It happened this week … I turned 61. I don’t know why, but it sounds harsher than turning 60. What’s up with that? Though I have to say I find it amusing. It’s been a delicious week, I must say. Spent last weekend in Vancouver, Washington with dear friends I haven’t seen in a couple of years; the weather was perfectly Northwest … sunny, rainy, foggy, cloudy, warm, cold … everything Fall in the Northwest should be. We actually saw Mount Hood the first two days – gorgeous and majestic as she is – and then the day we drove up towards the mountain, she was cloaked in clouds and rain but we knew she was there!
We flew home on Monday, Halloween, my birthday … in time to have a special birthday dinner (Thank you, J!) and go out for a drink. Where we live there were no trick or treaters, but then there are mostly older, retired folks – and not too many kiddos in the general neighborhood. I miss that … answering the door – maybe next year? I hope so.
One of the topics that came up this year is what Halloween means to me (other than my birthday) as a Pagan and Hedge Witch. I took advantage of the opportunity to explain that Halloween, or Samhain (“sow’-en” as we pronounce it), is the time of the year when the veil between this world and the afterworld is at it’s thinnest. It is a time to remember and honor those who are close to us and have crossed over (or passed on) to the other side. “He” and I sat in the hot tub surrounded by tealights (one for each person we wished to honor) and talked about those people – grandparents, godparents, parents, friends, lovers … sharing how those individuals affected or inspired us. It was incredibly special, learning about his family and what he felt about them – and sharing with him about my paternal great grandmother and my grandmothers. It is not the first time we have talked about family, love and loss, but it was in a different context this time.
I also was able to explain that I live by the cycles of nature, which are slightly different that the calendar/seasons. Autumn is intrinsically the end of the natural cycle, with the harvest being completed, and crops ending; and leaves turning their gorgeous colors and then dying off. And I explained to him that Winter, though seemingly a time of “death” is actually a time of new beginnings – when those tiny seedlings are resting and growing in the safety of the earth before sprouting in Spring. And so we talked of new beginnings, of how we want to grow, individually and together, in the coming year – and how to plant and sow those plans so we can reap the rewards of our work. Not to mention it’s not too early to begin planning our vegetable garden for preparations in Spring.
It was nice to talk comfortably with him and have him understand what drives my life and seasons. As a Crone, I am so much more comfortable with the natural order of things now than I ever have been. The cycles of life make much more sense and to be free to live my life openly more now than ever is empowering! Not that I’ve ever been so much “in the broom closet”, but it is more important to me now to live my spirituality and be accepted for it. He is from a Christian background, but I think he questions the relevance and, in questioning, is open to other paths. I don’t anticipate him ever engaging in my path, but he is open to understanding that there are many paths to the same truths.
I practice as a Solitary (not within a group or coven structure) and also seek social opportunities with others of like mind. There is always a pagan community out there, and they are always open, welcoming and inclusive.
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us – a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and all the good things in our life – can’t wait to spend it with family and friends! And Yule (Winter Solstice) follows closely behind – the shortest day of the year; yule logs are decorated with evergreen & holly strands before being lit at sunset and is burned until sunrise. A time of celebration with family and friends of peace, love, positive energy and the beginning of the new cycle of nature.
I love fall and winter! My favorite time of the year!