The Lady of Yule

The Lady of Yule

 

On the night of Yule

The stars shone like jewels

In a sky that was clear as black glass

I was walking through woods

And stopped where I stood

With my heart in a seeming morass

 

Finding sadness everywhere

I was lost in despair

In this season of coldness and death

But my head turned around
As the wind bore the sound

Of a baby’s first in-taken breath

 

I entered a clearing where a fire blazed on

And a woman sat wrapped in warm furs

A child at her breast lay in comfort and rest

And then my eyes gazed into Hers

 

I was lifted above

My heart bursting with love

As I knew Her, the Goddess of Life

Having just given birth

Bringing new life to Earth

‘Twas the promise of the end of strife

 

The sweet newborn child

In this woodland so wild

Was the Hope and the gift that we need

And the Green He shall bring

With the coming of Spring

When the tendril shall split from the seed

 

She spoke to me then in a voice clear as rain

And she told me, “Child, look deep within

For the green in your heart which never departs”

Tears of gratitude rolled off my chin.

 

I met Her that night

And my soul knew delight

That I never would lose Her a-more

For the love that She spoke

In my spirit awoke

And had opened a hard-shuttered door

 

I no longer fear cold

Or the Sun getting old

For I know that the Winter shall fly

And the light will return

It’s the lesson I learned

On a deep and dark night of Yuletide

 

© Lorelei Greenwood 12.9.2012

About The Author
Lorelei Greenwood

A writer since her early teen years, Lorelei enjoys sharing her works with her Pagan sisters and brothers. She has three books in varying stages of completion, one of which will be published in 2013 (From Hallow to Harvest: Celebrations for the Wheel of the Year). Lorelei is also a self-proclaimed Muppet, a breather of fire, and a baker of seriously yummy bread.

Winter Queen

With stately grace and slow, the Winter Queen walks the sleeping land. All has been measured and counted in; the Earth is now at rest. It is not without love that she brings the cold season, but a deep need for silence and sleep. The world has been so busy, occupied with living and growing, and now it is time for slow and quiet. She brings the breath of Winter in her passage, rattling empty branches and sending a skirl of snow over the brown grass. With each step the earth becomes iron; with the cold, the water turns to ice. Her white cloak and gown match her long white hair, glowing a silver-blue under the full moon light as she sends a swirl of frost from her fingertips to line the branches and cover the panes with delicate pictures. Such fragile beauty belies the underlying strength, reminding us once again not to judge too quickly. An owl soars past on silent wings, her presence barely marked by the swift rushing of air. Within the Wintertime trees of the quiet forest, the red deer walks with the Queen, his hooves muffled by the fallen leaves. He pauses for a drink at the stream, and all is still once more. This is the world of the Winter Queen, calm and silent, everything at rest.

About The Author
Lorelei Greenwood

A writer since her early teen years, Lorelei enjoys sharing her works with her Pagan sisters and brothers. She has three books in varying stages of completion, one of which will be published in 2013 (From Hallow to Harvest: Celebrations for the Wheel of the Year). Lorelei is also a self-proclaimed Muppet, a breather of fire, and a baker of seriously yummy bread.

Darkness and Light’s Return: A Ritual for Yule

In the darkness, I hear the wind. It speaks in a timeless language that I have all but forgotten except in my dreams. Here and there a familiar word but all is confusion and mystery. I feel left out, uninformed. There is too much to know and, to learn, to understand, and I am overwhelmed in the face of my ignorance.

In the darkness, I yearn for fire. The black that surrounds me steals my confidence and every sound and lump of shadow turns to threat. There was a time when I knew these things, when I held power over the events of my life. I dare not move for fear of doing the wrong thing, and I languish, unfulfilled.

In the darkness, the deep river of time relentlessly carries me onward, and I am lost in the flow. With no landmarks to guide me, nothing to buoy me, I flounder and choke, my needs unmet and unheard. I’ve lost sight of where I am, where I’ve been, and I don’t know where I am being taken.

In the darkness, the boundaries of the cavern restrict and confine me. The immovable boulders and bottomless holes make the going a perilous venture and impedes my progress. Afraid of movement but unwilling to remain still, my screams of frustration rebound against the walls and are my only company.

