an anomaly to this time of year and I want to offer to you an alternative perspective – just for consideration. When I did my research into this year and it refers to this time of year as being a time when “the veil is thin”. It is a phrase that most and even those that sit outside the main esoteric work will know about and bring to mind. 

It is, in this idea, that the alternative thinking fits. There is no thinning of the veil as a physical manifestation between the outward – a physical event that sits outside ourselves. In all the work we do – we are the manifestation of all that comes to us and so if we feel at this time of year that messages become clearer or more prolific then I am assured that this is our will.

In fact for me those messages become clearer at each festival but there is something about this one that “supercharges” this event and has led to the naming of the influence as “the veil”. I believe that it is the power of the collective thought that creates this event. With so many people focused on the ancestors and the understanding of the dead and the other side this collective energy has an huge power of manifestation.

It is therefore not an event outside of ourselves but proof positive that the power of the collective has the ability to manifest events and changes. In this case it is the clarity and abundance of messages and work with the ancestors. Added to this the idea that it is the time of year to honour ancestors and those that guide us it becomes the focus world wide.

I want us to truly understand and know this to be true, to really understand the power of this collective energy. I do not believe that things that rely on events occurring outside of ourselves, to support our work, are always outside our own power. We must rethink the stories that have been woven for our benefit in the past and see with a new clarity, as we are now in a place of growth and power, that we need to embody for the work ahead. It is important that we hold this sense of our own power and our ability to manifest as this clarity and abundance is available to us at all times with the collective power when we call upon it as a body of energy and then to take that understanding and to put it to the best use of the planet and its inhabitants.

This then extends into the next area that we Strengthen our beliefs. This festival is the third celebrations of the autumn period and as we have worked with before this one is the festival of belief. Belief for a reason. We are driven in part by our own sense of self belief and the inner work that I know is the most important to be focusing on at this time is to cast aside any doubt in my own sense of belief. The energies of the time are rising, as we keep hearing and as Sherlock would say. “the game is afoot” and the time for us to tie ourselves up in a lack of belief is going. We will need to step up and take charge fully of our own purpose. We are needed.

If anyone still doubts their own importance in this work then look at where you are. You would not be part of groups like this – any of us- if the universe did not know that we are important and the work we do is important for us as individuals, for us as a group – you are my support and my inspiration and for the wider world. When you feel the insecurity or doubt your value, worth and belief then look no further than your involvement in this group and others and take such “heart” that you have been bought together with all these amazing people because you are yourself amazing. That you belong with all these people you admire because they, like you, admire all those here present. What you feel is felt for you.

Todays meditation and ritual are based around embodying this self belief in yourself, for this is the start point of this time of year  to get this belief down and grounded and then the next areas of strengthening fit in place. 

We are going there but do not doubt yourself and know that there is nothing more important at this time than that you know your own value, worth and embody the self belief you require for all the work you do for yourself, your ancestors, the collective end the world as a whole.

These two “strengthenings” take us to a place where we can Strengthen our intention. This moment of reflection allows us to see where we have come from and the check in on the direction we are taking, those that we are working with and the places we are working in. Give ourselves time to readjust our efforts and to make sure that we are still moving forward in the way we want and aligned with ourselves. If we are working on this that we are making progress as each comes to their work in their own way and own time.

This leads to the fourth and final strengthening. Strengthening our foundation. The simple fact is that without the proper foundations in place we are working without an anchor and that costs us more than we can make to replace it. The focus for this time of year is where we place our energy. The most important resource we have to use, share and replenish. This time is about the replenishment of that energy – to review where we are placing it and to draw it back in and do things that fill up the well of our energetic toolkit  We need this time to regrow and to bed down our resources to draw back in a little and to hold ourselves in preparation for the next turn of the wheel. for though we have midwinter festival still to come it is the festival of Imbolc we are preparing for as the seed is cast and that seed needs to be sown in the the right place, with the right intention and the right seed!

This though is balanced against the astrological year which is showing us that energy is rising and the ground swell of change is quickening. This is going on around us and with us and it is difficult to remain removed, when its impact can way heavily on our own physical life and our security.

Returning though to this idea of rethinking, re seeing stories. I have been given a number of nudges in myself to reflect on what I have taken to be a truth and made a corresponding assumption. As an example, I do work with trees, to understand their symbolism. Not necessarily the symbolism that has been written down but what they, as beings, gift us in our work. When I am drawn to certain trees it helps me understand what I am needing and what is going on for me a signpost from the natural world. Most recently I was drawn to the Blackthorn and realised that in all my research it is a much maligned tree and given dark associations that have built a vision of fear of it.

But my association differs from the traditional view but also associates with the myths around the dark being sinister.

The Blackthorn is the tree of truth in reflection. It helps you see the sharp clarity of truth, when you need to reflect within yourself.

It is often associated with the Samhain period of the year and also with the energy of the Crone, that asks us to see wisdom that is accompanied by the puncturing of an aspect of ourselves that shields us from truly accessing the clarity we require. Much maligned and considered sinister, this tree offers us sight into places we wish we didn’t have to see. Like the thorns that create a fearsome appearance, they offer protection for the fruit, the seed, to allow the final process of transformation to take place before it is ready to move onto the next phase of its growth. Requiring the frost to complete the cycle, this external force can navigate, unimpeded, the thorns to create a sweetness in the fruit and a ripening.

When you feel drawn to the Blackthorn, you are preparing for a period of inner reflection that is required to grow within yourself. Not necessarily always associated with the winter, it is a tree that blossoms early and fruits late, drawing an arc across the whole of the wheel of the year. This period of reflection indicates that there are things that you must now see with a new clarity, a clarity that maybe uncomfortable to see but will change your perspective and ultimately, when accepted, lead to transformation within yourself and setting a new seed in your journey.

Embrace the Blackthorn as it is not sinister but holds the secret of personal transformation.  

So with all I have talked about today I offer you this period from today until Imbolc (Feb 1st) to enter the world of strengthening and belief. Within this period I feel I am being asked to review where I have taken as truth stories about myself, stories about the world that we are now being asked to reflect and review as they will become much more important players in the energetic shifts we are experiencing and for this yet to come.