In the Celtic Tree Month calendar, September 30 to October 27 is the Ivy Moon, the final moon before Samhain. Although I personally do not follow the Celtic Tree Month Calendar — a 13-month lunar calendar inspired by the Ogham tree symbols and popularized by Robert Graves (and largely debunked by Celtic scholars) — it does provide an interesting framework for our soul work throughout the year and, for some, an introduction to the trees and plants held sacred by the Celtics.
Although not a tree, Ivy (Gort, in the Ogham alphabet, pronounced go-ert) wanders freely
amongst the trees, hedgerows and man-made structures… lush and wild, connecting the landscape with its tenacious tentacles. This hardy evergreen can grow almost anywhere, especially places where few other plants can thrive: up a wall, around a tree, adding interest to an old fence. As seasonal greenery disappears in the autumn months, the ivy brings colour during the winter snows and reminds us that life goes on. Ivy can live and thrive even after its host tree and support has died… a reminder of the cycle of life, of birth, death, and rebirth.
Ivy reminds us to look at the connections in our own life — and I love the synchronicity as it echoes my theme for this lunar month of “weaving the threads of our life” — and how the turning of each month brings enlightenment, wisdom and, yes, magic.
Ivy is associated with the Divine Feminine, and symbolizes both protection and the banishment of negativity. Consider working with Ivy this month, letting it inspire you to raise your awareness to any negativity in your life… and then banish that negativity to allow positivity and new ways of being in the world to flow in.
This simple healing ritual for the Ivy Moon, originally shared in the Journey to the Goddess wordpress blog (and adapted every so slightly by me!), may support that process by providing new insights into challenging experiences and opening up a new path for moving on. Of course, the best rituals are ones that resonate with us, so let this basic ritual inspire you to adapt in your own way.
Begin and end your ritual in your preferred way. For me, that would include cleansing my sacred space, grounding, and calling in my guides, allies and ancestors. Once complete, I close in the way I opened, being sure to give gratitude to my allies for their support in the ritual. You may want to keep your journal handy, to write notes during and after the ritual.
To perform this ritual you will need:
- A piece of paper and pen
- A white candle
- A fire-proof dish
- On your paper, write a list of the challenges you have experienced in the past year. This could be anything from disappointments, missed opportunities or failures to illness and losses.
- Once complete, note your thoughts about each. . . how you feel about that challenge, and what it changed in your life. But also note what doors it might have opened, that weren’t possible before. In every ending there is a new beginning. Note what you have gained from that experience. For instance, when I had my total knee replacement surgeries, painful as the experience was, I learned that, “I am resilient. I am strong. I can restore my health”
- Light the candle saying, “This flame represents my faith in the universe. I give thanks for the lessons I have learned.” You can also craft an affirmation in your own words.
- As you burn the paper, feel the release of these challenges and the gratitude for what those experiences brought into your life. Feel yourself grow stronger.
CAUTION: Practice fire safety. Be sure to do use the candle with care, and ensure that all flames and embers are fully extinguished upon completion.
You may find that this is not a simple “one-session ritual”. Reassessing one’s life — or one’s year — is deep soul work, and you may find that some challenges are deep and have been life-long, whilst others release quickly . . . and that the gain is not readily apparent. But you will find it. And do not be surprised, or alarmed, if sometimes the deep shadows, once released, uncover more and even deeper soul work. When digging in our Inner Gardens, there can be a few weeds and deep roots.
I can speak from personal experience. Since last Samhain, I have been experiencing an annus horribilis, a horrible year, with many losses and illnesses within my close circle of family and friends. Yet there were many bright spots and moments of joy, and support for all within that circle. Painful as much of this past year was, I’m learning the lessons from these experiences and recognizing what is opening up, what I gained . . . and hopefully ushering in a wonderful year, an annus mirabilis.
Honour the process of healing by working at your own pace.
Ivy on fence: Author’s own, photographed in Kitsilano neighbourhood, Vancouver BC