You enter this space in darkness on the longest night of the year. Our bodies have felt the impact of the lessening light and have called out for the return of the Sun. Our moods have shifted, and like those animals that prepare for Winter hibernation, our bodies begin to slow down and are less willing to part with the life-sustaining nutrients and fats that we ingest.

Perhaps it is we in this modern age who feel the impact more than our predecessors, as we continually adjust our environments to suit our desires. We need be neither too hot nor too cold; we have sources of light when we wish it and the fortune of plentiful food in great variety in our cupboards or markets or restaurants. Because our sources of artificial light extend our work and play time, our bodies are out of synch with the natural rhythms of the seasons. In the midst of all this comfort, there is still an indefinable sense of loss, whether we are aware of it or not, and we yearn for that which we cannot name.

We all wish an end to darkness, to times of difficulty and pain. We are so fortunate to have so many remedies and entertainments easily at hand, and yet it is easy to take it all for granted. How different would our lives be if, next fall, we chose to store enough food for the Winter and promised ourselves not to buy anything new until the Spring? What if we turned off the television and computer and lived with what entertainments our own minds and talents could conjure? We would find ourselves yearning for foods that we are used to obtaining by the mere passing of paper at an ever-open marketplace. We would find ourselves challenged to create amusements and diversions, or to be filled by those created by others in this world of Hollywood blockbusters and top 40 hits.

Even with the plentitude of pastimes that surrounds us, Winter is dull and without life, and we must look harder to find the beauty of our beloved Earth instead of it being handed to us as though we were spoiled children calling for sweets. Turn back to your younger days and find the wonder again in the intricate patterns of frost on the panes; the dazzling sparkles of ice-touched grass that seem sprinkled with diamonds; the brittle crunch of ice under your boot-clad feet; the safe comfort of home as you come in after a cold afternoon and warm yourself inside and out.

At this blessed Yuletide, we honor the turning of the Wheel as we hear the God speak in His two voices.

(The two halves of the God stand back to back and turn slowly together as they read. The Holly King wears a crown with holly leaves on top -– Oak leaves are on the bottom.)

Holly King: Now We have come ‘round to Winter.

Oak King: Now ends Our time in the darkness.

Holly King: My pace slows as I near the end of My journey.

Oak King: My pace quickens as I eagerly move toward My destiny.

Holly King: On the longest night, My reign ends.

Oak King: On the shortest day, My reign begins.

Holly King: Autumn brought death to the vibrant ambrosia of field and tree and to strong young animals. With them, I laid my head upon the stone most willingly, and with them, died.

 

Oak King: Spring will bring the promise of life while the earth lies in seeming death, and all that fell in sacrifice will be born anew as the earth wakes to again create Her bounty.

 

Holly King: Before me waits My Lady, slayer and Queen. From Her I learn of the true wealth that comes from giving of the Self, and that life continues beyond the certainty of death.

 

Oak King: I sit at the knee of My Lady, Mother and companion, and learn from Her the ways of growth and life and the playfulness of youth.

(The crown is turned from holly-side-up to oak as it is passed to the Oak King’s head)

Holly King: I settle into My rest, listening to the slow song of the sleeping earth, and reflect upon the things that darkness has shown Me.

 

Oak King: I walk strongly into the darkness with the assurance that all things shall pass, and I know that even though I cannot see, I am not alone.

 

Holly King: In the heart of darkness, I submit once more to the Wheel’s turning.

Oak King: In the heart of darkness I take up the crown to bring you light.

Holly King: From the darkness, into light.

Oak King: From the light into darkness.

Holly King: My brother brings the light to make the cold days easier to bear.

Oak King: While my brother brings gifts of life even as the light fades.

Holly King: We are halves

Oak King: Of the same

Holly King: Spinning endlessly

Oak King: Changing always

Holly King: Growing and dying

Oak King: Burning and fading

Holly King: The two become One

Oak King: As the One splits apart

Holly King: Dying

Oak King: Living

BOTH:Again.

