Blessed Samhain

As we sweep up leaves from Hurricane Sandy, and follow the news from New Jersey, New York, Haiti and the islands of the Caribbean, we come to the holiday of the scary and the sweet. Samhain, Halloween, All Saints Day, Dia de los Muertos are days of reflecting on mortality and celebrating life.

Starhawk, a very earthy priestess of engaged paganism, wrote these words in another stormy time– 2003, the first Halloween after the start of the Iraq War.

Much of our magic and our community work is about creating spaces of refuge from a harsh and often hostile world, safe places where people can heal and regenerate, renew our energies and learn new skills. In that work, we try to release guilt, rage, and frustration, and generally turn them into positive emotions.

Safety and refuge and healing are important aspects of spiritual community. But they are not the whole of spirituality. Feeling good is not the measure by which we should judge our spiritual work. Ritual is more than self-soothing activity.

Spirituality is also about challenge and disturbance, about pushing our edges and giving us the support we need to take great risks. The Goddess is not just a light, happy maiden or a nurturing mother. She is death as well as birth, dark as well as light, rage as well as compassion — and if we shy away from her fiercer embrace we undercut both her own power and our own growth.

There are times when it is inappropriate to feel wholly good. Now is one of them. As the saying goes, “If you aren’t angry, you aren’t paying attention.”

She reminds me of my minister, James Ford, who bids us go in peace, with a hint of unrest.

Starhawk’s entire essay is here. With more on BeliefNet here.

Blessings from Reclaiming Collective…

A year of beauty. A year of plenty.
A year of planting. A year of harvest.
A year of forests. A year of healing.
A year of vision. A year of passion.
A year of rebirth.

This year may we renew the earth.
This year may we renew the earth.

Let it begin with each step we take.
And let it begin with each change we make.
And let it begin with each chain we break.
And let it begin every time we awake.

This Samhain, on the knife’s edge of possible futures, remember that where there’s fear there’s power, and take the sweet with the scary.

Credit Where Credit is Due: The beautiful Celtic mandala is by the artist Nigel Pennick,found on Google Images through Wheel of Wonder– a Pagan blogspot.

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