Is it just me, or is this holiday exhausting? I just spent an entire day in recovery mode from Samhain rituals, gatherings, and events. They were wonderful, powerful, intense, but also incredibly social events. And what else would you expect around Haloween?
But, but….isn’t there something strange about that? Namely, that we are supposed to: simultaneously do very personal ancestor work during this Holiday, and also participate in all kinds of extroverted celebrations. Now, I admit it. I’m not at peace with my mighty dead. Having had a parent pass over recently without having any resolution to our complex, estranged relationship probably plays a big role. So perhaps for others who work a lot with their ancestors, or have a better relationship with them, then it makes sense. For me, I have found opening the gates to the ancestor realm to be exhausting. Useful, yes. Healing, yes yes. But, also very draining.
I guess my point here is simple. Samhain is a loaded time for us pagans, and then you add Haloween on top of it and basically it’s a huge clusterfuck of ritual, party, energy work, slutty costumes, and drunkness. Whoa! See? Too much! I love it, but you know what else? It raises in me the fundamental need for deep self-care and for permission. Massive amounts of permission. To be gentle, to be introverted and quiet. To let the ancestors whisper softly. Or, perhaps to find some other meaning in this time if ancestor work is too much right now. The thinning veil, it can be beneficial to other workings. Divination, kitchen witchery, journaling, rest, contemplation. I give myself permission for that. I hope you do too 🙂
Kala is one of my favorite Feri practices. For those who don’t know, it is a purification rite done by alligning, and then pouring into a cup of water all that burdens you: negative thoughts, memories, blocks, fears. Then, through invoking the Star Goddess and calling in her power and your own breathe, you transform that cup into a healing elixer sparkling and luminous. And you drink it down. More info about Kala can be found here: http://www.feritradition.com/BlueRose/exercise_watercleansing.html).
What I love about Kala is also what is so quintisentially Feri about it. It asks the partaker to be the transformer, the empowerer, the alchemist who by their own will makes magic out of burdens. Who takes their own garbage and turns it into rich, loamy compost. Ready and fertile for new seeds, new growth. It makes me think of the lotus that grows brightly in scummy waters.
This is the relationship with the Gods that I had always been seeking. One where they act as guides, helpers, teachers. Where they stand behind us, holding space and nudging us gently further and further out into our own wisdom, knowing and selfhood. To know that my greatest medicine is that which is already within me, both the good and the bad and the dark, twisted fucked up sides of me as well as the sides of me that are powerful for their ability to transform. I love that. And, also knowing that I don’t have to let go of all of that. I am not trying to move towards a lighter state, but instead a blacker state of innocence. One of greater integration.
Working with Kala has also allowed me to better understand where and how I hold negative energy within me. Where the seat of it is, what I can know and name and what is abstract and hidden. Sometimes I do feel I can name it and pour it into the cup. Sometimes, I ask Fetch is do it, not knowing exactly what “it” is. But always, it is powerful energy work. Working with the Temple of Air this month has really enhanced my powers of expression, and this has helped my Kala practice. Having a clearer mind, I feel better able to call out what I am letting go it, how that energy is being transformed and how it feels to take it in again.
Today I saw a play put on by my nephew’s Waldorf school about the coming of Fall. The teachers and students sang songs about harnessing your inner light to battle the darkness, both as a lesson for life and also as a way to welcome in the Fall.
I know it was written for children, but these themes made my very uncomfortable. What is the darkness these teachers speak of? Monsters under the bed? Scary strangers? Our inner “demons”?
Darkness and lightness dance together around the fire, don’t they? And, this season of the witches is one where the veil is thin. I know for myself, I find it easier to access those dark sides of myself. And for that, I am grateful. I do not battle them. I do not try to shine them out with my light. These parts of myself are juicy and complex and a part of me.
I think of the Flower prayer of Feri: Who is this flower above me? And what is the work of this god? I would know myself in all my parts.
All my parts. I embrace integration this season. I embrace the knowing, the witnessing, the power that comes with the work that happens this time of year. May learning happen. May all be nourished by seeing their true selves. May the cauldron boil over with earth medicine, nourishment and grounding for all so that we may be fully present when we step into our Selves this season, and always.