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This year, Samhain feels different for me. I am embracing an even deeper connection with the Ancestors, especially as so many close to me have transitioned to that place in the last year. I am feeling a call for a deeper and longer reflective period, and a greater need for renewal and new beginnings.

I typically begin my celebrations at tonight at “traditional” Samhain — at sunset on October 31st (and many may also celebrate this as Halloween) — and continue to “true” Samhain (the precise mid-point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, which this year falls on November 7th), and perhaps will extend it to the Leonid showers in mid-November, which some say marks the closing of the veils between the other worlds at Samhain.

Samhain2The connections with The Ancestors are always so profound for me. I hear them at my altar. I hear them in my dreams. I read their messages in the cards I pull.  And I feel their presence, and that of the Dark Mothers of Winter: An Cailleach, the Crone of Winter, and Hekate, the goddess and guardian of the liminal spaces.

But even though I keenly feel the sadness of recent losses, my feelings at Samhain are not “dark”. Just as one can be alone but not lonely, I welcome the “endarkenment” of Samhain and winter [We often speak of wisdom as coming from the light, e.g. “coming into the light”, “a lightbulb moment” but it also comes from the Shadow . . . from our unconscious or subconscious or deep inner wisdom] and sense the rebirthing that is happening deep within as I contemplate this past year and look forward to the renewal that manifests at Spring.


An ancestral altar honouring my parents

So, I shall start each day at my ancestral altar. Cleansing. Calling in the Directions. Journeying to The Otherworld with my guides and allies. Connecting with the Ancestors of blood and bone and spirit. Releasing. Renewing.

Yes, Renewing. The seeds of renewal are planted deep with the soil of our Inner Garden that will burst forth in some wonderful inspired new way.

In Old Irish, a spiritual voyage or journey, often the subject of great poems, was called an immram  (“ rowing about” or “voyaging”) or, in the plural, immrama. [FYI, there are various spellings including imram (s.) and imramha (p.), from the older Irish iomramh, pronounced uhm-raw.] 

These immrama were both an adventure and a hero’s mythic journey. . .  deeply spiritual, profound, and intense.

This Samhain brings a new immram for me.

As you begin your new journey, a new immram in this new year, perhaps you will find inspiration in these words from John O’Donohue:

“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.”

– From “ Anam Cara”

How is YOUR energy at this time of Samhain,
as we transition from the emotional Water energy of Autumn
to the deeply intuitive Earth energy of Winter. . .
from harvest to stillness. . .
from light to darkness. ..
from reaping to renewal?

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