Here we honor the passing of the dark and where it has led us. Without darkness, there is no light; without hardship, there is no gratitude and understanding; without pain, there is no relief.

This is a night of choice, a balance point from which the direction of your life will tip one way or another. Do you choose to allow yourself to rest gently in the arms of the Mother? Or do you bring yourself forth into light, birthing into a new world and way of being? The Spanish phrase for giving birth is “dar a luz”, to give to light. What light do you give, and what is given to that light? Do you bring light, share light, or reflect light?

In the light, the whispering trees sparkle with frost like a million diamonds in the shine of the moon. I now know that I don’t have to understand everything – it’s the listening that is important. I am grateful for the dark, as it caused me to accept my limitations and to work beyond them.

In the light, I find the answers and my fears melt in the burning of knowledge, for fear cannot live without shadows. The spark of desire and determination rekindle within me and I have newfound motivation and vitality. Grateful am I for the dark that tested my strength, for I discovered energy and courage I did not know I possessed.

In the light, I see the lines of my life clearly, forward and behind. I am able to release my expectations and accept where the flow of fortune takes me. I am grateful for the dark that took me where I was not expecting to go, and have learned to cherish the moments of my life.

In the light, I carve my own road and mark my passage on those things that sought to block me. The obstacles proved to be places of rest or reflection. Grateful am I for the dark that bound me, for it caused me to break from my self-imposed prison and ill-fitting structures to create a new form.

Grateful am I for both light and dark, for the candle-flame cannot dance without shadow. Though the going is sometimes not easy and we seem to sit in darkness forever, this time reminds us that Light always returns.

About The Author
Lorelei Greenwood

A writer since her early teen years, Lorelei enjoys sharing her works with her Pagan sisters and brothers. She has three books in varying stages of completion, one of which will be published in 2013 (From Hallow to Harvest: Celebrations for the Wheel of the Year). Lorelei is also a self-proclaimed Muppet, a breather of fire, and a baker of seriously yummy bread.

Review: Earth Magic Oracle Cards

I have to admit that I love using the Earth Magic Oracle Cards by Steven D. Farmer! I typically use this deck for readings when something is bothering me, but I can’t quite put a finger on what is causing my angst. This oracle helps me to dig deeper into my psyche and draw out the base issues that are blocking me.

Physically, the deck is not as polished as others that I have reviewed recently. The cards are lightweight with a gloss similar to a deck of regular playing cards. I’ve noticed that they cards tend to stick together and can be a real pain to shuffle. They do not have gilded edges.

I love the card’s back artwork. It is a tree and its mirror image in a pond. It appears to be the tree at dawn and at dusk all at the same time. There is a meadow around the pond, and a bird (possibly a crane?) is standing in the water. The artwork on the back matches the card called “Tree – Grounding”, which is described in the guidebook as representing the work of bringing yourself back into balance with the earth’s energies.

The artwork on the cards themselves is a compilation of many types of art work from different artists. The small guidebook that comes with the deck does give all the artists’ information, just in case you want to find out more about these talented people! In general, the artwork is just gorgeous and inspiring! The images are titled with words describing earthly features (ie: ‘Clouds’), but also natural cycles (ie: “Summer Solstice”), nature spirits (i.e.: “Green Man”), and a few larger concepts (ie: “Love”). Beneath each of the titles of the cards is a subtitle that gives you more direction about what  the meaning of the card is. You can use the guidebook to look up a description of the card to help interpret the reading.

The spread I typically use with this deck really isn’t a spread at all. I just shuffle and then lay out three cards. These three cards go right to the source of my issue, even if I don’t understand what my issue really is! I read the three cards together, so it doesn’t matter what order the three cards land in. I have found this oracle to be very accurate with identifying my concerns just under the surface on my conscious mind and offering me excellent insight on how I can begin untangling my emotions and resolving the issue.

Have you used this oracle? What do you think? Please comment and let us know!

Oracle Author’s Website, Steven D. Farmer: http://www.earthmagic.net

 

 

About The Author
Poppy

Poppy tries to live authentically and in the moment. She shares her life with her dashing husband, darling daughter and curious kitty. She is a Maine native, but is currently living "away." She is a devotee of Hera, and adores birds, forests, and the wind. Please visit her blog Indigo Hourglass.

