The clocks have gone back, the nights are long, the last of the harvests are now all in... and tonight, it's wild out there with high winds battering our hillside and rain lashing on the windows. It's Samhain, the celtic festival that takes us into the darkest weeks of the year. Summer is well and truly over now.
Yesterday, I spotted a soggy rudbeckia standing alone in the big pot by the woodsheds, the last one, poised to give in to the elements and give up blooming. Today, it was a clump of forgotten about and now decaying poppy seed pods that caught my attention. Aren't they just the most beautiful seasonal images for Samhain? Good reminders, I thought, that this time of year is about reflecting on what has now come to its natural end, honouring the cycle of life and accepting that endings are a part of it.
At Samhain, the veil between Summer and Winter is at its thinnest. The landscape here, surrounded as we are by ancient woodland, is currently a kaleidoscope of Autumn colours intermingled with still plenty of Summer green. In the garden, we clear dead growth and decaying material from the veg beds but we also sow Spring bulbs, garlic, broad beans and next year's sweet peas. Endings and beginnings, death and life are inextricably linked and the festival of Samhain gives us the opportunity to celebrate both.
It is now time for us to slow down, rest and retreat within for a gentle emotional tidy up and release what is no longer serving us well, what will encumber rather than benefit our growth next Spring. It is now time to explore what is in the shadow within us to help us gain a better understanding of our selves... time to reclaim those disowned parts or "personality traits" that went into hiding long ago to keep us safe but without which we cannot now lead a fulfilling and purposeful life. Now is the time to search within us, learning from the experiences, successes and failures of the year, for the seeds of our dreams...
"As the darkness draws near, See the cycle of the year, As the light now goes within, Let the hallows dance begin." Samhain blessing