Blogtober Ends: Samhain Begins

“The road goes ever on and on”. – JRR Tolkien.

Well, the 30 Days of Druidry challenge is over and done, and what a challenge it was! You can see all my 30 Days of Druidry posts by clicking on the tag, and I’m going to collect them all into a page soon so they can be handily read in one place.

Taking on a 30 day writing challenge in the middle of the busiest time of the university year was perhaps an ill-advised thing to do, and I did find myself making heavy use of the scheduling and back-dating functions in WordPress to make a post “each day” when in reality I was writing several at a time at weekends because there was no way I had the time to actually write each day!

But it was an interesting exercise. I find that I think better when writing, and having the prompts gave me the structure to frame my thoughts and think more deeply about Druidry and what it means to me. I hope that it was interesting to read too, of course.

What next? Well, taking a small break I think, and working on getting back into a more sustainable writing schedule, perhaps one or two posts a week. And of course, taking my own advice, and getting away from screens and books and out into nature to practice my Druidry.

Which leads me on to Samhain, the festival that marks Summer’s End, and the ending of one year and the beginning of another. As the Celts marked the start of a day from sunset on the previous day, so many modern Pagans mark Samhain as the end of the year, a time outside of time, beginning a new round of the Wheel of the Year.

Samhain, like the Hallowe’en that supplanted it, is a time of rememberance. We remember and honour our ancestors and those who died, both recent and long ago, and we recall that we too, will die, and return to the earth as part of nature’s great cycle.

Ancestors don’t have to be your immediate blood relatives of course. You can honour anyone who has died who has inspired you, as well as all those who lived and died on the land where you now live, whether you know their names or not.

I have ancestors who I deliberately choose not to honour at Samhain. I am thankful for their gift of life, but I also know that I don’t have to forgive or accept abusive relatives just because they’re dead.

I also honour past pets, for they too are family. My Samhain shrine has photos of Thor and Loki, my first gerbils (the OGs –  Original Gerbs) and a small bowl of gerbil food as an offering. After Samhain is done, I will scatter that food over the flowerbed in which they are buried. I know they won’t eat it, but other animals will, and in a way that brings comfort.

I enjoy the camp horror schlock of Hallowe’en, but also try to find a moment of stillness and reflection for Samhain too. As the end of one year and start of another, it’s a good time to contemplate the year gone by – what have you acheived? What successes did you have? What failures? Whatever setbacks there may have been, I know I survived. I am still here, and still standing, ready to set resolutions and intentions for the year ahead.

I intend to take up my OBOD studies again, to go back to the Bardic course with a beginner’s mind. I intend to contribute to my local Druid grove. I intend to plant trees. I intend to live, to love and to be.

Blessed Samhain to one and all.

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