The Veil Thins

A Blessed Samhain to You All

Samhain Sunset
As some of you may have gathered, the veils between the worlds have been painfully thin for our family this week, as a much loved member of family passed over very unexpectedly. Nearly at the end of his gruelling chemo and radiotherapy, complications set in for my cousin Kev, who was so much more like a big brother to me. Mercifully for him it was quick and hopefully he was comforted in his last hours by having us all around him, reminiscing and talking about family members and parties, past present and future. I'd like to think that we eased his soul's passing, surrounding him with warmth, love and laughter. One day he will tell me how annoying I was, I'm sure. 
I wasn't quite convinced about lighting a candle for him on my altar to my Goddess as he had no faith of his own, but I did and simply asked that he was greeted with love and that he walked and talked with all our ancestors old and more recent, he loved his history so I'm sure he would approve of that.

Samhain is referred to by many as the 3rd and final
Goddess and Tor Pumpkin
harvest of the year, traditionally when animals were killed to feed communities throughout the winter until the spring and when the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest, presumably why we tell stories of ghosts and ghouls haunting us - a far cry from the ancient traditions of honouring and remembering  our ancestors! Jack O'Lanterns or pumpkins are decorated to keep spirits away, the
Samhain Altar
opposite to what I was aiming for...with this in mind I decorated mine with an image of Goddess in front of Glastonbury Tor.....not a woman running away from a haunted house waving her hands in the air as my son suggested!

After cleaning our house, I cleansed every room with incense and asking Goddess to help us shed all the things that no longer serve us, for some reason, which seemed to make sense at the time, I did this naked, don't panic - everyone was out and the curtains and blinds were all drawn! It just seemed to fit with the shedding of things, the Crone energy and the clarity She brings, it also made me look at my bare self, which is not something I do often either.
Moon Bag
Just to reassure my family and neighbour - I won't be making a habit of it especially after I nearly had a nasty accident with a match, enough said! I then decorated my altar for Samhain complete with my unusually decorated pumpkin, a shiny black cloth, a 'hag stone' to represent Goddess as the Crone, candles and holders of purple and my moon bag that I made, what seems like a long time ago at a Discovery Workshop, which contains the photos and names of my Motherline and my ancestors. I took the time to ground myself properly, particularly as I knew that I would be walking around  the  final resting places of many later on.

Entrance to the Barrow
It was then time to head off for an afternoon out with a local group - Maidstone Pagans for our Samhain visit to local megaliths, we have quite a collection along the river valley. We went to Chestnuts Long Barrow, the site of an ancient neolithic tomb constructed a mere 6000 years ago which is only open by private appointment and spent a wonderful hour walking among the stones,honouring unknown ancient ancestors, feeling the energy immediately and then used divining rods, which is something I have never done before, the results were amazing! I honestly thought people twiddled them around with their thumbs, apologies to anyone
Side view of the Long barrow
I have just offended....

At one point, Sally, Ricky and myself all followed our rods independently and reached the same point towards the back of the body of the barrow, where they all crossed just on the right of this picture, sorry no pictures of that, we were all too busy divining, where we all felt different things, personally I felt that someone had walked through me and was tingling all over, I was pretty glad I'd taken the time to ground myself earlier and had asked Goddess to walk with me as I visited the ancestors.
As darkness and mist fell, I drove to Folkstone for a Samhain Ceremony on the
Samhain Fire
 - resting place
of self doubt and fear
Beach with the lovely members of Folkestone Pagan Circle- old and new, unfortunately I kept driving and ended up at Dover, but made it back just in time, however my calm practised calling in of Goddess that I had been asked to do as poor Laura was ill, went right out of the window. You can have hedge witches that practise their craft solo, ergo that must make me a hedge Goddess girl, quiet  whispered words are more my style, yes really despite my extrovert ahem, 
tendencies! This coupled with the fact that this Pagan circle is an eclectic mix of Druids, Wiccans, Witches and other beliefs, and it's quite safe to say I was right out of my comfort zone. One of the things we had been asked to bring to the ceremony was something to let go, ironically l had decided to throw fear and self doubt into the Samhain fire..... Unfortunately I had to call in before that part of the ceremony, deep breath and I did it, it wasn't amazing, it was brief and simple but it was honest, true and I did it! Self doubt and fear well and truly thrown in that Samhain Cauldron, only peeping over the top of the cauldron with a smirk again when Jason asked me to close unexpectedly..... However by then we had honoured our ancestors, talking about them and placing a photo of them on our beach altar and with the love of a thousand ancestors behind me, it didn't seem so daunting somehow and it came to me more naturally, not an Oscar winning performance,
Samhain Moon
but a purely heartfelt one which is what matters to me. Out of nowhere a huge glowing orange moon looking just like a giant pumpkin rose from behind the Hotel Burstin (the one that looks like a ship sideways on), not a great photo, it really doesn't do it justice, but it had us all spellbound. Thanks for a beautiful ceremony everyone, I think all of us managed to let go some unhelpful and unhealthy elements as well hearing some beautiful tales of our ancestors. I drove home thinking about my grandparents, whose memories and photos I had shared at the ceremony and wondered, not for the first time what they would make have made of my beliefs, before laughing and remembering that they themselves come from multiple lines of non conformists as opposed to
Misty Samhain Moon
the more commonplace faiths. Bearing in mind that on both sides we seem to have been in this area for centuries that we know of, it did make me wonder if these neolithic tombs I love to visit contain any ancient ancestors? 1000 years is only approximately 40 generations ago, 40 people back,  so maybe 160- 240 people back in total -that seems feasible, in all probability it's likely that those original few farmers who made the hilltops above the dense forests  I mentioned last week their homes and farms were the original matriarchs and patriarchs of the millennia of generations to follow....


As I was writing this a friend posted these words on a facebook page: 

Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. "Be still" they say. "Watch and Listen. You are the result of the love of thousands"  Anon as far as I know.

How Apt. How Wonderful. 

A very big thank you to all of you who have sent words of love and comfort to myself and my family this week, it is most gratefully received

Samhain Blessings  x x 

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