Goddess, Education, Magick and Spirituality

When you hear someone say anything about the Feminine Divine, what do you think of? What does it mean to our contemporary society in all the various stages and aspects of life?

The Feminine Divine is about returning to nature, about harmony in both the masculine and feminine, yin and yang re-united in balance, about moving forward in our community together.

The Temple of the Feminine Divine is a church located in Bangor, Maine that was founded with the belief that only when the feminine divine is revered equally with the masculine divine there can be balance and equality in human relations, in nature, and upon Mother Earth.

In 1998 Kay Gardner (1942 -2002) and Ruth Barrett co-led 26 women on the Magic, Music and Mystery Tour to England and Ireland. One of their stops was the Fellowship of Isis at Clonegal Castle in Eniscorthy, Ireland. After returning home, Kay decided to start a formal priestess/priest training program in Bangor.  The Temple of the Feminine Divine was officially established and recognized as a church by the State of Maine on November 1, 2001. It was Kay’s dream for the Goddess to once again be worshiped equally with the God. Today, the Temple of the Feminine Divine continues to be a source of support, worship, balance, learning, growing and support to our community.

On November 9th, 7:00 PM at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer, the Temple of the Feminine Divine’s Iseum Musicum class of 2013 is proud to bring you, “G.E.M.S-Goddess, Education, Magick and Spirituality,” an evening of talks, song and drama illuminating the aspects of the feminine divine. G.E.M.S. will be featuring: Reverand Anu Dudley, Ph.D.; Hugh Curran, Ph.D; Women With Wings; Cynthia Swan, M.Ed., LMT, Storyteller; and Veronica Moonstream WolfEagle, RSW, MSW, BFNAC. The night of entertainment will be: “Defining ‘Feminine’ in the Feminine Divine”, “Feminine Divinities in Celtic Tradition”, “Feminine Tradition in the Modern Context”, Songs and Chants of the Goddess, and a dramatic reading featuring some of the members of the current Iseum Class.

Tickets are a suggested donation of $10, more if you have it, less if you don’t. Pre-sale tickets are available by calling the Temple at 207-941-0261 or by speaking to an Iseum Musicum class member. There will be refreshments and a cash bar available.

The Temple of the Feminine Divine is a legally recognized church with ordained clergy and offers public ritual for the eight Pagan seasonal celebrations, as well as a library, meditation space, and religious counseling. They also host the Iseum Musicum, a three-year program culminating in legally recognized ordination. Trained clergy are available to do hand-fastings, welcoming newborns, funerals, and all other rites of passage.

Public rituals on the eight Pagan seasonal celebrations are held at the U.U. Church in Bangor, Maine. Rituals follow the Wheel of the Year, and are generally held on the day of the festival at 7 p.m. All genders, faiths, and ages are welcome. For more information, www.templeofthefemininedivine.org; or on Facebook; email webgoddessess@templeofthefemininedivine.org or call TOFD 207-941-0261.

 

 

About The Author
Emberdragonfly

Eclectic pagan, social worker, mother, grandmother, wife and artist. Practicing psychopomp, lifelong learner, officer in Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Association and The Naughty Pagan Project. Member of the Temple of the Feminine Divine and in the Iseum Musicum class of 2013. Links- www.emppa.org www.templeofthefemininedivine.org

Ethical Consuming

I have been meditating on the ethics of consuming. We as living beings have to consume to live. It is in our nature to use tools, to feed, to create art, to procreate, to preserve and pass on knowledge to the next generation. We are part of the cycle of life. We consume. It is natural.

That said, as a species, our consuming is creating massive environmental disaster. Currently, the rate of species extinction is 100 – 1000 times higher than what we see in the fossil records. There is no place on Earth where the effect of humans isn’t felt. The human population just keeps growing. In my short life of almost 46 years, the population has doubled! Three and a half billion is now seven billion! And everyone keeps consuming. As I said, it is in our nature to live – and living requires consuming.

