As the days grow short and the nights lengthen in the northern hemisphere, the ancient Celtic tribes of Europe used to hold a celebration they called Samhain (sow-in). The Celts celebrated Samhain to mark the turning of the Wheel of the Year. At Samhain, the entire northern hemisphere officially enters into the dark half of the solar year. This is the time of year when the sun seems to turn away, and night lasts longer and longer. The dark half of our solar year officially begins on November 6th this year.
Samhain actually marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year in times past. At Samhain, the Celts paused and took time to reflect on the past and plan for the new year. They also believed Samhain was a time to connect with and honor loved ones who have crossed over into the land of the dead. And halfway across the world, the people of Mexico and Central America still celebrate Dia de los Metros (Day of the Dead) at this time of year.
Celtic Samhain is not just about celebrating death and those who have passed beyond. It is about celebrating life. The last of the year’s harvest is being gathered up in the fields and orchards now. Samhain is the perfect time to express gratitude to sacred Mother Earth for all the blessings and bounty she has provided for you and your loved ones.
Celebrating Samhain does not have to be complicated. Just take a few moments to pause and offer up a prayer of love and gratitude to those who have died. Go outside and offer gratitude to Mother Earth. Express thanks for everything you have harvested in your life. Simply pause and take a few moments to appreciate all the good that has come your way in the past year.
May the Spirit of peace
bring peace to your house
this Samhain night
and all nights to come.
There is a sacred ground that is calling to us to heal now; it is the ground of the feminine that holds and nourishes all life. This feminine ground can be found in the dirt of Mother Earth that holds and nourishes a tiny plant seedling. It can be found within each woman who holds and nourishes a human embryo in her womb. Both plant and human require the sacred ground of the Mother to hold and grow new life.
I read of a young woman being brutally raped and left for dead on a bus in India. I turn the page and read of Mother Earth being raped and polluted in a search for oil in the tar sands of Canada. And I feel the same energy in both acts; a hatred and a dishonoring of the feminine. It is the male warrior energy run rampant, forgetting the sacredness of the feminine body.
The feminine body has been objectified and mistreated for generations. Both the female womb and the dirt of Mother Earth have been dishonored and defiled again and again. Entire cultures and religions curse and blame the feminine for our human fall from grace. Those that don’t understand the gifts of the feminine have tried to stifle her wisdom and annihilate her power.
We fear what we do not understand. But how can we possibly kill what holds and nurtures each life? If we kill the mother, we kill ourselves. And even when we deny the sacredness of the feminine, the mother quietly continues to perform her sacred magic, holding ground for every new life.
Mystery of Mother Earth
Mother is so quiet, dark, mysterious and yet so nurturing; the feminine gifts look and act nothing like the male energies that are prized today. These feminine gifts are so misunderstood, and yet so necessary to heal this world. The power of the feminine lies within an expansive holding, supporting and nurturing energy that is difficult to pin down; visualize the warm safety of mama’s lap; feel into the quiet stability of the earthy ground and you will be on the right track. Knowing the feminine is best done on a visceral and emotional level.
It takes a quieting of the mind and a wondering heart to grasp the gifts of the feminine energies. Watch a mother with her baby; sense her gentle nurturing and quiet loving presence. Or go outside and sit with Mother Nature; just sit and be still. Breathe, watch and listen to Nature.
The divinity of the feminine whispers in the ripples of the water and the gentle opening of a flower. It is there in the growing tree limbs that arch toward the sky and the roots that burrow into mother’s dirt. Our Earth Mama holds a quiet space of wisdom, always there beneath the surface of life. She is a mysterious, flowing and constant presence.
The ground of our Mother whispers that it is time now to heal the feminine. The Mother is quietly, yet insistently calling to us. She is demanding that we remember her gifts and honor her sacredness or perish. It is time to heal our relationship with our Earth Mother.
Originally published by Nancy Lankston in July, 2013
From a Shaman’s viewpoint, every part of Earth is alive and has a spirit; each blade of grass, pine tree, fox, flower, stone and drop of water is infused and flowing with spiritual essence and consciousness. Our Earth is a pulsing, flowing living system. And humans are completely interwoven and interdependent with every other form of life on the planet. All of life is interconnected; the idea that humans are separate from other life forms is simply an illusion.
Our human actions have a huge effect on our Earth Mother. The history of human life is physically and energetically imprinted into the elements of Earth. The elemental structures of Earth hold our human stories of war and violence, love and connection, loss and pain; our mother stores our history within her water, soil and stones. Like a great elemental library, the body of Earth “remembers” the entire history of life on this planet.
Although humans may have long forgotten the stories, our Earth continues to hold the history of all those who lived here before us. These traumatic imprints were created through human neglect and ignorance, and they can continue to haunt us for generations. When a piece of land holds a story of human aggression, loss, disconnection, trauma or suffering, those energies continue to impact the animals and people who live, work and interact with that place years later.
Healing Mama Earth
Without some form of balancing or clearing process, a traumatic event may continue to negatively impact the land and the people who live on the land years later. Earth can stay ‘stuck’ in a state of imbalance for generations. But each of us can help our mother release old traumas and heal.
Whenever we consciously treat our Earth Mama with the love and respect she deserves, we actually help her restore balance and heal. And we heal our own relationship with this beautiful blue planet in the process.
Carl Sagan once asked, “Who speaks for planet Earth?”
It is time for each of us to honor and speak out for Mama Earth.
On this slope, amongst the junipers and pines,I know God.
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