Last Saturday 16 of us gathered at St Nicolas Church Community Garden to celebrate Samhain.
Samhain – the threshold into winter
Building the circle
East: God of East, the sunrise and breath of life, the very air we breathe
West: God of the West, cool refreshing rains refreshing dry and thirsty lands
South: God of fire and warmth, bringing abundance, fanning the flames of love
North: God of the rich dark earth where seeds of life lie buried and dormant
Air, water, fire and Earth, we build our circle of our seasons, the circle of our lives, the circle of God around us and within us
There is a sense of endings, of gathering darkness, a kind of doorway to the dark half of the year. As a symbol of that preparation for winter, we light a fire which we can all share in – in years gone by, people would light their house fires from a communal fire, but I am not suggesting you take a flaming branch home with you!
As well as a symbol, of course bonfires are also used to burn the things which need to be discarded. Leaves which were once green and lush and full of nutrients for the trees, well the trees have taken those good things into themselves, and as they prepare for winter, they can now shed those leaves, those leaves have served their purpose, and now are ready to return to the earth again. These is a celebration of all that they have contributed – look at the vibrancy of their colours, the accumulation of experience and offering. I invite you to find something which has served the plant world well, breathing in CO2, providing nutrients to the tree, the fruits which have fed animals, and given us beauty. We can spend sometime making a pattern, with members of your household, or by socially distancing circles spirals, circles are the symbol of the unity of life, the wholeness of creation, spirals, the journey towards the centre
Reading: Give me a candle of the Spirit, O God, as I go down into the deeps of my being. Show me the hidden things, the creatures of my dreams, the storehouse of forgotten memories and hurts. Take me down to the spring of my life, and tell me my nature and my name. Give me freedom to grow, so that I may become that self, the seed of which You planted in me at my making. Out of the depths I cry to You… (George Appleton)
Gathering and Creating Art
Everyone was invited to visit the art pieces which were created, here are some photos that were taken.
What has served you well, what may have brought you joy?
Perhaps things that happened in the past, or habits that you got into, things that you did or had, perhaps people or relationships which were valuable, rewarding, which gave great satisfaction or joy even, needed at the time, but now may need to be let go of, to be laid down and put aside. We can honour what has gone before, as we prepare to submit them to the flames
Everyone selected a leaf or a found item that represented something they wanted to honour. We then gathered round the fire again.
Reading from Ecclesiastes
3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.
People were then invited to go one at a time to the fire and throw the leaf into the pit and share if they wanted to
Hallowed One you have graced me with knowing
And you are present in my unknowing.
Be with me in all the in-between places
Where I do not know what creeps in the shadows,
The past that haunts and the future that frightens.
Let my heart’s aim to be true in the daily ordinary uncertainty
For it is from this place that I must live and choose and trust.
Settle us in peace as we go out separate ways this night