So where do we draw the line, ethically speaking, when it comes to consuming? Obviously we can’t continue as we have. Within a few decades we will reach the limits of Mother Earth, and then will come the inevitable collapse (and it will be ugly). So how to live now? What is okay and what is not okay? What is the ethical question we need to ask when we consume? My mentor posed this question: “Would it be okay if everyone was did what I am about to do?”

Think on this in all aspects of your life. What if everyone bought what I am about to buy? What if everyone took out of the environment what I am about to take? One quickly realizes that almost everything we consume is unethical.

So how do we live? That I can’t answer for you. Sometimes I wonder if we should live at all. Obviously Nature cannot support the current population; much less the geometric growth we are achieving. But to me, while I have something to offer, while I can make a difference, living is the ethical choice. When I don’t have these things anymore, it is time to stop living and give my body back to the Earth.

We as a species need to fight our own nature when it comes to consuming and procreation. We can do this. We do this all the time. The sex drive is huge. Do we sleep with anyone who says yes? No, we don’t. We negotiate relationship. Most everyone is monogamous. We control the instinct. So I know we can control the urge to consume. We need to separate need from desire. And the most important place we need to do this is in the desire to have children. There is no need to breed. Giving the current state of our beloved Earth, we have to stop procreating. We can do this consciously or we can let Nature do this cataclysmically. Either way, we will have to lower the population. All ethics aside, we have no choice.

These are heavy truths that most people just do not want to think about. We do everything in this country to avoid talking about it. We still have fertility clinics for people to whom Nature has said, “don’t breed.” And we interfere. We add more people when all over the globe there are millions and millions of children who need a home. We have a cult of life in this country. People spend endless resources to prolong life. This time is paid for by the environment. We fear death so much, we sell off our children’s future to avoid it. It is time for this culture to stop making death the enemy. Death is a friend that allows the cycle of life to continue. I forget who said this but it is so wise: “Life shouldn’t be measured by the length but rather by the breadth.”

Why I am writing this depressing stuff? What does this have to do with Druidry? For me it has everything to do with my spiritual life. Learning to live in sacred relationship to the Earth is what this is all about. And the Earth is telling me something. I think we as Pagans can lead the culture in establishing a new paradigm where we walk within the bounds of Nature; considering our actions; considering the future generations; working to restore the ecosystems; ending consumerism; and honoring all aspects of Nature as sacred (especially the importance of death which is currently the enemy of the cult of life). We can do this. We as people whose entire religion is based in Nature, should lead the way forward. If we don’t, who will?

Blessings of peace and simplicity,
Snowhawke /|\

About The Author
Snowhawke

Snowhawke is a druid priest and a native of Maine. He is a student and colleague of Emma Restall Orr, completing her year-long Living Druidry course in the Cotswolds, England in 2006. In his role as a druid priest he is actively involved with pagan prison ministry and is on the Board of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association. He is also the co-founder of the Druid College - A Center for Nature-based Spirituality.

Review: The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards

The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards by author Colette Baron-Reid and artist Jena DellaGrottaglia is a fairly new deck with a strong presence. It was released in 2011 and is distributed all over the world, and it is easy to see why! The cards represent concept words/phrases with vivid, dream-like images. These image and word pairings invite you travel to a different world and delve deeply into your psyche to guide you.

This deck contains 54 cards and a small guidebook. The cards are gilded and laminated with a silky finish. The art on the back of the cards is a drawing of a compass with astrological symbols etched around it and bursting with light from its center.

Truthfully, this deck is worth owning for the artwork alone. The images are so captivating that I highly suggest that you read through the guidebook once, and then just put it away. I have found that the magick of this oracle is that the artist’s fantastical landscapes will draw you in and show you possibilities and pathways.

I recommend that you shuffle the cards well and then spread them all face-down on a table. Run your “receiving” (non-dominant) hand across the cards slowly until you come to a card that makes the tips of your fingers tingle. Select that card, because it has a message for you right now.  Read the card’s guiding words or phrase to ponder as you relax into a comfortable seated position and close your eyes.

