Samhain; Betwixt and Between

Originally published November 1, 2017

Aspens at Twilight by Nancy L

Certain times in our lives are filled with potency and magic. Twilight is such a time, as is dawn. These are magical moments when it is neither day nor night. Birth is another potent in-between time, along with death. These special times mark borders and transition zones. The in-between is a sacred time when magic is afoot.

Here in the northern hemisphere, we find ourselves on the boundary between autumn and winter. The light is slowly fading away as our Sun drops lower and lower in the sky and our nights grow longer. This is another potent in-between time. The ancient Celtic people would celebrate Samhain (Sow-in) at this time.  Some tribes chose to celebrate at the 1st new moon after late harvest (November 4th, 2021). Other tribes celebrated at the 1st full moon after harvest. The celebration of Samhain was a beautiful way to honor the seasonal  transition out of the light and into the dark.

The veils between the worlds grow very thin during this sacred in-between time.  Loved ones who have departed this Earth are believed to be nearby. Many people in Mexico honor this by celebrating Dia de los Muertos  (Day of the Dead) at this time.

Samhain is the perfect time to acknowledge and celebrate the sacred cycles of birth – growth – death – rebirth that are an integral part of Nature.

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Some suggestions for acknowledging and honoring the magical in-between time of Samhain:

Take a few moments to honor everything you have “harvested” this year.

Bow to your ancestors and thank them for giving you this life.

Offer love and prayers to loved ones who have transitioned.

Thank the brilliant light of summer and embrace the deep dark of winter.

Listen for spiritual guidance to help you in the coming year.

Wheel of the Year

A Prayer for the Earth

May I trust in the wisdom of the plants and the animals and the water.  May I hear the message whispered in my ear that is for me alone.  May I live with confidence that my soul is eternal and my heartbeat and the heartbeat of the world are one.  May I remember the Earth is my Mother.  May I feel my hand in Hers and have no fear.  May I welcome the gifts that come my way.

~Linda Heisel

Irish Waters by Nancy L

Natural Love

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

~Billy Collins, Aimless Love
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Image by Nancy Lankston

Solstice Eclipse Portal


This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar…

~Margaret Atwood

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Seeds Are Stirring


Imbolc is upon us. Celtic stories tell us that the Cailleach—the divine hag Goddess who rules over winter and death—gathers firewood for the rest of the winter on Imbolc. If the Goddess Cailleach wishes to make the winter last a lot longer, she will make sure that the weather on Imbolc is bright and sunny, so she can gather plenty of firewood. But, if Imbolc is a day of foul weather, it means the Cailleach is asleep and winter is almost over.

The Cailleach was worshipped by the Celts as the sacred Earth Mother in her bare winter form. And she is not just a dark and evil hag who arbitrarily decides how long winter will be. The Cailleach is also the Bone Mother who collects the bones of the animals that die in the winter. The Bone Mother is said to sing or pray or sleep over the bones all winter long. She does this out of love, so that the animals will cross over and can return as new life in the spring.

There is a magic to Imbolc and the early days of February. It is there, running just beneath the surface. Can you feel it? Mama Earth holds the seeds of spring safe for us all winter. As the cold wind blows and the snow piles up, she holds them safe in her soil.

#Imbolc
#Bone Collector
#Hag Goddess

Blessings of the Dark

Today I am grateful for:
1. The dark half of the year. Time to slow down, dream, reflect, contemplate. #Darkness

2. Welsh Goddess Arianrhod. She lives in a wheel of stars at the center of the night sky. Arianrhod keeps the dead safe until it is time for them to be reborn.  #RestingPlace

3. Celtic Goddess Elen of the Ways. She is a whisper, a gentle wind in the wilderness. Elen shows us our true path.  #WayShower

4. The bone collector, a Celtic Crone Goddess who collects the bones of the dead animals all winter and sings them across the void to be reborn.  #BoneSong

5. Hindu Goddess Kali. She dances a power dance and demands we embrace our shadow.  #LookInTheDark

6. Babylonian Goddess Tiamat, the primordial power and chaos of the depths. She both creates and destroys. The early patriarchal kings claimed to have destroyed Tiamat, but we all know better.  #Primordial

7. Ancient feminine energies / archetypes of darkness. These dark goddesses hold so much wisdom and power.  #DarkWisdom

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Originally posted on Facebook, 11/28/19
Image: Paris Catacombs by Nancy L