Tonight the Winter season for many in the Celtic traditions begins. This is the dark half of the year. The last of the harvest is in. The cold times are at hand. In lands with few cities candle or lamplight glimmering through the cottage windows would have been a welcome sight indeed.
In the past when our ancestors had to rely on the bounty their lands provided it could be a time of mixed blessings. Yes, it was a time to give thanks for the harvest. But, it was also an anxious time. Would this years’ harvest last until the first crops of spring came in? Could enough breeding stock be carried through the dark times to replenish the herds in the spring? Women in the coastal villages would have to wonder how many of their men folk would go out for the fishing, never to return. The spring bonfires of Beltane must have looked very far away.
But, the wheel turns and it is right to give thanks for the year that is passing. It is also time to think about what went right with the year, what we learned and how we might do things differently in the new year that is beginning. It’s also a time to remember those friends and family that are far away, even if they are just around the corner.
Song of Samhain
I am the hallow-tide of all souls passing.
I am the bright releaser of all pain.
I am the quickener of fallen seed case.
I am the glance of snow, the strike of rain.
I am the hollow of the winter twilight.
I am the hearth fire and the welcome bread.
I am the curtained awning of the pillow.
I am unending wisdom’s golden thread.