In your mind’s-eye, imagine the card slowly expanding into a portal or doorway in front of you. You can step into the card’s realm through the portal and journey to its far-away land. Spend some time here, looking at all the creatures, plants, people, and the landscape itself. What messages do you receive from them?  How does what you see relate to the words on the card itself? What are the connections to your life?

When you are ready, imagine the card’s portal opening once more. Step across the threshold, and you will be returned safely to your own sacred space, carrying with you the new insight and personal revelations your card has shared with you. Allow these images and ideas to settle into your mind for a few minutes, and then write them down in a journal. You may not fully understand them at first, but with time, their meaning may become more apparent.

Of course, you can look up the card’s “meaning” in the guidebook that comes with the deck, but I guarantee you that your journey experience within the card is going to be far more relevant than what any booklet can tell you. Not to say that the “meanings” that the author has attributed are wrong or not thoughtful, but that your mind is the best interpreter with an oracle reading of this nature.

Feel free to share your journey with us here at EarthTides! We’d love to hear from you!

Here’s some links for more information about this oracle:

Author’s website: http://www.colettebaronreid.com/en/

About The Author
Poppy

Poppy tries to live authentically and in the moment. She shares her life with her dashing husband, darling daughter and curious kitty. She is a Maine native, but is currently living "away." She is a devotee of Hera, and adores birds, forests, and the wind. Please visit her blog Indigo Hourglass.

Samhain Prayer

 

In this night

where veils are thinnest

and the cries of our Beloved Dead

can be heard across waves of time,

think upon the past,

see where your feet have trodden,

and learn from the landmarks and trail blazes you left behind.

 

In this night

when Harvest is over,

abundance is gathered and cold awaits,

look to the future,

plan and ponder,

but lose not yourself in the dreaming that is so tempting on these long nights.

 

In this night

where past and present linger

and beings open up to the worlds beyond,

pay homage, do honor,

and count your blessings,

for the waves of time roll on with or without us as we pilot our own boats on this sea of life.

 

About The Author
Lorelei Greenwood

A writer since her early teen years, Lorelei enjoys sharing her works with her Pagan sisters and brothers. She has three books in varying stages of completion, one of which will be published in 2013 (From Hallow to Harvest: Celebrations for the Wheel of the Year). Lorelei is also a self-proclaimed Muppet, a breather of fire, and a baker of seriously yummy bread.

Samhain

 

Today is Blessed Samhain,

And harvest-time is done.

The leaves and fruits have fallen;

Less warmly shines the sun.

The days are crisp and windy,

The nighttime brisk and clear.

Full bellies and full larders –

We slumber without fear.

 

We light the sacred fires

To celebrate this time

And drum the Earth’s own heartbeat

With songs and chants in rhyme.

We sing the Mother’s praises

And send Her off to sleep

And speak of our ancestors

Safely in Her keep.

 

The Reaper does his duty,

His sharpened sickle bright,

His bony charger treading

The quiet streets this night.

The souls of dear departed

The Summerland to find –

And Death collects them, one and all,

So none are left behind.

 

Cry welcome to the spirits

Of our Beloved Dead –

We share with them sweet water

And break the new-made bread.

We share as well the stories,

The memories and tales

That make our dead ones live again

With love that never fails.

 

This last day of the old year

To neither time belongs,

And in a place that’s not a place

We chant the sacred songs.

And in the holy Circle,

From first light unto last,

With laughter and remembrance,

We speak of times gone past.

 

So come ye now to Samhain,

Elder, youth, and bairn.

With loving thoughts and kindness,

Set a stone upon the cairn.

Then clasp the hand beside you,

For soon we shall depart,

And keep the days of Autumn

Full deep within your hearts.

 

About The Author
Lorelei Greenwood

A writer since her early teen years, Lorelei enjoys sharing her works with her Pagan sisters and brothers. She has three books in varying stages of completion, one of which will be published in 2013 (From Hallow to Harvest: Celebrations for the Wheel of the Year). Lorelei is also a self-proclaimed Muppet, a breather of fire, and a baker of seriously yummy bread.

