Saturday, October 27, 2012

Samhain, Spirit and Sacred Story

I'm not Irish (this incarnation), though I've long been fascinated by the culture ~ perhaps because, for me, Ireland defines myth and magic.

I've just read The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog by Patricia Monaghan, who was raised in Alaska and didn't begin exploring her Irish roots until adulthood. Her ineffable prose is tantamount to immersion in Celtic tradition. I traveled lustily with her through verdant valleys and over holy ground, inside the history and mystery of pagan celebrations once subjugated and now reclaimed.

Because Patricia paints a picture of an Ireland still steeped in "the old ways," where the Goddess in all her guises is a formidable presence, her story is a soul-nourishing gift for Samhain, one of the eight holy days that comprise the Wheel of the Year.

In the U.S., Samhain has been reduced to a children's holiday called Halloween, with a focus on costumes, candy and occasionally, mischief. But on the Celtic calendar, Samhain ushers in winter and the mysteries of the dark. October 31st precedes Day of the Dead/All Soul's Day on November 1st, a paean to the ancestors. The dark side — that which is hidden from view — calls us to remember our sacred heritage, as Monaghan so masterfully does in her incandescently rendered soulscape.

Mythologist Kathleen Jenks, an advisor to Monaghan's Black Earth Institute, explains on her own site, Myth*ing Links why this season is an excellent time to explore what is ending, or "dying", within us. What do you need to release in order to move forward in your life? Now, when the veils between worlds are thin, is a ripe moment for each of us to embrace personal and planetary transformation.

And the souls of those who have gone before can still share their wisdom with us, if we invite their collaboration. Astrologer Caroline Casey likes to say, "We cannot live through the dead, but we can invite the dead to live through us." What gifts are asking, aching to be brought forth through you in this quantum moment, when the entire world is awash in tremulous rebirth? How can you shine your brilliance and step fully into your aliveness, passion, purpose and service?

It's time to remove your mask, and step fully into who you came here to be.

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