The Cailleach

Samhain Altar

Greetings of Samhain from Ravensdale (Glen Na Fiach) the valley of ravens, located at the foot of the Cooley Mountains outside Dundalk.  For many people, living in contemporary society, November, the beginning of the Samhain season is feared and unwelcomed. Many wish to avoid the darkness and inevitable death that is associated with Samhain . Yet to see Samhain only through this lens is to miss a great opportunity for our growth and unfolding. The Celtic Year begins its journey, as do all life journeys, in the darkness.  Samhain, on November 1st, is the first and most important festival of the Celtic year; it is the gateway into the dark half of the year when the earth is fallow and death is present everywhere in the natural world. The season of Samhain when embraced offers the entire natural world including us humans an opportunity for deep healing rest and renewal. On November 8th   I, together with Stephanie, May, Maura, Ann, facilitated a ritual to welcome and step into the season of Samhain and to be initiated into the energies of Samhain.   We welcomed our ancestors to join our circle since at Samhain the veils between the worlds is thin and it is easier for our worlds to commune with each other.  We thanked our ancestors for their lives and the gifts they passed on to us.  During our ceremony we celebrated all that had been lived and achieved in different aspects of our individual lives during the cycle of the past year Samhaintime.  We released into the Samhain fire for transmutation traits from our ancestral line that we sensed were impacting our ability to live our true potential in our present lives.  Traits such as shame, betrayal, victim consciousness, poverty consciousness  and addictive patterns were released.  At the festival of Samhain, we are initiated into the mysteries of the dark goddess the Cailleach aspect of the feminine energies.  The journey into the season of Samhain requires a dying of what has been, to let go of all that has been harvested up till now and a willingness to embrace the resultant void created by its absence.  We are offered an opportunity to return to her transformative cauldron and to allow ourselves to sink into the being-ness of that place of our potential rebirth and re-emergence. The cauldron is a central metaphor for the void in Celtic Mythology.  This is the place where we bring those raw or unpalatable aspects of self, the difficult events of our lives, to be slowly transformed during the winter season by the healing energies of the Divine Feminine in her Cailleach form.  In this place deep healing and transformation can take place allowing the emergence of a new possibility at springtime. This aspect of the Goddess can often seem ugly or harsh to us because it challenges us to relinquish much of what we are attached to but which no longer serves our deepest self.  Even as this tough mother love challenges us, it also holds us in a wise, loving and compassionate embrace. This is the opportunity and challenge offered to us by the season and the energy of Samhain. In order to travel successfully and safely into and out of this dark season, we must learn and embrace the qualities that will support us in that journey.  So may you embrace this Samhain season in such a way that you become the seed of your rebirth


Le gra agus beannachtai Dolores


" Do not ask what the world needs rather ask what makes you come alive then go and do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive" Howard Thurman