Samhain, Full Moon and the unexpected
What a year it has been, a cascade of awfulness in every direction, unrelenting chaos and lies. As we pause tomorrow for the night hours of Samhain, it is good to remember that there are only two months left in this grueling year and then, hopefully things will begin to slowly improve.
It really does feel like the death throes of capitalism, and perhaps even patriarchy, but what a messy death!
As I said last newsletter, nature continues. Gaia, Earth Mother brings us fruits and harvests, roots and berries and continues in her sacred round despite humankind’s death wish.
Pomegrantes remind us of Persephone’s descent into the underworld. She ate the seed (willingly or otherwise, depending on the version of the myth) and embraced the Mysteries of Hades, the land of the dead.
|The juice of the Pomegranate resembles blood. Did Persephone bleed there, in the gloom? In times of descent and dismemberment, it can feel like we bleed all over our lives, wounded. For sure, this year we have had a superabundance of retreat and solitude, yet it has not been enough, not yet anyhow.|
In the underground, the goddesses confront themselves, unadorned and powerless. There is no company, for this Soul searching, only well wishers who stand outside, waiting, waiting for us to emerge.
Unpleasant as they are, these times bear the wealth of Hades within their seeds. because, by confronting, accepting and integrating our shadow, we will never again be subject to its unconscious drives and compulsions. And here, freedom lies. But they are our bleakest days, undoubtedly.
There are many myths of a goddess’ descent into the darkness, Inanna, Ishtar to name two. It would seem that this journey is an initiation into maturity, because no one, in my experience escapes this rite of passage, no one. Some do not come out of it alive, but most of us do. Shatterd, punch-drunk we regroup, rebuild and re-orientate our lives, with more humility, compassion and a great deal less patience with bullshitters, liars and time wasters.
Pomegranates are associated with The Triple Goddess of the Aegean, Hera. She is often depicted holding a pomegranate as an emblem of female blood and marriage. In some Greek dialects, pomegrante is called rhoa which may be Rhea, the earth goddess, mother of Hera.
Myths around pomegranate are found in all cultures, Hindu, Chinese, Muslim, Persian, Jewish and Christian to name a few.
In the Pamela Coleman Smith illustration for the Tarot, the High Priestess is shown against a background of pomegranates, representing female wisdom, and the retreat from everyday life for deep meditation and replenishment.The pomegranate is also full of goodness. The bright red colour comes from the polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants (3x more than red wine or green tea) which help to remove free radicals, reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage.
A single pomegranate has more than 40% of the daily vitamin C we need.
Clinical studes on arthritis, Crohns disease, high blood pressure and heart disease, all suggest pomegranate may be useful as a preventative remedy.
I will be in conversation with Vivienne Campbell of The Herbal Hub on Tuesday 10th of November
talking about my book, Women Healers through History. Book through her website here
For more info on my books click here
Full Moon: 31st October 14h49 gmt (8′ Taurus38)
New Moon: 15th November 5h07 gmt (23 Scorpio 18)
Full Moon: 30th November 9h30 gmt (8 Gemini 38)
One reason this full moon is going to be particularly powerful, well, two really. The first is it falls exaclty on Samhain, but the second is it involves the planet of revolution Uranus, which will be conjunct the Moon. Uruanus, being the planet of the unexpected, surprises both good and bad, is of course impossible to predict. But we can expect disruptions, departures, revolutions and perhaps the overthrowing of false consciousness (well I am an optimist!).
Another Pamela Coleman Smith image comes to mind, the Tower, which reminds us that a world built on shaky foundations cannot survive long, nor can those who live in ivory towers (of any variety). So take care, don’t be poking sticks into hornets’ nests unless you are prepared to get stung.
Till next time.
The berries, ready for picking to make syrups and teas for the winter months, roots ready to be dug up and mushrooms aplenty in the fields and hedgerows.
We move from the heat of summer and the season of Choler, to the mists and mellow fruitfulness of the Melancholic humour, which is ruled both by Mercury and Saturn.
Things slow down, fun decreases, but work, commitment and seriousness bring goals and achievements into reality, Earth, the element of autumn, deals with cold, hard, facts, things which can be apprehended by the senses. Earth does not trust ideas which cannot be proven, feeling and intuition which are illogical. It is the element of the scientist, the researcher, the gardener and the scholar.
Melancholics may be dour and rule bound, but they give structure, reliability and a functioning whole to our world. Without earth, people and things are flaky, superficial and intangible. We don’t value earth enough. not just our physical earth but the melancholics who have kept our lives going in these last six months of virusdom. These are the non-glamourous support workers, who eschew the limelight and work quietly, methodically and humbly in the background. As the title of this blog suggests, Nature is always on time, but never hurries.
To me, autumn is the beginning of the year, (well usually) when school terms start and we buckle down to work until Midwinter when we can enjoy some rest and relaxation. Eat less, sleep more and try to exercise gently. As the days grow darker. Melancholy may appear, resist with Herbs of the Sun (which boost the Vital Spirit) like Rosemary and Jupiter, (which gives hope) like Lemon balm.
Herbs for Autumn include Comfrey, Mullein and Horsetail (Saturn). Liquorice, Lavender and Fennel (Mercury).
Last year I was buzzing about doing workshops all over the UK, this year, hopefully (lockdowns notwithstanding) I will be in Greece for two weeks and that will be it. I have both missed meeting people and travelling about, but on the other hand, there is something to be said for keeping still and just being.
I read this beautiful poem today and felt it summarises Samhain for me. Samhain lasts until the 3rd of November at midnight, and during this liminal time we have the opportunity to make peace with our dead and also contemplate our mortality. I Think This is What We Came Here For I think it isContinue reading “why we are here…”
In the Pagan tradition, Lammas is the first of three harvest celebrations, followed by Autumn equinox and the final gathering at Samhain.Lammas is a fire festival and usually we sit around a fire at nightime and celebrate our literal harvest, what we have grown and wild crafted since Midsummer. Lammas also gives us an opportunityContinue reading “Lammas – first harvest”
On Monday, when lockdown restrictions eased, it felt like Sleeping Beauty awakening from her 100 year sleep. People emerged blinking from their homes and smiled shyly at one another. Everyone seemed a little kinder and friendlier and peaceful. Here in London it will be 22 degrees later today, late spring is merging, as it alwaysContinue reading “As the weather warms up…”
February 2020. Isn’t it brilliant that the first herbs of Spring cover all our immediate needs? This picture contains Cowslip, a herb of Venus excellent for the chesty coughs prevalent this time of year, Nettle to give heat and support the liver and kidneys to get over winter’s sluggishness, and Cleavers to get the circulationContinue reading “Spring unfurling water abundant”
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