Freedom in the Darkness

In many pagan traditions, Samhain is the New Year. In my own tradition of Druidry, this is not the case. As Druidry is a religion of Nature, all our holidays are but a time to gather to honor its tides, and the flow of the seasons. And our holidays reflect what is happening in the landscape. They are designed to bring us into a more conscious awareness of the cycles of change that are happening all around us in Nature.

For the druid, the new cycle of growth begins at Yule with the return sun at the Winter Solstice. The days begin to lengthen and we are infused with hope for a new cycle of growth. The long darkness begins to abate. Yes a long Winter is still ahead but after the tides appear to stand still, a tiny shift happens and we can begin to see a new current flowing in the landscape, each day bringing a little more light.

In the Druid tradition, Samhain is viewed as a tide. I often refer to this as the Samhain tide instead of just Samhain, as it denotes a period of time instead of just a moment. Nature isn’t beholden to our human calendar. While we may celebrate Samhain on October 31st, that isn’t usually the case for the druid. The Samhain tide begins when Natural death comes to the landscape. It begins when the first killing frost hits. While at Alban Elfed (Welsh/Brythonic pronounced elved, it is the autumn equinox, meaning “light of autumn,” the celebration of the harvest), we consciously kill as we harvest the food we have planted, slaughter the animals we have raised for food, or gather wild mushrooms in the forest. This killing is a choice. At Samhain, Nature does the killing. The growth cycle has ended for the year – no matter if we would have it be otherwise. It is done.

Yet as Nature brings death to the year of growth, a new cycle has decidedly not started. Nature doesn’t work that way where one moment it is one way, then the next it is another. Nature moves in tides. The returning of the sun isn’t for another few months. Yet the days are still growing darker. The power of darkness so prevalent in these Northern climates becomes palpable. It is the strongest force of Nature moving through the landscape – ignore it at your own risk. And it continues to gather strength until we begin to doubt the days will ever grow longer. We feed the fire and ride out this time of unknowing. The time of growth ended, yet no new cycle has started. In Druidry, the Samhain tide is viewed as a time of chaos.

Chaos is powerful energy. At the edge of chaos is where we find the most complexity in Nature. This is a scientific observation. And I also see this within my own soul – at the edges of it are all the complexities of relationship. Diving into the processes of my own psyche and into the processes of my own soul during the Samhain tide is so freeing. As I dream in the darkness, not needing to worry about beginning anything, simply mirroring Nature and what is going on in the landscape, I frequently discover much that was hidden. I don’t dream small. I dare to dream without limits. I can completely let go of preconceptions of what is possible in life. This is the gift of the Samhain tide. This is the gift of chaos.

We dive headlong into Cerridwen’s cauldron of transformation and we are transformed. We let go of the past. Like a serpent sheds its skin, we shed our outdated images of who we are. We let go of the preconceptions we have in our relationships as well, letting others be free from the boxes we try to hold them in. The Samhain tide is an opportunity to go back to source and come out the other side freed from chains of our own creation. Samhain is death. And death is the source of all that is. Metaphorically speaking, the Samhain tide is our chance to walk willing into death and free ourselves of the constraints of all the fixed patterns of our life. Samhain, more than any other of our holidays, is about freedom.

We are often like leaves shaking in the wind, holding on to all that is known. During this Samhain tide, I invite you all to let go. Nature will force us to anyway, but there is power in choice. So my pagan brothers and sisters, let’s flow with Nature, let’s stop fighting the currents, let’s dive headlong into the darkness and embrace this time of change. Let’s swim in the liquid Awen held within her cauldron. Let’s dream without limits and let go of the need to ‘know.’ Now is a time of chaos and unknowing. Let’s dance with forces of death. Let’s be free.

Blessings of transformation,
Snowhawke /|\

About The Author
Snowhawke

Snowhawke is a druid priest and a native of Maine. He is a student and colleague of Emma Restall Orr, completing her year-long Living Druidry course in the Cotswolds, England in 2006. In his role as a druid priest he is actively involved with pagan prison ministry and is on the Board of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association. He is also the co-founder of the Druid College - A Center for Nature-based Spirituality.